In his seminal 1972 book “The Presidential Character,” Duke University Prof. James David Barber (1930-2004) took the four Carl-Jungian personality types “long familiar in psychological research” and applied them to presidents.
During the sensational hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, I seized upon Barber and a treatise applying his typology to the judiciary by former Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Al Gunderson (1930-2010).
My 15 Sept. 1991 Clarence column traveled far, including the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Legal Journals. Links at Barbwire.US/
I accurately predicted Thomas’ tenure and used that analysis as a basis to correctly forecast Obama’s presidency. (Tribune 12-20-2009)
Largely quoting Barber, Gunderson summarized the four types this way: “Passive-positives are after love. Passive-negatives emphasize their civic virtue. Active-positives most want to achieve results…social productivity. Active-negatives aim to get and keep power. The relation of activity to enjoyment tends to outline related clusters of characteristics which set apart the compliant, withdrawn, adapted and compulsive types.”
Gunderson said “the core of Barber’s theory is that character — the basic stance a person takes toward official experience — comes in four varieties…defined according to (a) how active he or she is and (b) whether or not he or she appears to enjoy political life. The activity baseline refers to what one does, the (affection) baseline to how one feels about doing it.”
“In Barber’s system, both are crude clues to character,” Gunderson stated.
ACTIVE-POSITIVES: Jebya Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders. (Presidents Bill Clinton, Bush the Elder, JFK, Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt, Chief Justice Earl Warren and the greatest justice, William O. Douglas)
Jebya actively pushed tax cuts for his buds and created the ungrateful Marco Rubio. Kasich, like Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, went against GOP dogma and expanded Medicaid under Obamacare. Bernie, well, you know.
ACTIVE-NEGATIVES: Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Martin O’Malley, Donald Trump (Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Justices Felix Frankfurter, Harry Blackmun)
A year or so back, veteran nationally syndicated columnist Richard Cohen wrote that the media should not misunderstand Mrs. Clinton: “She hates you.” As did Nixon.
O’Malley’s draconian administration as mayor of Baltimore led directly to recent race riots. Cruz thinks nothing of Nixonian dirty tricks to win elections. Witness his Iowa deceptions.
Trump? According to Barber, the active-negative “has a persistent problem managing aggressive feelings. Life is a hard struggle to achieve and hold power, hampered by the condemnations of a perfectionistic conscience.”
PASSIVE-POSITIVES: Ben Carson — “receptive, other-directed character whose life is a search for affection as a reward for being agreeable and cooperative rather than being personally assertive,” as Barber described the type. (Presidents Obama, Bush the Lesser, William Howard Taft, Ronald Reagan, Warren Harding; Justice Thomas)
PASSIVE-NEGATIVES: Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio (Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Calvin Coolidge, Chief Justice Warren Burger, California Gov. Jerry Brown).
PNs can do OK until they must act. Ex-general Ike became paralyzed when southern civil rights crises arose. Jerry Brown did nothing about the Mediterranean fruit fly infestation until it was too late, knocking him out of politics for years.
Rubio’s principal qualification seems to be that he looks good on television.
Vote at your own risk later this month.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.