A each president by his character, worldview, self-image,

A prestigious position seen by many citizens in the American Presidency which symbolizes power. In American history, succeeding presidents generally have different views on the size of the federal government. In the book, The Presidential Character: Predicting Performance In The White House by James David Barber, displays the distinctive characters of American presidents. Barber attempts to evaluate the past presidents’ performances and also predict the future performances of presidents. He groups the presidents based on their presidential character, but he also understands that no president fits perfectly into one category. Barber categorizes each president by his character, worldview, self-image, role in critical situations, and the expectations there is of him. By doing so, he is able to combine the different personalities of presidents into four categories. Active-negative, passive-negative, passive-positive, and active-positive. An active-negative President can cause a lot of damage to the public. He works hard but fails to display hope or passion for his job. A passive-negative President believes it is his duty to serve his country. He focuses on vague goals due to his lack of enthusiasm for his job. An passive-positive President has no confidence in himself to carry out the duties for the country. Rather than focusing on the nation’s problems and getting things done, he cares what others think and therefore fails to meet expectations. An active-positive President is one who works a great deal and has a positive outlook on situations. He is more likely to do well and have an impact on the country. This is a type of President that everyone hopes to have due to his personality and dedication. Many presidents have different personalities and characters, and Barber attempts to group each president into one of the four types. First is active-negative; this is a type of president who spends a large amount of time but does not enjoy doing what he does. He tries to maximize his energy in all ways possible for some faults or to show off his power and to keep power and if possible to attain more of it but has a low sense of pride in what he does. Presidents who fit into this category are Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, and Lyndon Johnson. President Wilson had a great way to express his message effectively to others. He openly recognized his worldview with the faith of God. Wilson was a strong believer in his faith and that God’s purposes were fulfilled by men. Wilson believed God has chosen him to serve as President and carry God’s message to the people. In fact, Wilson wrote to himself, “if God will give me the grace I will try to serve Him from this time on, and will endeavor to attain nearer and nearer to perfection.” He developed this view since his adolescence and matured to understand the importance of compromise and the struggle to achieve the end goal of perfection. He tried to establish the League of Nations in efforts to establish peace between other countries, but this failed. Congress denied his plan because they felt as if Wilson was too assertive with his beliefs. As a result, Wilson many times felt a low sense of pride. He wrote, “I feel more than ever like a prisoner, like a sort of special slave.” Not only did Wilson work hard, but he outworked himself, making himself feel as if he were trapped and unable to escape from his misery.Much like Wilson, Richard Nixon also belongs to the category of active-negative. He was independent from others yet willing to take gambles on an issue without studying the problems that might arise due to his actions. He “made a practice of lying to his closest aides.” This act of distrust caused Nixon his job. Through Nixon adminstation the American public were able to see the “vulnerability of the American political system.” Nixon was willing to take bold decisions but did not care about the risks that came along with it. This personality is one “that the President will grasp some line of policy or method of operation and pursue it in spite of its failure.”Nixon pursued the Vietnam War and escalated it by bombing Hanoi, mining, and invading other countries caused him to be hated by the American public. This is far beyond what Lyndon Johnson could have imagined. Above all that could go wrong with the Nixon administration was the Watergate scandal which tore Nixon apart. He tried to hide and cover it up, but soon one lie led to another and eventually it led his resignation. The next type is a passive-negative president. He does not spend a lot of his efforts and does not like his job. He feels as if he should become the President because it is his duty to do so and as a way to serve his country. He wants to have a satisfaction fulfilling his job as President. According to Barber,  Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon fit into this category. Eisenhower gained his leadership from the many years “of military doldrums and many experiences” he encountered. This style of leadership helped a great deal in his presidency, mainly from the stress of working with others and hear different viewpoints and adequate training in the invasion of Europe. The fashion in which Eisenhower performed the Presidential duties showed his military training and experience from war which shaped his judgments. He felt is was not his duty “to save the world or to become a great hero, but simply to contribute what he could the best he was able.” He served the presidency because Eisenhower felt it was duty to serve the American people. As long as he did something he felt his time in the White House would be well spent. The lack of motivation to take intiative furthered tensions with the Soviets. When the Soviets shot the spy plane down and Khrishchev disassembled the peace conference the hope of defusing the Cold War ended. The Cold war was more dangerous when Eisenhower left than when we satrted his presidency. The next type is passive-positive. This kind of president does not spend much energy but likes the job. He has a low sense of pride but overcomes this by relying on the taste of power. He tries to work with others and be understanding of others’ ideas rather than put it on himself and wants to attain the same level of liking he provides to his constituents. Presidents who fit into this category are William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, and Ronald Reagan. As Taft succeeded Theodore Roosevelt, much was expected of him, but quickly those expectations diminished. He was not as confident as Roosevelt and often required others to help him generate ideas. He was self-conscious and primarily wanted his relationships with others to be good rather than address issues. He often took a judicial stance on issues and tried to always be affabe to others. Taft wanted to lower tarifffs, but common interests of high tariffs were prevalent in Congress and failed at his effortto lead. He seemed incapable developing “close team of advisors who would at the same time commit themselves loyally to him and counsel him with brutal frankness when that was required.” Taft was a gentle nice guy. He wanted everyone’s approval and everyone to be happy and he was reserved in his thinking. Taft did not stand firm in his thoughts swaying from progressive reform to  traditional values. The last type is active-positive presidents. These presidents are devoted to their job and enjoy what they do. They think highly of themselves due to their passion towards the job and desire to make change by pushing forward for programs. They are not afraid to try something new if their original plans are diverted but the main goal is benefit the nation. The presidents who fit into this category are Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and George H. Bush. From childhood FDR had many influences upon him. Roosevelt’s optimism of the future as President was deeply influenced by the role of Roosevelt’s family. They “occupied Franklin’s body and soul with healthy activities that he would forget about badness.” FDR’s life was regulated and his mother tried to allow things to come naturally to FDR rather than force them upon him. His path to activism was distinguished by power, optimism, and humor. Especially during the Great Depression, Americans felt as though Roosevelt understood their struggles and could relate to them and lead them out of this national crisis. His approach to conflict was “to collect ideas the way he collected stamps, from all and sundry quarters, and then he would decide where to put them.” He was willing to wait and understand all the solutions before jumping to an answer. He tried to do his best and knew sometimes he would fail, but he did not allow that to overcome him. FDR took on the challenge to deal with this problem and acted by passing the New Deal. Many programs were established in hopes to renew the economy such as the Civil Works Administration (CWA) to create jobs for the millions of unemployed during this time. His passion, confidence, and decision making helped the nation to get through this crisis.  It would be interesting to apply Barber’s criteria in present day, as the world and the presidency has evolved a lot. The current President of the United States, is Donald Trump, one who has no prior government or military experience. Trump is outspoken and not afraid to state what is on his mind. He made countless inflammatory comments and tweets about many people. This has caused a divide in the country as Donald Trump has the lowest approval ratings of any modern President at just 37%. Right now President Trump would be categorized as active-negative due to his current actions and policies. He is always pushing the boundaries and speaks what is on his mind, unafraid of the consequences. Trump’s “presidency has been dominated by disruption: provocative tweets, derisive language and epic feuds” (Page) as “his Twitter account reveals a man constantly complaining or whining about most everything” (Dean). North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un stated he has a “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times” (Ramzy) in response Trump tweeted “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” (Ramzy) It is as if he is child who wants everything he sees, not knowing if it is beneficial or detrimental. There is no doubt Trump is obsessed with himself and trying to make himself known for who he is. Trump has many plans for the country and wants to pass many legislations. The new tax bill that was introduced in efforts to lower taxes for the wealthy and big companies in hopes of hiring new people. There is no doubt Trump is active in politics, but how he views himself and have other view him matters. Barber tried to explain the impact of an active-negative President: “The issues will change; the character of the president will not.” Through the good or the bad now or in the future Donald Trump will not be a person who will reflect and grow rather unchanged to whatever occurs. he will continue to state what he is think with no filter or regard of others. As Trump’s presidency is unfolding he still has the chance to renew himself and become a President that the people want to represent their country. The four categories Barber creates are important to be able to analyze past presidents but also predict the future. A person’s personality is very important in deciding if he or she is  fit for office. Finding an ideal president is no easy task, and as the future progresses, it is great that we can analyze a person before they start working. As rumors already start about the future election of 2020 and the possible candidates it is important be able to analyze each candidate and how their actions will reflect their personality.