Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Presidential psychology

Want your kid to grow up to be president? He or she won't have to run against one of mine; since they were born in Russia, they're ineligible, at least under current law. And given the reputation-scarring, gray-hair-inducing, crucible of fire the presidency has become of late, it's hard to know why anyone would wish that on their offspring. A White House staffer who could quit and write a best-selling book, maybe. But president? Why not something a little safer, like snake handling or fire-fighting?

Still, if you have second-generation political aspirations, a team of psychologists has helpfully outlined the traits that great presidents have had in common, as well as those shared by their less-than-effective brethren. The losers tended to have qualities that would make for great neighbors, but didn't do much for their leadership potential. Here's what to start teaching your children well:


Presidential pros like Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and JFK tended to be:
* Smart
* Energetic
* Assertive
* Concerned about others
* Open to experience
* Extroverted
* Constantly striving for achievement
* Broadly capable
* Disorganized
* Disagreeable
* Not above tricking, cajoling, bullying, or lying


So-so chief execs like Grant, Harding, Taft, and Coolidge were found to be:
* Agreeable
* Straightforward
* Likable
* Tidy
* Cooperative
* Easily led
* Innocent
* Pleasant
* Passive

So the next time Junior says he cleaned his room when he really didn't, or sneaks off to do some new thing you've forbidden, or insists on his own way, or talks back, don't punish him--get that boy a campaign manager. He's presidential timber.

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