Sunday, 20 March 2016

George W. Bush (ESI): Personality Type Analysis

Unlike other ESIs in this gallery, George Walker Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, would not be described by many people, also not by himself, as an 'intellectual'. Yet, this Yale history graduate has been described as a keen reader of biographies, allegedly his favorite reading. He also has shown a personal-relationship side to international politics, (in)famously saying that he knew he could trust Vladimir Putin (LSI) after looking deeply into his eyes, and asking the Brazilian president for an evaluation of Hugo Chavez in the same fashion, that is, what was Chavez like if you looked deeply into his eyes.

This pattern of approaching international relations from the perspective of the character of individuals is consistent with George W. Bush's chief strength as a businessman and politician: namely, his skill in establishing rapports with individuals and coming across as a regular guy with whom you could drink a beer, in a way that completely eludes other politicians of his background (such as his father George H. W. Bush (LSE) and his brother Jeb Bush (LIE), for instance).

This trait could be seen on many occasions, perhaps most famously with the bullhorn in the ruins of the WTC where he was clearly more focused, and arguably most confident, in establishing a rapport with the firefighters immediately near him, rather than addressing a more global audience.

All of the above traits suggest a man who sees R as one of his strengths, and who ignores E and even dismisses it, also when making fun of himself even in ways that make him look ridiculous (fits R1 and E7).

Whether or not Bush 43 deserves his reputation of a man of no brilliant intelligence, it is clear that he has no need to pretend to be the 'smartest man in the room', closely associating himself with individuals widely perceived to be smarter and more knowledgeable than he: Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, his wife Laura.

All of the above is very consistent with a R1 and P5.

George W. Bush has also, famously, been quick to refer to evil people in the world who must be defeated by force and made that a key feature of his policies (interestingly getting the full support of Christopher Hitchens (ESI), otherwise a Trotskyist).

It is clear that George W. Bush never concerned himself with deep thoughts about ideological consistency, economic principles, or grandiose visions, or even forceful opinions on any subject apart from the character of individuals and when to use force on enemies or the "Axis of Evil". All of that suggests a higher focus on R+F than on L and T.

Also interesting is his approach to S: famously in his youth he was inclined to hedonistic pursuits, mainly drinking and partying. In his retirement, he has devoted himself to a quieter form of S hobby, painting. Yet during his middle years he found it relatively easy, it seems, to discipline himself into athletic activities and giving up drink - the latter, he says, also helped by a renewed religious faith. That is consistent with T6 overcoming S8.

What we have, then, is a man most confident in his judgement of the character of the individuals around him and of his relationships with them; who doesn't mind, or even prefers, if close associates are seen as more knowledgeable. Who is confident in the use of force especially when fighting evil people, yet is not particularly interested in the deeper ideologies behind it. A man who is aware of, but also utterly indifferent to, his image of a simpleton, even referring to it himself. That is, a very likely ESI

Recommended reading and sources: George W. Bush's own memoirs of his presidency, "Decision Points", are revealing as they show what he considers to be his own strengths. His biography of President George H.W. Bush, "41: A Portrait of My Father", is a more spontaneous work full of personal recollections which make his type more obvious. Obviously, online information on him is enormous.

To learn more about ESI, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

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