Saturday, 21 May 2016

Jeb Bush (LIE): Personality Type Analysis

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is an American businessman and politician who served as the Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. Most recently he was an unsuccessful candidate for the nomination as Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 elections. He is the younger brother of former president George W. Bush (ESI) and therefore a son of former president George H.W. Bush (LSE).

Jeb Bush was, by any standards, a very successful governor of Florida: the first Republican ever to win reelection in that state, leaving office with 64% approval. His administration focused on cutting taxes and spending while seemingly maintaining a balanced budget (as required by the Florida constitution). As that inevitably included cuts in government spending, such as reducing the Florida state workforce by 11%, his approval rate must be considered a remarkable achievement.

Jeb Bush's chosen self-image as a politician is that of a competent administrator who focuses on making government more efficient while promoting economic growth and what he sees as necessary reforms in education and immigration. Although widely perceived as more articulate than his brother George, Jeb has never been considered a politician that relies on inspirational speeches and oratory. His persona in most interviews is serious-friendly, one could say with a studied politeness, with little display of emotion. He can get emotional - in the form of sadness or annoyance - when discussing specific personal subjects, such as his children's problems with drugs, or Donald Trump (SLE)'s insults during the recent presidential debates. But consistently his preferred approach as a politician has been to present his plans of what he intends to do and his record of having done it, seemingly expecting the electorate to recognize that he knows what he's talking about and therefore would do a good job. In longer, more free-flowing interviews - especially those done way before political campaigns - he seems comfortable and confident when talking at length about several subjects and his ideas to tackle policy problems such as education, immigration and economic growth, liking to focus on innovation and creative ideas, maintaining his friendly-polite persona but almost never cracking a joke or displaying much emotion on such occasions.

The above traits, very consistent, already point to P as Valued and I as a Strong function. His awareness of the need to maintain a friendly-polite personality, which however may come across as flat, besides the fact that he has often been described as "boring", is consistent with E as a weak function but not E4. Also interestingly, like his father, Jeb utterly lacks his brother's chief strength as a politician, namely the ease in coming across as approachable and warm to those in his immediate presence, establishing an easy personal rapport. Yet in that aristocratic family, Jeb had arguably the best chances to learn how to relate to the average person (by not studying in elite universities such as Yale, and volunteering to build schools in Mexico as a young man, etc). This reinforces the notion that both E and R are in weak functions.

When talking to individuals in small towns when campaigning, and when talking at length in an interview about personal issues, such as his daughter's problems with drugs, though, Jeb seems to have the inclination to 'forget' that he is ultimately talking to the general public and focuses on the individuals immediately in front of him, getting more emotional (in a subdued way) as in, sad when talking about his daughter, and annoyed/pissed off/moaning when talking about Trump's insults. Unlike more E-adept politicians - who are always aware that they must project a consistent image - Jeb ends up making comments that are later used against him. This trait - that it is fairly easy to get him to talk about personal issues in (what seems to be) private environments - is consistent with E3 and R5.

Jeb's strengths and weaknesses as a politician may be summed up thus: when in an executive position, he seems to know exactly what he wants to achieve and how to achieve it, and his focus is on economic growth and efficiency, and innovation (again, suggests Strong P). But as a candidate - especially at national level - his weakness is precisely not being able to control the image he's projecting at all times, and - as seen during the recent primary debates - he is completely clueless on how to react to the taunts from Donald Trump (showing Weak and
Subdued E). Jeb's ideal idea of a campaign seems to be, to talk about what he did as governor and what he intends to do as president, giving as much detail as possible, showing that he knows what he's talking about. Likewise in trying to get support among Hispanics, Bush spent time giving interviews and speeches in Spanish, showing his mastery of the language, but seldom trying to appeal at a more emotional level directly.

That was completely inadequate against Trump's tactics, which consisted of saying something crude and exaggerated about Bush (and others), which however seemed to be at least partly true, and hammering on it, until it "stuck" as true. In Jeb's case, it was to describe him as "low energy" - to which Jeb reacted in precisely the wrong way, that is, by moaning a bit about it in small towns (yet still being taped) and in the debates, trying to laugh it off - but not counter-attacking. Suggests Weak although Valued F. The same went for Trump's description of him as too soft on immigration because of his Mexican wife, etc.

What Jeb seemed unable to understand - or to give it enough importance -  is that Trump was slowly 'defining' him in the minds of a large part of the primary voters, so he was unable to effectively counter-attack or respond in kind. Trump was using sheer F - attacks on his adversary's weak points in order to destroy him - blocked with E - not in 'real' terms, but on the image. Jeb seemed not only unable to respond in kind, but incapable of believing that such tactics could work. Even worse, he seemed unable to hide that such taunts did get to him, especially the "low energy" one, suggesting that F is a sensitive point in which he's not very confident, which is indicative of F6.

The above shows. again,  a man far better at P than E or F,, but who does focus on E at the 'socially acceptable level' i.e. his public friendly persona (interestingly, George W Bush once described Jeb as "a rather dour guy" in private). Who keeps coming back to P competence as his selling point, who gets frustrated at F attacks but is at the same time not able, or willing, to fight back at that level. Also, a man who, when talking calmly about his policy ideas, easy slips into I  mode - new uses of technology and their potential, etc., in a way that is consistent with I8,

LIE fits the above traits better than any other type, and is therefore Jeb Bush's likely Socionics type.

Sources: besides Wikipedia and direct observations of Jeb Bush, I think that this video illustrates Jeb Bush's functional ordering of P,  E and I; while this illustrates his valuing of R over E.

To learn more about LIE, click here.

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


  1. "Jeb seemed not able not only not respond in kind, but to believe that such tactics could work." what???