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Contribution to Book
The President's Brain (No, Not Karl Rove):‎ How Bush’s Psyche Shaped His Decision-Making
Judging Bush (2009)
  • Richard E. Redding
We summarize the most systematic work on George W. Bush's psyche. SAT scores and other available measures indicate that Bush has ‎sufficient intelligence to serve as president. Yet the best studies, in which raters evaluate ‎statements without being aware of their source, suggest that Bush lacks integrative complexity ‎and thus views issues without nuance. The leading personality ‎theory (the “5-Factor Model”), as measured by the NEO Personality Inventory, suggests that ‎Bush is highly extroverted but not very agreeable or conscientious. He also scores low on ‎‎“Openness to Experience." Similarly, using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria, Bush fits the “Outgoing,” “Dominant (Controlling),” and “Dauntless” personality ‎patterns, which together constitute a style given to lack of reflection, superficiality, and ‎impulsivity. When compared to other presidents, Bush most closely resembles Jackson, Reagan, ‎and Harding, but is very unlike his father, George H.W. Bush. ‎ We apply these findings to discussions of President Bush's decision-making in the ‎cases of his most notable success, education reform, and his most notable failure, the Iraq war. ‎We argue that Bush's psychological predispositions were particularly noteworthy in the latter, in ‎part because greater presidential power in foreign policy magnifies the impacts of leader personality.‎
  • Bush,
  • presidential greatness,
  • presidential leadership,
  • Iraq war,
  • No Child Left Behind Act
Publication Date
R. Maranto et al., eds.
Stanford University Press
Citation Information
Richard E. Redding. "The President's Brain (No, Not Karl Rove):‎ How Bush’s Psyche Shaped His Decision-Making" Judging Bush (2009)
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