A psychological analysis of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker — a contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election — by Joe Trenzeluk and Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., at the Unit for the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics — revealed that Walker’s predominant personality pattern is Conscientious / dutiful and Dominant / controlling, with secondary Ambitious / confident features.
Following is a summary of the major findings of the study, as published in an opinion column in the St. Cloud Times.
By Joe Trenzeluk
St. Cloud Times
July 26, 2015
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker earlier this month formally threw his hat in the ring as a Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election. It came as no surprise that Walker entered the race; he had been signaling his intent for months and recent polls have consistently ranked him in the top tier of the crowded Republican field.
The unprecedented multitude of Republican hopefuls makes it more challenging than ever to evaluate the candidates and distinguish them from one another. Ultimately, 16 declared candidates are expected to be in the mix when the first Republican debate takes place Aug. 6 in Cleveland.
Because all of the candidates share a common party-political platform, their policy differences for the most part are on the margins. For that reason, a good point of departure in evaluating the relative merits of the candidates is to look beyond their policy positions and see what kind of person each candidate is, at base.
Identifying the personality characteristics of political leaders matters because personality captures the stable, enduring patterns in a person’s motives, thoughts and actions over time and across situations. Thus, accurate personality assessment allows us to anticipate a leader’s response to a broad range of contingencies that could confront them in office.
Empirical analysis of Walker’s personality at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University’s Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics utilized the 170-item Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria, which assesses the attribute domains of expressive behavior, interpersonal conduct, cognitive style, mood/temperament and self-image.
Walker’s primary personality pattern was found to be dominant/controlling, with secondary features of the conscientious/dutiful and ambitious/confident patterns.
The combination of dominant and conscientious patterns in Walker’s profile suggests a personality composite best described as a conscientious enforcer. By virtue of their high conscientiousness, this type of individual typically is earnest, deliberative, hard-working, principled and bound by rules and a sense of duty. They are often religious and place a great deal of importance on maintaining their integrity and upholding moral standards.
The dominant, “enforcer” aspect of this personality composite suggests an individual who is strong-willed, commanding and assertive. This dominance, complemented by substantial self-confidence (as in the case of Walker), also points to an individual with a competitive, goal-oriented drive to succeed.
News reports commonly portray Walker as a “low-key Midwesterner” or a “somewhat bland, boring, and uncharismatic persona.” To some degree, these assertions fit with his personality profile in that conscientious individuals tend to have a serious, emotionally controlled demeanor; in short, Walker’s polite, respectful manner may at times come across as somewhat awkward and rigid.
Walker’s particular personality pattern has important leadership implications. Conscientious enforcers like Walker have the work ethic, managerial competence and drive to push tirelessly — even obstinately — for new initiatives, reform and policy implementation.
Overall, Walker has a personality well suited for high-level, high-stakes politics. However, on a personal level, the big test for the Walker campaign will be the candidate’s ability to restrain — or transcend — the more restrictive, buttoned-down aspects of his conscientious nature and allow more personable, easygoing qualities to shine through.
Unless he succeeds in engaging, energizing and inspiring voters at a more personal level, it will be difficult for Walker to separate himself from the crowded Republican field.
This is the opinion of Joe Trenzeluk, Inver Grove Heights, a senior psychology major at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, where he is a summer research fellow in the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, directed by Aubrey Immelman.
About this series
This is the first in an occasional series of personality profiles of most of the Republican candidates in the 2016 presidential election. Joe Trenzeluk is a research assistant at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics led by associate professor Aubrey Immelman at St. John’s University/College of St. Benedict. Immelman specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.
The unit’s summer research program focused on GOP contenders because of the unprecedented proliferation of hopefuls and the unit’s mission to help the public make better informed voting choices. The unit will profile the major Democratic contenders next summer.
Related reports on this site
GOP Presidential Candidate Profiles, Polling, and Debates (May 31, 2015)
Matt Immelman (#22) scored 31 points for Minnesota Comets 17U against Minnesota Select at the Great Plains… http://t.co/PQROi1DsoL
— Aubrey Immelman (@A_Immelman) June 28, 2015
Game statistics: 14 of 16 (87.5%) shooting; 2 for 2 FT.
Related report on this site
Matt Immelman — 2014-15 Basketball Photo Gallery (Feb. 28, 2015)
The large number of declared and prospective Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 election cycle — at least 16 viable candidates by one count (see graphic below) — poses a challenge for the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, which aims to release psychological profiles of all debate participants prior to the first GOP debate, presented by Fox News in collaboration with Facebook Aug. 6 in Cleveland.
To qualify for inclusion in the Fox News debate, a candidate “must place in the top 10 of an average of the five most recent national polls by Aug. 4.” (Matea Gold, Fox News rules will limit the field in first GOP presidential debate, Washington Post, May 20, 2015)
The top 10 contenders in the five most recent national polls are former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, real estate tycoon Donald Trump and former Texas governor Rick Perry, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are a fraction of a point behind Perry.
Lagging behind those 12 are Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina and former New York governor George Pataki.
For the second GOP debate Sept. 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., CNN plans to split the candidate forum into two parts — “one featuring the top 10 candidates in public polling and a second that will include lower-tiered candidates who garner at least 1 percent in polls,” according to the Washington Post.
Jeb Bush — in progress; data collection started May 2015
Marco Rubio — in progress; preliminary study completed April 2015
Scott Walker — in progress; preliminary study completed April 2015
Rand Paul — preliminary study completed April 2015
Ted Cruz — preliminary study completed April 2015
Mike Huckabee — preliminary study completed April 2015
Ben Carson — in progress; data collection started May 2015
Chris Christie — preliminary study completed April 2015
Donald Trump — data collection pending formal announcement
Rick Perry — preliminary study completed April 2015
Rick Santorum — preliminary study completed April 2012
John Kasich — data collection pending formal announcement
Lindsey Graham — data collection pending formal announcement
Bobby Jindal — data collection pending formal announcement
Carly Fiorina — data collection pending top-10 polling
George Pataki — data collection pending top-10 polling
Republican presidential contenders (from left to right and top to bottom) Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum (Photo credits: Gage Skidmore, officeholder official portraits / Wikipedia)
Republican Presidential Debate Schedule
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus had previously vowed to cut down the number of debates in the 2016 presidential election cycle from the more than 27 debates held during the 2012 cycle. (Photo credit: AP / Lenny Ignelzi)
By Daniel Strauss
January 16, 2015
The Republican National Committee on Friday announced nine presidential primary debates with three more possible for the 2016 cycle. …
Just one debate per state was sanctioned, fewer than the more than 27 debates held during the 2012 cycle. …
Below is the list of debates, including three that were pending when the RNC announced the schedule:
1. Fox News — August 2015 — Ohio
2. CNN — September 2015 — California
3. CNBC — October 2015 — Colorado
4. Fox Business — November 2015 — Wisconsin
5. CNN — December 2015 — Nevada
6. Fox News — January 2016 — Iowa
7. ABC News — February 2016 — New Hampshire
8. CBS News — February 2016 — South Carolina
9. NBC/Telemundo — February 2016 — Florida
Fox News — March 2016 — TBD
CNN — March 2016 — TBD
Conservative Media Debate — Date TBD — Locations TBD
Related report on this site
Psychological Profiles of 2016 GOP Presidential Candidates (April 24, 2015)
Students Present Research at Scholarship Day
Atarah Pinder presents her poster “The Political Personality of 2016 Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz” at Scholarship and Creativity Day, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, April 23, 2015. (Click photo for full-size image)
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (Apr. 23, 2015) — Psychological profiles of declared and prospective Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election were presented today, April 23, 2015, at “Celebrating Scholarship and Creativity Day,” an annual event to recognize students, faculty, and staff who have undertaken significant research, scholarship, or creative works during the past academic year at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict.
Undergraduate students in a Personality Psychology course at the colleges conducted the research under the auspices of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, directed by Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology.
Biographical and life history data concerning the candidates was collected from media reports and synthesized into personality profiles using the third edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with DSM–5.
The following research projects were presented:
“Sit Down and Shut Up!”
The Political Personality of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
By McKenzie Neu, Joe Trenzeluk, Alexandra Latanision, Jack Schweich, and Emily Lueck
Abstract: Chris Christie’s primary personality pattern was found to be Dominant / controlling, complemented by secondary Outgoing / gregarious and Ambitious / self-serving features, and a Dauntless / adventurous tendency. In summary, Christie’s personality composite can be characterized as “dominant, self-confident, extraverted.”
The Personality Profile of 2016 Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz
By Atarah Pinder, Yilian Li, Anna Wagner, Theresa Hickman, Yee Her, and Sarah Blaida
Abstract: Ted Cruz’s primary personality pattern was found to be Dominant / controlling, complemented by secondary Ambitious / confident and Dauntless / adventurous features, and a possible Contentious / resolute tendency. In summary, Cruz’s personality composite can be characterized as “risk-taking, confident, controlling.”
The Personality Profile of Prospective 2016 Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee
By Joseph Wonderlich, Demetre Koukouves, Emily Berthiaume, and Matt Plessel
Abstract: Mike Huckabee’s primary personality pattern was found to be Dominant / controlling, complemented by secondary Ambitious / confident and Outgoing / congenial features, and a Dauntless / adventurous tendency. In summary, Huckabee’s personality composite can be characterized as “dominant, ambitious, extraverted.”
The Personality Profile of 2016 Presidential Candidate Rand Paul
By Katherine Stelzner, Anh Doan, Natalie Gannon, and Katie Miller
Abstract: Ran Paul’s primary personality pattern was found to be Ambitious / confident, complemented by secondary Dominant / asserting and Conscientious / respectful features, and a possible Contentious / resolute tendency. In summary, Paul’s personality composite can be characterized as “confident, resolute, individualistic.”
The Personality Profile of Prospective 2016 Presidential Candidate Rick Perry
By Demetre Koukouves, April Donovan, Natalie Lambert, and Shuhan Yi
Abstract: Rick Perry’s primary personality pattern was found to be Dominant / asserting, complemented by secondary Dauntless / adventurous, Ambitious / confident, and Outgoing / congenial features. In summary, Perry’s personality composite can be characterized as “dominant, risk-taking, extraverted.”
The Personality Profile of 2016 Presidential Candidate Marco Rubio
By Zachary Bigaouette, Tyree Kidd, and Sarah Catcher
Abstract: Marco Rubio’s primary personality pattern was found to be Dominant / asserting, complemented by secondary Ambitious / confident and Conscientious / respectful features, and a possible Outgoing / congenial tendency. In summary, Rubio’s personality composite can be characterized as “assertive, confident, organized, extraverted.” Due to the relatively small amount of data collected – as reflected by the low profile elevations – the assessment should at best be considered a pilot study.
The Personality Profile of Prospective 2016 Presidential Candidate Scott Walker
By Victoria Beach, Paul Kress, Colin Fisher, Megan Lutz, and Angel Aguilera
Abstract: Scott Walker’s primary personality pattern was found to be Accommodating / cooperative, complemented by secondary Ambitious / confident features. In summary, Walker’s personality composite can be characterized as “confident, accommodating.” However, given Walker’s confrontational track record as governor, the assessment lacks face validity – most likely due to the relatively small amount of data collected, as reflected by the low profile elevations. Thus, the assessment should at best be considered a pilot study.
Note: Studies of Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina are currently in progress.
By Joe Trenzeluk
Abstract: Scott Walker’s predominant personality patterns were found to be Conscientious / dutiful and Dominant / controlling, with secondary Ambitious / confident features. In summary, Walker’s personality composite can be characterized as a “conscientious enforcer.”
The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush (Scheduled Aug. 2, 2015)
By Atarah Pinder
Abstract: Jeb Bush’s predominant personality patterns were found to be Conscientious / dutiful and Retiring / aloof, with secondary Dominant / asserting features. In summary, Bush’s personality composite can be characterized as a “conscientious, forceful introvert.”
The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump (Scheduled Aug. 9, 2015)
By Hannah Hoppe
Abstract: Donald Trump’s predominant personality patterns were found to be Ambitious / self-serving, Dominant / controlling, and Outgoing / gregarious. In summary, Trump’s personality composite can be characterized as a “high-dominance charismatic.”
Related reports on this site
Rick Santorum Personality Profile (April 26, 2012)
Tim Pawlenty Personality Profile (June 16, 2011)
Michele Bachmann Personality Profile (June 13, 2011)
Mitt Romney Personality Profile (June 2, 2011)
Joe Biden Personality Profile (April 17, 2009)
Barack Obama Personality Profile (Feb. 21, 2009)
John McCain Personality Profile (Nov. 2, 2008)
(Clockwise from right front) Feiran Chen, Beth Peichel, Wade Kohls, Rachel Heying, Sara Duxbury, and Amanda Nusbaum presented their poster “The Personality Profile of 2012 Presidential Contender Rick Santorum” in the run-up to the 2012 U.S. presidential election at Scholarship and Creativity Day, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, April 25, 2012. (Photo: Aubrey Immelman; click photo for larger image)
Anyone who was living in the Midwest in the fall of 1989 was familiar with the Jacob Wetterling kidnapping. The story was all over the news. There were newspaper articles, television news stories, posters, billboards, and buttons. Jacob was everywhere, but he couldn’t be found.
“It Can’t Happen Here” is an investigative and historical chronicle of Jacob’s case from several perspectives. It is a well-documented journey that begins with the day of the abduction and the massive media following. The book recounts the support of the local community and offers a glimpse of how Jacob’s kidnapping spawned significant progress toward the safety of all children through the efforts of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation.
The book then moves on to a detailed presentation of the investigative effort to find Jacob and his kidnapper, and concludes with an examination of several individuals who were investigated in the case.
“It Can’t Happen Here.” Those are four seemingly defiant words, and at one time they offered what many considered a sense of immunity from the growing horrors of society. In reality, the phrase was merely an empty promise, and it represented the immediate collective reaction to the shocking truth that was realized in St. Joseph, Minnesota, after the night of October 22, 1989.
What happened to Jacob Wetterling changed the world. No longer were the small towns in the Midwest considered immune to the horrors of the exploitation of children.
The search for Jacob Wetterling has been unlike any other search for a missing child. The purpose of this book is to accomplish two primary objectives:
First, the kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling is an incredible, true story — one that is as compelling and mysterious as any such crime could be. Jacob’s story is in many ways stranger than fiction. For every question that has been answered during the course of the investigation, it seems that the answers have led to more questions. It is a complex story that has been longing to be told, and never to be forgotten.
Second, the case of Jacob Wetterling’s kidnapping is a solvable crime. Someone has the answers, or that one piece of information, however small, which could help solve Jacob’s case.
This book contains a significant volume of information, including a glimpse of several individuals who have been investigated, and several promising but forgotten leads that developed over the course of the investigation. Ultimately, the goal of this book is to not only tell the story of the search for Jacob Wetterling, but also to provide some detail or trigger someone’s memory of that one bit of information that could help solve the case.
If this book is put into the hands of the right person, I truly believe it actually could help. …
Purchase book at Amazon
On Facebook: Searching for Jacob Wetterling
Eau Claire author explores Wetterling abduction
With exhaustive research, mainly from secondary sources, Eau Claire author Robert Dudley has written a 300-page book on the 1989 abduction of Jacob Wetterling. (Photo: Andrea Paulseth)
By Tom Giffey
April 15, 2015
Like almost everyone else who was living in the Upper Midwest – and much of the United States – in 1989, Robert Dudley remembers the abduction of Jacob Wetterling well. The 11-year-old’s kidnapping sent ripples that radiated far from the tiny central Minnesota town of St. Joseph, striking fear into the hearts of parents, attracting international attention, and ultimately leading to sex-offender registry laws.
Yet for all the scrutiny, the case remains unsolved. No one has seen Jacob for more than 25 years – at least no one who has spoken publicly – and clues are virtually nonexistent. There has been no evidence and no arrests. Hope for a resolution seems as dim as the moonless October night when Jacob vanished. …
Related reports on this site
25-Year Anniversary of Jacob Wetterling Abduction (Oct. 22, 2014)
Wetterling Case Featured on ‘The Hunt with John Walsh’ (Aug. 31, 2014)
Kidnapping Anniversary Marked By AMBER Alert Donation (Oct. 22, 2011)
Minnesota Missing Persons Linkage Analysis (June 22, 2011)
Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping Tips (March 2, 2011)
Jacob’s Kidnapping ‘Comes of Age’ (Oct. 22, 2010)
Jacob Wetterling — Latest News (Oct. 5, 2010)
Wetterling Suspect Dan Rassier (July 3, 2010)
Jacob Wetterling: Rassier Search (July 1, 2010)
Josh Guimond: New Developments (May 24, 2010)
Jacob Wetterling Freedom Walk (Dec. 21, 2009)
Missing Person Joshua Guimond (Nov. 7, 2009)
Jacob Wetterling 20 Years On (Oct. 22, 2009)
Jacob Wetterling Celebration (Oct. 16, 2009)
Wetterling Friend Shares Story (Apr. 28, 2009)
Jacob Wetterling Lead Unravels (Jan. 7, 2009)
On March 2, the New York Times reported that Hillary Rodham Clinton did not have a government email account while secretary of state and may have violated federal rules that officials’ correspondence be retained. (“Hillary Clinton used personal email account at State Dept.” by Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times, p. A1, March 3, 2015.)
The Washington Post has compiled an extensive timeline concerning government rules and regulations on the use of private email accounts and Clinton’s actions regarding her private account for the purpose of government communications. (“Hillary Clinton’s e-mails: A timeline of actions and regulations” by Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, March 10, 2015.)
Hillary Clinton statement on use of private email account. Watch complete presser
Following is a collection of research reports and related political analysis, conducted between 1999 and 2008, that may have a bearing on the matter in terms of Hillary Clinton’s personality traits, psychological motives, and leadership style.
The Personality Profile of 2008 Democratic Presidential Contender Hillary Clinton
Aubrey Immelman and Julie Seifert
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
This research report presents the results of an analysis of the personality of New York senator Hillary Clinton, contender for the Democratic Party nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon. Information concerning Sen. Clinton was collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), 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. Clinton’s primary personality patterns were found to be Ambitious/self-serving and Dominant/controlling, with secondary Conscientious/dutiful features and subsidiary, more situation-specific, Contentious/resolute and Distrusting traits.
Ambitious individuals are bold, competitive, and self-assured; they easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and often act as though entitled. Dominant individuals enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they are tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders.
Hillary Clinton’s major personality strengths in a leadership role are her commanding presence and confident assertiveness. Her major personality-based shortcomings are an uncompromising, overcontrolling tendency, a lack of empathy and congeniality, and cognitive inflexibility.
The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for anticipating Sen. Clinton’s likely leadership style as chief executive, thus providing a basis for inferring the character and tenor of a prospective Hillary Clinton presidency.
In terms of Lloyd Etheredge’s (1978) fourfold typology of personality-based foreign policy role orientations, which locates policymakers on the dimensions of dominance–submission and introversion–extraversion, Clinton’s profile most closely approximates the “high-dominance introvert” category. According to Etheredge, high-dominance introverts (e.g., presidents such as Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover) are quite willing to use military force, tending
to divide the world, in their thought, between the moral values they think it ought to exhibit and the forces opposed to this vision. They tend to have a strong, almost Manichean, moral component to their views. They tend to be described as stubborn and tenacious. They seek to reshape the world in accordance with their personal vision, and their foreign policies are often characterized by the tenaciousness with which they advance one central idea. … [These leaders] seem relatively preoccupied with themes of exclusion, the establishment of institutions or principles to keep potentially disruptive forces in check. (p. 449; italics in original)
Etheredge’s high-dominance introvert is similar in character to Margaret Hermann’s (1987) expansionist orientation to foreign affairs. These leaders have a view of the world as being “divided into ‘us’ and ‘them,’ ” based on a belief system in which conflict is viewed as inherent in the international system. This world view prompts a personal political style characterized by a “wariness of others’ motives” and a directive, controlling interpersonal orientation, resulting in a foreign policy “focused on issues of security and status,” favoring “low-commitment actions” and espousing “short-term, immediate change in the international arena.” Expansionist leaders “are not averse to using the ‘enemy’ as a scapegoat” and their rhetoric often may be “hostile in tone” (pp. 168–169).
Addendum: Hillary Clinton’s MIDC Scale Scores
Etheredge, L. S. (1978). Personality effects on American foreign policy, 1898–1968: A test of interpersonal generalization theory. American Political Science Review, 72, 434–451.
Hermann, M. G. (1987). Assessing the foreign policy role orientations of sub-Saharan African leaders. In S. G. Walker (Ed.), Role theory and foreign policy analysis (pp. 161–198). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Related report: Revised study (April 2008)
Samantha Power (left), President Barack Obama, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sit together during a memorial service for diplomat Richard Holbrooke on Jan. 14, 2011, in Washington. (Photo: AP)
By Sarah Moore and Aubrey Immelman
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
March 8, 2008
Last Friday, Samantha Power, a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama, made headlines by declaring Hillary Clinton “a monster.” In an article in a Scottish newspaper, Power was quoted as saying, “She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything” (“‘Hillary Clinton’s a monster’: Obama aide blurts out attack in Scotsman interview,” The Scotsman, March 7, 2008).
Power resigned within hours of her gaffe hitting the headlines. “I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor, and purpose of the Obama campaign,” she wrote in a prepared statement.
Clearly, the ad hominem nature of Power’s personal attack was tasteless. However, should the substance of her tactless statement be brushed off summarily, or does it have a grain of truth that warrants closer examination in the public interest?
The present analysis is part of a series of nearly 30 analyses of political candidates — four of them dealing with Hillary Clinton — published in the Times since the 2000 election cycle by research collaborators at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.
As noted in two recent articles in the series (“Does Clinton have only 1 card to play?” Feb. 26, 2008; “Clinton, Obama show their strengths,” Mar. 4, 2008), Clinton possesses qualities that could make her an effective leader. However, she also has personality traits (not highlighted in previous reports) that reveal a darker, Machiavellian side.
Three studies of Clinton conducted at the research unit in the past decade have identified, with consistent results, the core features of her personality.
Clinton’s profile contains a cluster of three prominent patterns: a dominant, controlling tendency (aggressiveness); an ambitious, self-serving tendency (narcissism); and a conscientious, dutiful tendency (obsessiveness).
Also of note, Clinton’s profile shows quite a high level of distrust and a relative lack of outgoing and accommodating features, suggesting a deficit of warmth and congeniality.
For more insight into Clinton’s character, let’s take a closer look at the three core qualities of her personality.
Dominant and controlling
Dominant individuals are tough, unsentimental, strong-willed, assertive, and outspoken. These qualities have many positive aspects; for example, speaking out and standing up for what you believe in, easily rising to leadership challenges, holding your ground, and demonstrating unflinching courage in the face of opposition.
However, these traits potentially have a more sinister side; the dominant tendency also reflects a strong drive for power and the expectation that their authority should be unquestioned. In addition to being coercive, these personalities tend to be unempathic, stubborn, and inflexible.
When pushed on personal matters, highly dominant leaders are prone to respond vindictively, especially when feeling humiliated or belittled. They are quick to attack when provoked or challenged and their first inclination is to dominate and demean their adversary.
Clinton has been portrayed as a no-nonsense individual who likes to take charge, is not easily intimidated, and often inspires respect — even grudging respect inspired by fear.
In his book The Choice (1996), Bob Woodward wrote that Clinton occasionally “snapped at people, even blew up, providing a momentary glimpse of inner rage. She seemed angry … [and] often seemed not to recognize when she was hurting people.”
Woodward’s observation offers a glimpse of someone who needs to be in charge, does not easily tolerate dissent, and lacks empathy for others.
Ambitious and self-serving
In moderation, personal ambition also has positive aspects; for example, boldness, competitiveness, and self-assurance. But the self-confidence of ambitious leaders readily shades into arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and an air of superiority — and they often act as though entitled.
After interviewing many of Clinton’s associates for a 1994 article in New Yorker magazine, Connie Bruck concluded, “In the end, the sureness about her own judgment — at its extreme, a sense that she alone is wise — is probably Hillary’s cardinal trait.”
Similarly, political scientist and psychoanalyst Stanley Renshon wrote in High Hopes: The Clinton Presidency and the Politics of Ambition that one aspect of Hillary Clinton’s character that stands out is her confidence in herself, her positions, and her work — resulting in a sense of entitlement, “a tendency to not want to be bound by limits that apply to others.”
A distrusting nature
Clinton’s elevation on the “Distrusting” scale of the personality inventory used at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics to evaluate political leaders is unusually high relative to other candidates studied in the last four presidential election cycles.
Distrusting leaders — especially those who also happen to be highly dominant and ambitious — tend to be thin-skinned and hypersensitive to perceived slights; vengeful, with a willingness to “balance the books” with respect to perceived past wrongs; prone to “us versus them” thinking; self-righteous, acting arrogantly and with a sense of entitlement; and self-justifying, viewing their attacks on adversaries either as defensive necessity or as “payback.”
For example, Clinton was reportedly the central figure in the 1993 White House travel office dismissals, in which scores were ruthlessly settled.
Gail Sheehy, in her book Hillary’s Choice (1999), had this to say about Clinton’s view of the world: “Her view of humanity is that mankind was born selfish and unruly and must be channeled. … Politics was the means. She even admitted that she couldn’t identify with the ‘faceless masses.’ She sounded … elitist, privileged, distrustful of the people.”
So, Clinton may have a Hobbesian, dog-eat-dog view of the world, but that doesn’t justify the gratuitous demonization of pejoratively branding her “a monster.”
That said, last December, former president Bill Clinton warned that to elect Obama would be “to ‘roll the dice’ for America.” By the same token, as we contemplate the prospect of the second Clinton presidency in a generation, it behooves Americans to ask themselves if they are willing to take a gamble on another Clinton.
Note. A slightly edited version of this article was published as the “Your Turn” column “‘Monster’? Consider darker side of Hillary Clinton” in the St. Cloud Times (p. 5B), March 12, 2008.
By Catherine London and Aubrey Immelman
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
March 3, 2008
As voters head for the polls in Tuesday’s critical big-state primaries in Ohio and Texas, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama face what may be the day of decision in their bid for the Democratic nomination.
With 11 straight primary victories since Super Tuesday at his back, Obama has emerged as the frontrunner and a force to be reckoned with. For Clinton, tomorrow’s contests could be her final opportunity to reclaim the lead.
As the primary season lumbers on to an eventual nomination, the focus begins to shift from the horse race to the pointed question of what kind of leader a candidate will likely become. An important part of the answer can be found in personality: enduring personal traits that remain relatively constant over time and drive a person’s behavior across a broad range of situations, including, in this case, the seat behind the desk in the Oval Office.
Clinton, Obama head-to-head
To gain a better understanding of Clinton and Obama, we generated personality profiles using a standard assessment procedure developed at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.
The profile revealed that Clinton has a highly ambitious and somewhat self-serving, dominant and controlling, conscientious, dutiful personality.
Highly ambitious personalities have supreme self-confidence, though this tendency may sometimes shade into overconfidence and a sense of entitlement. Nonetheless, these individuals often make effective leaders, due to their bold, competitive nature.
Dominant personalities are strong-willed, commanding, and assertive. Although this is typically regarded as a leadership strength, a potential problem for Clinton is that for some voters these traits may feed into negative stereotypes of women, contributing to her high negatives in the polls.
Conscientious personalities are highly organized, diligent, and attentive to detail; however, they can also be rigid thinkers who find it difficult to make a mid-course correction when a well-made plan falters in its execution. By the same token, as candidates they may seem excessively programmed, which undermines their efforts to inspire voters.
The profile revealed that Obama, like Clinton, is ambitious and dominant, though not to the same degree. On a personal level, the primary distinction between Obama and Clinton is that where Clinton is conscientious, Obama is outgoing and congenial, which makes it easier for him to inspire followers and connect with people.
In a recent Los Angeles Times article (“Senate careers branch differently for Clinton, Obama,” Feb. 26, 2008) Janet Hooks examined differences between Clinton and Obama “that could ultimately make them very different presidents.”
With similar intent, the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, in collaboration with McGill University political scientist Blema Steinberg, developed a model that maps out the links between personality and leadership style.
Why they run
Leaders with a personality pattern such as Clinton’s — dominant, ambitious, and conscientious — are primarily motivated by issues of power and to a lesser degree by ideology.
They are highly assertive and extremely confident, with a strong belief in their personal talents and leadership ability, as evident in Clinton’s remark last August at an AFL-CIO forum in Chicago: “If you want a winner that knows how to take them on, I’m your girl.”
These leaders also exhibit a controlling, perfectionistic orientation — an aversion to leaving anything to chance. As LA Times reporter Hooks noted in her article, Clinton “chose to build a reputation as a skilled insider” who “mastered the levers of Senate power,” and “surprised her colleagues with her diligence.”
Leaders with a personality pattern such as Obama’s — ambitious and outgoing — are primarily concerned with issues of self-validation. Despite their strong belief in themselves, they enlist pragmatism as a strategy for ensuring their own success and political ambition.
As Obama supporter and former Illinois state representative Paul L. Williams told the New York Times last July: Obama “came with a huge dose of practicality.” This quality comes into play, Hooks notes, in terms of “Obama’s focus on broad themes and overarching issues.”
Measuring up to the job
Successful executive leadership requires the officeholder to strike a balance between goal-directed policy achievement and process-oriented organizational survival.
Clinton’s personality pattern suggests that as president she would be more goal directed, with a strong interest in solving policy problems effectively and accomplishing ideological objectives, and less interested in maintaining good relations among colleagues.
Obama’s personality pattern suggests that as president he also would be goal-directed, but that this tendency will be tempered by his outgoing orientation, leading him to place a higher premium than Clinton on process-oriented relationship maintenance, even if it comes at the expense of achieving short-term policy objectives.
That attribute served Obama well as a senator who skillfully maneuvered his way around Washington, forging friendships with politicians across party lines. In the process, he cemented a reputation for seeking consensus and being receptive to the views of those around him, regardless of political persuasion.
Handling people and the press
In the information age, mass media play a key role in national politics. Despite coming under fire as an idealistic, naïve candidate, “heavy on rhetoric and light on policy,” it’s hard for the media to ignore Obama’s rousing speeches and captivating rhetorical style. From his first moments in the national spotlight at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama appeared polished and articulate, projecting the trademark charisma since showcased behind podiums across the country.
Sen. Clinton has been notably less successful in this regard, due in part to a strong drive to control the image projected by the media. In short, highly dominant leaders like Clinton tend to be less cooperative and accessible to the media, and therefore less likely to enjoy harmonious media relations.
A critical ingredient of successful executive leadership is the president’s skill in implementing policy decisions. In that regard, presidential personality is key.
Clinton, as a strong-willed, confident personality, can be expected to articulate and defend her policies personally rather than relying on others. The equally confident Obama will be similarly inclined.
There may, however, be a slight distinction in the sense that the more outgoing Obama would probably show a stronger preference for directly engaging the public, whereas the more conscientious, less extraverted Clinton would be less likely to enjoy this aspect of governing and therefore give senior administration officials a larger role in articulating and defending her policies.
Given these important distinctions between the two candidates in personality and leadership style, the question for primary voters tomorrow — who could in effect pick the Democratic nominee and likely next president of the United States — may be as simple as this: With whom would I rather share my living room for the next four years?
Note. A slightly edited version of this article was published as the “Your Turn” column “Clinton, Obama show their strengths: Personalities reveal how they may govern” in the St. Cloud Times (pp. 4-5B), March 4, 2008.
Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigns in Dallas on March 1, 2008 ahead of the Texas primary. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
By Anna Phelps and Aubrey Immelman
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
February 25, 2008
The morning after last Tuesday’s crucial Wisconsin Democratic primary contest, the Associated Press led as follows: “Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary Tuesday night, gaining the upper hand in a Democratic presidential race for the ages.”
But Saturday, at a Clinton campaign rally in Corpus Christi, former President Bill Clinton threw down the gauntlet in Texas. “Texas is going to decide this. If [Hillary] wins in Texas and she wins in Ohio, she will win in Pennsylvania and she will go on and win the nomination and be the president of the United States.”
Tonight’s MSNBC debate in Cleveland offers Hillary Clinton her last best chance to show voters she has the right stuff to stop the advance of front-runner Barack Obama in next Tuesday’s make-or-break, rich-in-delegates primary contests in Texas and Ohio.
But, as the Los Angeles Times reported last week (“Clinton camp splits on message,” Feb. 21, 2008), the beleaguered Clinton campaign is at odds on how best to fend off Obama’s surge:
“As Hillary Clinton tries to revive her floundering campaign after losing 10 straight primary contests to Sen. Barack Obama, her strategists are divided on how to frame her image. Some want to emphasize her strength and experience while others think she should showcase her warmth and empathy. Yet others want to focus on the historic significance of electing the first woman president.”
Framing an image
Despite a staff of 700, and $100 million in campaign expenditure, Clinton evidently has not invested in the counsel of a political psychology consultant. If she had, her advice likely would have been that the way to victory is authenticity, best achieved by cultivating a public persona consonant with her actual character.
For insight into Clinton’s character — deeply ingrained personality traits and attributes that are not easily altered and that remain relatively consistent over time — we consulted three personality profiles independently constructed by different researchers in the past decade at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.
The first study, conducted in 1998 by Jennifer Jo Hagel, “established that Clinton’s personality had a primarily dominant, controlling pattern with distinctly ambitious, highly confident features … [and] strong, though secondary, conscientious qualities.”
A follow-up study, conducted by Aví Bahadoor in 2000, found that Clinton, in addition to being “highly organized, persistent, and conscientious,” was “a primarily dominant, controlling individual with highly ambitious, narcissistic qualities … that account for substantial self-confidence but readily shade into arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and an air of superiority.”
Finally, in 2004, Elizabeth Malaktaris found Clinton’s personality pattern to be highly ambitious (self-serving), dominant (controlling), and conscientious (dutiful).
Framing an authentic image for Clinton that is consistent with her true character can best be achieved by showcasing her strength and experience, which is built on the foundation of her inherent dominance and conscientiousness.
High dominance makes Clinton a natural for rising to leadership challenges, rarely backing away from a fight. Her conscientiousness makes her the quintessential policy wonk, a competent manager with an eagle eye for the tiniest detail.
The irony is that the strength-and-experience message, which carried Clinton through 2007 when her nomination seemed all but inevitable, began to unravel when the campaign entered its up-close-and-personal phase with the start of the primary season.
It began to founder when challenged by the force of personality of an unlikely opponent that on paper offered little match for Clinton’s dominance, experience, and policy acumen.
Clinton’s dilemma is that even though she surpasses Obama on ambition-driven confidence — the key ingredient of political charisma — she lacks the catalyst that creates the chemistry necessary to connect with people: an outgoing tendency that conveys personal warmth and likability.
Barack Obama has it, Hillary Clinton doesn’t; Bill Clinton has it, Bob Dole doesn’t; George W. Bush has it, Al Gore doesn’t — and neither does John Kerry. John McCain has it, and so does Mike Huckabee; Mitt Romney doesn’t have it either, and neither does Fred Thompson.
Can’t fake it
You can’t fake sincerity, at least not for long. For Clinton, the naked truth is that Plan B, to showcase her supposed warmth and empathy as some of her strategists would have her do, is simply a nonstarter — or at best a hard sell, because it’s entirely at variance with the core components of her personality.
While some observers may have perceived Clinton’s famous show of emotion the day before last month’s New Hampshire primary as a glimpse of “the real Hillary,” of genuine warmth and empathy buried deep beneath her tough exterior, realistically what we saw was more likely a momentary peek behind the veil of her persona, briefly laying bare the wounded ego of shaken confidence as she saw her personal dreams of glory slipping away in the snow of New Hampshire.
So, short of flaunting her toughness and going on the offensive, what remains for Clinton is to continue highlighting the historic significance of electing the first woman president of the United States.
But that’s hardly a good hand if it’s the only card Hillary has left to play.
Note. A slightly edited version of this article was published as the “Your Turn” column “Does Clinton have only 1 card to play” in the St. Cloud Times (pp. 7B), Feb. 26, 2008.
Cover of the May 30, 1994 issue of The New Yorker, featuring Connie Bruck’s article, “Hillary the pol.”
By Aubrey Immelman
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
“Can you be a misanthrope and still love and enjoy some individuals? “How about a compassionate misanthrope?” That enigmatic thought, expressed in the spring of 1967 by Wellesley sophomore Hillary Rodham in a letter to a friend, provides a valuable clue to the character of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Last fall, my student Aví Bahadoor and I conducted a study of the political personality of Hillary Clinton. We collected personal data from published biographical materials and political reports, and synthesized these public records into a personality profile using the second edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which I adapted from the work of contemporary personality theorist Theodore Millon.
We found that Hillary Clinton’s primary MIDC scale elevations occurred as moderate loadings on the “Ambitious” and “Dominant” dimensions, with a more modest, subsidiary elevation on the “Conscientious” dimension. The Ambitious dimension is anchored at its adaptive pole by self-confidence and at its maladaptive pole by pathological narcissism. The Dominant dimension is anchored by, respectively, authoritativeness and pathological aggressiveness — the latter being conceptually related to “sadistic personality disorder,” listed in the appendix of the revised third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (1987) as a provisional personality disorder requiring further study. Finally, the Conscientious dimension ranges from conventional respectfulness to self-defeating compulsiveness.
The Millon Index of Personality Styles (1994), employing the label Asserting, describes Ambitious personalities as bold, competitive, and self-assured individuals who easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and often act as though entitled. Dominant personalities — labeled Controlling — enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect. They are tough, competitive, and unsentimental, and often make effective leaders. This amalgam of adaptive narcissism and dominance in Hillary Clinton’s personality profile parallels the recollection of high school classmate Art Curtis, as quoted in Gail Sheehy’s (1999) Hillary’s Choice: “Hillary was very competitive at everything. Even pugnacious. She was very ambitious.”
In this report I will document some of the enduring personal characteristics that provide the empirical basis for my assessment of Hillary Clinton’s dominant, ambitious personality pattern.
After interviewing many of Clinton’s associates for a New Yorker article (“Hillary the pol,” May 30, 1994) Connie Bruck concluded, “In the end, the sureness about her own judgment — at its extreme, a sense that she alone is wise — is probably Hillary’s cardinal trait.” Evident in Bruck’s assessment is the dogmatic inflexibility characteristic of the cognitive style of highly conscientious, dominant personalities, tinged with the hubris of high ambition.
Commenting on the leadership implications of these traits, Stanley Renshon, in his 1996 book, High Hopes, had this to say: “The view that one knows better than others — period — can lead to imperiousness and cause trouble in one’s relations with others. It has done so in Hillary’s case.”
Renshon’s contention seems to be borne out by Elizabeth Drew. In her book, On the Edge (1994), she wrote that Hillary Clinton’s presence at health care meetings early in the Clinton presidency was a “source of discomfort,” with some attendees finding her “intimidating — hard to argue with and uninterested in the points they made. Mrs. Clinton’s style was very direct. She told people straight out what she thought. … Mrs. Clinton displayed a certain impatience. And her humor was biting.”
Drew’s reporting provides evidence of dominant behavior, but what evidence do we have that this is indicative of an enduring, consistent personality pattern rather than a situationally determined response simply reflecting Hillary Clinton’s seriousness of purpose concerning comprehensive health care?
Childhood nicknames sometimes provide a useful index of an individual’s ingrained, central personality traits. Among their mock predictions for seniors, Hillary Rodham’s high school newspaper proclaimed that Hillary’s destiny was to become a nun named “Sister Frigidaire.” “Obviously,” wrote celebrity biographer Norman King in The Woman in the White House (1996), “she was known for her ability to freeze anyone with a glare from her blue eyes.”
Just how tough is Hillary? James Carville, in All’s Fair: Love, War, and Running for President (1994), co-authored with Mary Matalin, put it this way: “Hillary won’t run you down for fun, and she won’t run into a ditch to avoid scratching your fender, but if you are blocking something we need to get done you’ll get run over in a hurry.” Less folksy, if more gravely, Bob Woodward reported in The Choice (1996) that Hillary occasionally “snapped at people, even blew up, providing a momentary glimpse of inner rage. She seemed angry, bottled up. Hillary was smart and determined, knew what she wanted to happen. When she was focused and directed, she often seemed not to recognize when she was hurting people.”
Lani Guinier, who once considered herself close to the Clintons, has written poignantly about this hurt. In “Who’s afraid of Lani Guinier?” (New York Times Magazine, Feb. 27, 1994), she related how, when her nomination for attorney general began to founder, she received neither emotional nor logistical support from her “friends in the White House.” She writes that Hillary Clinton first “breezed by” her in the West Wing “with a casual ‘Hi Kiddo’” and then, when someone tried to tell the first lady that she was there to strategize on her nomination, Hillary “turned slightly and said, ‘Oh’,” and “to no one in particular, announced, ‘I’m thirty minutes late for lunch’.” As Gail Sheehy has commented, “Empathy was not characteristic of Hillary.”
Millon proposes that the primary psychological precursor of an aggressive, controlling personality orientation is parental hostility. Sheehy describes Hillary’s father, Hugh Rodham, as an “authoritarian drillmaster” who “neither offered nor asked for nurturing.” “He was gruff and intolerant and also famously tightfisted: he shut off the heat in the house every night and turned a deaf ear to his children’s complaints that they woke up freezing in the morning. Toughen up was the message.” Sheehy writes that Hillary “tried hard … to please her father.” In It Takes a Village, Hillary Clinton wrote, “When I brought home straight A’s from junior high, my father’s only comment was, ‘Well Hillary, that must be an easy school you go to.’” Sheehy suggests that Hillary’s “drive toward perfection, her severe self-discipline and overwhelming need for control” are rooted in the tyranny of her father’s “demand for perfection and his readiness to demean his daughter.”
The foregoing touches primarily on Hillary Clinton’s dominant traits. What do we know about her ambitiousness? In this regard, Renshon writes that “one aspect of Hillary Rodham’s character” that stands out is her confidence in herself, her positions, and her work. Noting that both Bill and Hillary Clinton “are very ambitious and confident,” but that Hillary’s ambition “trumps her husband’s,” Renshon speculates that Hillary “appears to have developed … boundary problems” stemming from “her strong self-confidence in the correctness of whatever she does,” in contrast to her husband’s “failure to develop strong internal boundaries.” For both Clintons, the end result is a sense of entitlement — “a tendency to not want to be bound by limits that apply to others.”
It seems difficult to reconcile Hillary Clinton’s personality profile with her “It takes a village” persona. Part of the problem may be that character can be difficult to discern beneath a polished political persona. In one sense, Clinton has learned to soften publicly, as Bruck puts it, what others have viewed as the “hard edges” of her nature. But more importantly, clear perception of Hillary’s character can be easily confounded by her embrace of humanitarian political issues as a vehicle for political expression. Had she remained a Goldwater Republican and subscribed to the agenda of say, a Margaret Thatcher, the character traits that drive her political ambitions might well have been more transparent. The point is that character largely remains a constant, even as ideological values migrate under the press of political socialization.
A slightly edited version of this paper was published in Clio’s Psyche (Journal of the Psychohistory Forum), vol. 7, no. 2 (September 2000), pp. 65-66.
Aví Bahadoor, a biology/pre-med major at the College of St. Benedict, assisted with the data collection for this paper.
By Aví A. T. Bahadoor and Aubrey Immelman
St. Cloud Times
April 23, 2000
Earlier this month U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for the first time edged ahead of New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in a tight race that has attracted national attention.
The results of a CBS News/New York Times poll — since confirmed by other polls — showed Clinton leading Giuliani by 49 to 41 percent among likely voters, with 7 percent undecided.
Giuliani’s dip in the polls, in part, reflects his cavalier response to the fatal police shooting of Haitian immigrant Patrick Dorismond, an unarmed security guard, in a drug sting operation gone awry. Thus, it is likely that Giuliani eventually will close in on Clinton.
Polls change — and will continue to fluctuate with the waxing and waning fortunes of the candidates in this closely contested race — but character is a constant.
From this perspective, the only significance of poll numbers is that — somewhat analogous to an electrocardiogram in a stress test — they provide a running record of the political pulse of the voting public as it responds to the palpitations of the candidates’ personality patterns in their race for the prized Senate seat.
The fact of the matter is that both Clinton and Giuliani have questions of character and temperament dangling over their heads.
As the clock ticks toward November’s election, the debate about whether the two candidates have the right stuff for serving in the Senate, and the effects of character and personality on leadership performance, is bound to intensify.
The operative question is this: What kind of candidate will voters be willing to place in the seat of power? In Clinton, as in Giuliani, we have an exceptionally dominant, and potentially aggressive, personality — even by Washington standards.
For example, the New York Daily News last December reported that sometimes “glimpses of volcanic anger bubble to the surface,” noting an incident during the 1992 presidential campaign when Clinton “banged her Bible in anger on her limo seat one Sunday when Secret Service agents took a less-than-direct route to church for security reasons.”
Clinton’s “It takes a village” persona notwithstanding, the Daily News’ revelation is hardly surprising, given our assessment of Clinton: a primarily dominant, controlling individual with highly ambitious, narcissistic qualities — qualities that account for substantial self-confidence but readily shade into arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and an air of superiority.
On a more positive note, we also found Clinton to be highly organized, persistent, and conscientious.
In short, what we have in Candidate Clinton is a controlling, competitive, somewhat disagreeable individual with little inclination for kindness, yet highly disciplined and dedicated, if somewhat closed-minded and inflexible.
Theodore Millon, the distinguished contemporary personality theorist, asserts that dominant personalities enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect from them. They tend to be tough and unsentimental, and derive satisfaction from acts that dictate and direct the lives of others.
Although many sublimate their power-oriented tendencies in publicly approved roles and vocations, their controlling inclinations become evident in occasional intransigence, stubbornness, and coercive behaviors.
Overall, these personalities tend to be emotionally stable and conscientious, and often make effective leaders.
In their book, The New Personality Self-Portrait, John Oldham and Lois B. Morris write that dominant personalities “move instinctively to the helm,” being “born to assume command as surely as is the top dog in the pack.” Their “strong, forceful personality style” allows them “to undertake huge responsibilities without fear of failure,” they “wield power with ease,” and they “never back away from a fight.”
Another expert, Stephen Strack, notes that dominant, forceful personalities have an assertive, tough-minded personal style and are strong-willed, ambitious, competitive, and driven to excel, working hard to achieve their goals.
Clearly, there is broad agreement among experts about the existence of a dominant, forceful character type, and abundant evidence that Clinton fits this mold.
She likes to be in charge and has the ability to present her ideas authoritatively to the public. However, several layers of concern are revealed if one probes beneath the public veneer of idealistic concern common among politicians.
Millon’s theory illuminates the darker recesses of Clinton’s dominant, controlling character type: a penchant for perceptual and cognitive distortion; a demeaning of affection and cooperative behavior; and the creation of realistic antagonisms.
First, beneath their controlled exterior, these individuals may harbor an undercurrent of anger and resentment that renders them somewhat thin-skinned and sensitive to others’ reactions. When misconstrued, minor slights become major insults and slander.
Moreover, these personalities are short on spontaneity and reluctant to express warm or tender feelings. Fundamentally, they are not softhearted, sympathetic, or caring. Finally, they are inherently antagonistic, and easily provoked to anger.
The truth of the matter is that Clinton’s personality dynamics prompt and perpetuate an incessant desire to pursue a fight. Furthermore, these personalities enjoy tangling with others to test their mettle and prove their strength.
Ominous though these qualities may sound, they are quite common among successful politicians.
What we find of more concern is the primacy of these traits in a personality that claims Eleanor Roosevelt as a role model and professes empathy, caring, and compassion.
Hillary may be liberal, but she’s no bleeding heart. Her campaign strengths are her relentless drive and commitment, her commanding presence, her persuasiveness, her unshakable confidence, and her ability to juggle multiple responsibilities.
Her Achilles’ heel is hostility and a lack of flexibility, warmth, and congeniality.
In power, Clinton will run a tight ship — a leadership style that will leave those stranded who fail to follow. In stormy waters, her manner may incite a mutiny or force followers to jump ship.
Perhaps that is not the ideal formula for success in the world’s greatest deliberative body, but then again, perhaps a Senate seat was never intended to be more than a temporary harbor en route to greater conquests.
Aví Bahadoor is a junior biology/pre-med major from Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies. She is collaborating in leadership studies conducted by Aubrey Immelman, associate professor of psychology at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, in the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics.
Doug Kanter / AFP / Getty Images
By Jennifer Jo Hagel and Aubrey Immelman
St. Cloud Times
December 5, 1999
Recently, Gail Sheehy’s unauthorized biography, Hillary’s Choice (Random House), hit the bookstores. It created something of a media stir on NBC’s “Dateline” and the cable television talk-show circuit.
In her book, the writer for Vanity Fair reveals that the first lady may have “inhaled” in days gone by, and that a 1960s boyfriend described Hillary as “passionate” and himself as “150 pounds of pulsing hormones.”
So, what else is new? Sex, drugs, and — what the heck — rock ‘n’ roll have become emblematic of the muck-raking, sensationalistic, “gotcha” pop-psychological reporting in this era of baby-boomer politics.
Sheehy’s book offers a smattering of legitimate psychological insights relevant to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political ambitions and leadership potential as she runs for the open U.S. Senate seat in the state of New York. Some of those include Hillary’s lack of accountability and externalization of blame, her combativeness and tendency to crucify opponents, her toughness and lack of empathy, her persistence in the face of adversity, and her strategic manipulation of Bill Clinton.
But what does systematic, empirical observation reveal about Clinton’s political personality? In a study conducted in 1997 and 1998, we established that Clinton’s personality had a primarily dominant, controlling pattern with distinctly ambitious, highly confident features. She also had strong, though secondary, conscientious qualities.
What this means, in practical terms, is the following:
Dominant individuals, in the words of personality theorist Theodore Millon, enjoy the power to direct others and to command compliance and respect. They have an intimidating presence, are tough and unsentimental, and thrive in leadership roles.
Indeed, more than any other personality type, they gain satisfaction in actions that dictate and manipulate the lives of others.
According to Millon, many of these personalities succeed in sublimating their power-oriented tendencies in publicly approved roles and vocations (beats haranguing one’s friends and intimates), though their aggressive inclinations sometimes become evident in intransigence, stubbornness, and coercive behaviors.
Despite these periodic negative expressions, writes Millon, controlling types typically make effective leaders, being talented in supervising and persuading others to work for the achievement of common goals.
John Oldham and Lois Morris, in The New Personality Self-Portrait, rather breathlessly extol the virtues of this forceful personality pattern: “While others may aspire to leadership, aggressive men and women move instinctively to the helm. They are born to assume command as surely as is the top dog in the pack. Theirs is a strong, forceful personality style, more inherently powerful than any of the others.
“They can undertake huge responsibilities without fear of failure. They wield power with ease. They never back away from a fight. They compete with the supreme confidence of champions. … When put to the service of the greater good, the aggressive personality style can inspire a man or woman to great leadership, especially in times of crisis.”
Next, the hallmark of the ambitious aspect of Clinton’s personality is an unshakable belief in oneself and one’s talents.
According to Millon, these personalities are competitive and self-assured, easily assume positions of leadership, act in a decisive and unwavering manner, and expect others to recognize their special qualities and cater to them.
Of special relevance to Clinton’s bid for the Senate, these individuals often succeed in realizing their ambitions and typically prove to be effective leaders.
However, they do have a potentially fatal flaw: their lack of social reciprocity and their sense of entitlement — an assumption that what they wish for is their due.
Finally, as for the conscientious component of Clinton’s personality, its essence is a principled morality and moral certitude. (It is the latter that can be troublesome in a leader.) These personalities, note Oldham and Morris, are quintessentially “loyal to their families and chosen causes,” epitomize the work ethic, and “won’t rest until the job is done and done right.”
In summary, our profile suggests that Clinton’s major personality strengths as a senator will be her commanding power, her clear-eyed vision and unwavering confidence, and her diligent pursuit of mission. Her major weaknesses likely will be her relative lack of congeniality (or collegiality), her uncompromising assertiveness, and a potential for closed-minded inflexibility.
Venturing further, we speculate that her public role will serve as a conduit for the expression and magnification of pre-existing personality traits, the central feature of which is a forceful, unyielding, power motive.
If elected junior senator from the state of New York next November, the patterns outlined here will be the golden thread running through the tapestry of Clinton’s political motives, legislative endeavors, and personal political style.
Books such as Sheehy’s can be a perfectly good read, informative and entertaining, but they are no substitute for more rigorous analysis of personality in politics.
Unfortunately, in their reluctance to tread this conceptual minefield, academic psychologists have left a void filled by other, less qualified practitioners plying their trade of political psychobiography.
Jennifer Hagel graduated in 1998 from the College of St. Benedict, where Aubrey Immelman is an associate professor of psychology. They presented their study of Hillary Clinton at the 1998 annual scientific meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, in Montreal, Quebec.
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Back (standing): Grant Meyer, Jake Lieberg, Logan Anding, Kempton Schneider, Clay Mackenthun, Brandon Snoberger, Nick Hayes, Jacob Gieske, Matt Markman, Trent Meyer, Eric Markman, Matt Immelman, Cody Rose.
Front: Daniel Daffinrud, Drew Bertelson, Kyle Och, Carter Neuenschwander, Grant Lahn, Grant Olson, Chris Belling.
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Matt Immelman (#22) scored 31 points for Minnesota Comets 17U Gray in a 78-73 loss to Minnesota Select Moore at the Great Plains Alliance AAU Boys’ Basketball Tournament in Sauk Rapids-St. Cloud on June 26, 2015 — shooting 14 of 16 (one 3-pointer) from the field (87.5%) and going 2 for 2 on free throws. (04:13)
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UPDATES: Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (Afghanistan)
As of Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at least 2,359 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to iCasualties.org.
Army Spc. John M. Dawson, 22, Whitinsville, Massachusetts, died April 8, 2015 in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was attacked by small-arms fire while he was on an escort mission in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 33 Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Pablo A. Ruiz, 37, Melbourne, Florida, died May 24, 2015 in Bagram, Afghanistan, in a non-combat related incident while while serving in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. He was assigned to Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
DoD civilian Krissie K. Davis, 54, Talladega, Alabama, a member of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Anniston, Alabama, and deployed to DLA Disposition Services Bagram as part of the civilian expeditionary workforce supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, was killed June 8, 2015 during an indirect fire attack on Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan.
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason P. May, 38, Chesterfield, Michigan, died June 29, 2015 on board USS Essex (LHD 2), of noncombat-related causes (experiencing chest pains and collapsing) while the ship was at sea.
UPDATES: Operation Inherent Resolve (ISIS/ISIL in Syria and Iraq)
As of Tuesday, June 16, 2015, at least 4,492 members of the U.S. military had died in the Middle East since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to according to iCasualties.org.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony E. Salazar, 40, Hermosa Beach, California, died April 13, 2015 at an air base in Southwest Asia in a noncombat-related incident while serving in Operation Inherent Resolve. He was assigned to the 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron, 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group, U.S. Air Forces Central Command.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Devon J. Doyle, 21, Alamosa, Colorado, died May 16, 2015 in Manama, Bahrain, in a noncombat-related incident on liberty while serving in Operation Inherent Resolve. He was assigned to USS Farragut (DDG 99), homeported in Mayport, Florida.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan D. Burris, 24, of Lisle, Illinois, died May 21 in Zayed Military City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in a noncombat-related incident while serving in Operation Inherent Resolve. He was temporarily assigned to the Crisis Response Element of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula, Special Operations Command Central, U.S. Central Command.
Army Pfc. Monterrious T. Daniel, 19, Griffin, Georgia, died June 12, 2015 in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in a noncombat-related incident while serving in Operation Inherent Resolve. He was assigned to 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.
Casualties At a Glance: Deaths by Conflict
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4403
Source: Military Times database
Faces of the Dead
An interactive look at each U.S. service member who died in Afghanistan or Iraq
News Release No: NR-631-14
Dec. 28, 2014
At the end of this year, as our Afghan partners assume responsibility for the security of their country, the United States officially concludes Operation Enduring Freedom. Our combat mission in Afghanistan, which began in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, will come to an end.
In 2015, we begin our follow-on mission, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, to help secure and build upon the hard-fought gains of the last 13 years.
I want to express my deep gratitude to all U.S. personnel, both military and civilian, who have served in Afghanistan since 2001, many on multiple deployments. I also thank the thousands more who were a part of the mission at home and around the world. In fighting America’s longest war, our people and their families have borne a heavy burden, and some paid the ultimate price.
From my first trip to Afghanistan in 2002 to my visit earlier this month, I have seen firsthand the hard and heroic work done by American military and civilian personnel. That work and their sacrifices have made our world safer and given Afghanistan the opportunity to chart a secure, democratic, and prosperous future. I also want to thank and acknowledge our International Security Assistance Force partners for their indispensable work and sacrifice in helping strengthen Afghanistan.
In Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the United States will pursue two missions with the support of the Afghan government and the Afghan people. We will work with our allies and partners as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission to continue training, advising, and assisting Afghan security forces. And we will continue our counterterrorism mission against the remnants of Al-Qaeda to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against our homeland.
The United States remains strongly committed to a sovereign, secure, stable, and unified Afghanistan. As we responsibly draw down our military presence, we will continue to partner together with Afghan forces to combat terrorism and create a better future for the Afghan people. And through enduring security cooperation, we will continue assisting the Afghan government to build its capacity and self-sufficiency, as we transition to the next phase of the U.S.-Afghanistan defense relationship. We will continue to work with our Afghan partners to secure the great progress we have made since 2001 and to seize this defining moment of opportunity for Afghanistan’s future.
Today’s issue of the St. Cloud Times features an Associated Press retrospective of 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) four terms in Congress. Following are excerpts from the article, annotated with added content.
“After a turbulent career dotted by fights with the left and her own party, and a fast-rising and fast-fading presidential campaign, Bachmann said she is ready to leave, her work in Congress complete.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Campaign for President (Jan. 10, 2012)
Michele Bachmann dances on stage with her husband, Marcus, after speaking at a Tea Party Rally on July 2, 2011 outside the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. (Photo credit: Justin Hayworth / AP via Washington Post photo gallery)
“Bachmann … provided a consistently conservative voice on television on issues ranging from health care to immigration ….”
ObamaCare: Michele Bachmann’s SCOTUS Bust (June 28, 2012)
Michele Bachmann outside the courtroom awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, June 28, 2012. (Photo: Twitter)
“Speaking on MSNBC in 2008, she said that Obama ‘may have anti-American views.’”
Bachmann ‘Anti-American’ Statement Prompts Write-In Campaign (Oct. 18, 2008)
“No one challenged her in the  primary …”
[... But Bachmann faced primary challengers in 2008 and 2012.]
Bachmann Scores Worst Incumbent Primary Win in 50 Years (Aug. 14, 2012)
FULL TEXT OF ARTICLE
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann hugs a supporter during a recent tribute event for her at Monticello High School. (Photo: Dave Schwarz / St. Cloud Times)
St. Cloud Times via the Associated Press
December 8, 2014
WASHINGTON — An audacious conservative, Minnesota’s 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann stood out from the moment she was first elected to Congress in 2006. Democrats were ascendant and Bachmann was a stridently Republican new arrival with a homespun twang.
Four terms later, Bachmann is leaving just as Republicans take control of Congress for the first time since she was elected. After a turbulent career dotted by fights with the left and her own party, and a fast-rising and fast-fading presidential campaign, Bachmann said she is ready to leave, her work in Congress complete.
“I didn’t get sucked into the system of Washington,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I didn’t become a politician. I was a constitutional conservative.”
That role Bachmann carved for herself often placed her in the spotlight during her eight years in office. She provided a consistently conservative voice on television on issues ranging from health care to immigration, and even delivered a “tea party response” to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2011 that overlapped with her party’s official rebuttal.
Speaking on MSNBC in 2008, she said that Obama “may have anti-American views.” The comment led to a flood of donations to her opponent and a narrow, three-point victory in one of Minnesota’s most conservative congressional districts. In recent years, she has said Obama’s policies put America on a path to “Marxism.”
Bachmann has rarely walked anything back. “I don’t have a lot of regrets from my time here,” she said.
Democrats alternated between derision and anger at her outlandish comments, which even some former members of her staff say stretched the truth or were outright false. “Who cares?” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi once responded, when asked about Bachmann’s response to a Supreme Court ruling that allowed gay marriages to go forward in many states.
Bachmann began her career as a tax attorney. She lost her first election, a bid for a school board seat, in 1999, but the next year her devout following of cultural conservatives first lifted her to victory in a competitive state Senate primary and again, when the 6th Congressional District seat opened, put her ahead of three other candidates at a nominating convention in 2006. No one challenged her in the primary that year. She successfully campaigned on conservative values and talked proudly of raising five children and 23 foster children.
“I think her major innovation was in politics,” said Larry Jacobs, a professor at the University of Minnesota. “I don’t think she leaves behind a traditional legacy in terms of monuments and buildings — I think she showed again and again her ability to mobilize new forces in politics.”
Jacobs said Bachmann talked about issues that ardent conservatives wanted addressed.
Listing her own career highlights, Bachmann offers a mix of local projects and conservative flashpoints. Among her proudest moments, she said, were opposing her own party during the 2008 financial bailout and leading the House opposition to Obama’s health care overhaul. One of her most vivid memories, she said, is thousands of opponents of the health care law coming to Washington and marching near the Capitol waving signs and flags.
But she’s equally quick to draw attention to her district in the Twin Cities suburbs. Bachmann said would have run again if Congress had not approved a $700 million bridge over the St. Croix River linking Stillwater with Houlton, Wisconsin. She is also proud of her work on adoption and foster care issues. One of her last official trips as a member of Congress, over the Thanksgiving holiday, was to an orphanage in Haiti.
As she wrapped up her congressional business this past week, Bachmann said she is determined to play a role in the next presidential election. The possibility of Democrats nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton will make the voices of Republican women more important than ever, she said.
“I occupy a very unique space,” she said. “I am the only woman who has been in presidential debates on the Republican ticket.”
Her own presidential bid began in June 2011 and peaked with a win in a key Iowa straw poll, but she never found traction with voters as real ballots were cast. While she has “no intention right now of running for president,” she also won’t rule it out.
“I think it will develop as we go what my level of involvement will be,” she said.