Personalities & Politics

Examining the personalties of President Obama and Mitt Romney

Life has been crazy.  So, I thought this month I’d simplify and talk about a topic that is at the forefront of our thoughts — the election.  While I will not venture too far down the political road in this post, I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at how personalities play into politics.  

Think about this: what type of personality do you think is most likely to run for political office?

If you guessed powerful choleric, I think you are right.  If you have ever been closely tied to any political campaign, you know how brutal it can be.  Candidates must have guts, nerves of steel, an aggressive presence, natural dictator-style leadership ability and no fear.  While other personality types may run and successfully be elected, by mere observation, I think it is safe to say the majority of politicians in Washington, D.C. are powerful choleric.

Do you want to know why it takes months, years even, to get things accomplished in government?  Gather all the cholerics in your family, workplace, or church; put them in a room together and ask them to reach an agreement on a difficult or complex problem.  It would be comical to watch and I can guarantee, regardless of the topic, not everyone will come out happy.  In a matter of moments the air in the room would be thick enough to cut with a knife, intensity would rise, debate would break out and down goes the likelihood of success.

When you have a group of people who a) all know they are right and b) all want their way it is going to be near to impossible for them to reach a common conclusion.  

On the flip side, it takes problem solvers and people who are not afraid to speak their mind and stand firm in the face of opposition to get the job done.  I just wonder how much of our political disappointment rests on nothing more than unavoidable personality conflicts. 

With a nation-changing presidential election approaching next month, I cannot help but examine the personalities of the presidential candidates.  Without knowing either man personally, my assessment is assumption based on the same things I would closely observe to identify your personality: body language, use of words, interests, talents, strengths and weaknesses.

President Obama: Popular or Playful Sanguine/Powerful Choleric

The Sanguine motto is, “Let’s do it the fun way.”  While fun may not be a popular political term, it’s not a stretch to see how our president’s sanguineness has revealed itself during his first term.  Whether it is playing basketball, golf, going on vacation or hanging out with celebs, this president, more than any in history, has made his white house term a fun-filled adventure.  He seems to truly enjoy appearances on television shows and with celebrities in pop culture.  Sanguines like attention and welcome opportunities to pose for the camera.  Also, Sanguines are charming.  Obama is a great speaker with the ability to win over his audiences through the sheer charm of his personality.  He makes friends easily while on the road and probably never meets a stranger.  He is the kind of person you know you would have a good time around.  He would certainly be the life of the party.  His outgoing and friendly nature makes him likeable and certainly works to his advantage.  His entire message revolves around the idea of everyone being on equal terms.  Sanguines want people to be happy and want people to like them.  What better way than by being their provider and helping them get what they want?  He will work for the happiness of his constituents at any cost.

Mitt Romney: Proper or Perfect Melancholy/Powerful Choleric

The Melancholy motto is, “Let’s do it the right way.”  I feel like in many ways, Mitt Romney must be a perfect/proper melancholy.  He projects a highly professional and proper image.  He seems concerned with appropriateness in his language, posture and dress.  He is much more reserved in his mannerisms and speech.  As an introvert, he has had to work hard at being able to communicate effectively in a public setting.  I would imagine one-on-one conversation with Mitt is much different than what we see on stage.  Lights, camera, action is not appealing to the melancholy.  In a presidential campaign, however, being in the spotlight comes with the territory.  In contrast to Obama, Romney could cares less about celebrity appearances and probably wishes he could get to Washington without hundreds of speaking engagements along the way.  His top priority is to do things right.  He will work for what he believes is right for his constituents at any cost.

The Choleric motto is, “Let’s do it my way.”  I think both Mitt Romney and President Obama are also Powerful Choleric.  Both have their own way of looking at and addressing issues, believing equally they are right.  Romney has exhibited strong leadership skills in various organizations and businesses and certainly possesses the “get it done” mentality of a choleric.  As President, Obama has also exhibited aggressiveness and a “my way or the highway” attitude common to the choleric.  Many people have called both of them arrogant…also a common label for cholerics.  I think both men strive to meet their emotional needs for accomplishment and control.

My personal assessment would be that Obama is more Sanguine than Choleric and Romney is split relatively equally between Melancholy and Choleric.  These differences in their personalities will be clearly displayed in the upcoming debates this month.  As you watch, see if you can pinpoint when Obama uses charm and humor to try and win the discussion and other moments when Romney defaults to his reserved nature and seems uncomfortable on the stage.  

Regardless of our position, social status or political preference our personalities affect who we are and how we approach things.  I’m not saying either candidate’s personality is wrong for the job, just different.  I would encourage each of you as fellow citizens to focus on educating yourself and voting based on the platform, issues and proposed solutions you feel are best for the future of America.

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