The Political Personality of Texas Governor George W. Bush

The Political Personality of Texas Governor George W. Bush

Aubrey Immelman.

Paper presented at the Twenty-Second Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 18-21, 1999. [Available upon request to academics, political psychology specialists, and professional journalists; 25 pages]

Abstract

This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the political personality of Texas governor George W. Bush, early Republican front-runner in the U.S. presidential election of 2000, from the conceptual perspective of Theodore Millon. Information concerning George W. Bush was collected from published biographical accounts and political profiles in the print media, and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.

The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Governor Bush’s primary personality patterns were found to be Outgoing/gregarious and Dauntless/adventurous.

A dimensional reconceptualization of the results to examine convergences among the present Millon-based findings, Simonton’s dimensions of presidential style, and the five-factor model suggests that Bush is highly charismatic/extraverted and somewhat interpersonal/agreeable, but not very deliberative/conscientious.

George W. Bush’s major personality strengths with reference to his presidential campaign are the important political skills of charisma and interpersonality, which will enable him to connect with people and retain a following and his self-confidence in the face of adversity. His major personality-based limitations pertaining to presidential performance include a propensity to display a superficial grasp of complex issues, to be easily bored by routine, to act impulsively, and to favor personal connections, friendship, and loyalty over competence in his staffing decisions and appointments – all of which could render a Bush administration relatively vulnerable to errors of judgment or ethical misconduct.