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Interesting Books on Presidents

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I thought I'd share one interesting book on presidents that I've read recently. Perhaps others will share books as well. 

I just finished reading The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush by Fred I. Greenstein. The author is rather objective, making it difficult to gather if he has a bias towards Republican or Democratic presidents. I assumed, he might be center-right, but I can't verify his political views. 

He considers six factors for each president:

  • Public Communication (He considers FDR to be the "Mozart or Beethoven" of this skill. GW Bush is considered the worst of the lot. Carter did well here, as long as his approval rating was favorable.)
  • Organizational Capacity (Eisenhower was the most superbly organized of the bunch; JFK and Clinton were shockingly disorganized and informal in how they ran their White House. Carter micromanaged everything and was distant from most of his staff. Nixon's staff had to conform to Nixon's behavior as he was prone to firing off orders, and then regretting them. So his staff, delayed orders long enough to give Nixon time to change the order. GW Bush's staff would have to bring up disagreements with Bush's closest advisers as Bush seemed to get annoyed at people disagreeing with him. )
  • Political Skill (LBJ probably had the most natural skill here. George W. Bush does well here. Clinton does well here. In fact, they all do well here, except for Carter.)
  • Vision (Carter was an idealist and not a realist, which hampered his vision. The first Bush lacked vision as he focused on short term goals, ignoring long term possibilities. Clinton was the best president at grasping policy specifics, but he had difficulties translating them into actions.)
  • Cognitive Style (Nearly every president had a first class, or near first class, memory, and could accurately, concisely paraphrase policy after one reading. LBJ's was short term, since he would delete the information from his brain when it already served his purpose. Nixon was always thinking allowed or silently. Carter was unable to prioritize things according to importance, he tried to handle everything as it came to him. Reagan had weak logical abilities, but he had superior interpersonal skills. Clinton was like a sponge at taking in information, but he rarely took the time to learn information with great depth. GW Bush is actually intelligent, but he lacks intellectual curiosity, which is important. GW Bush was often uninformed.)
  • Emotional Intelligence (Eisenhower was unemotional and analytical. LBJ had near-clinical mood swings--he had to be talked out of dropping out in 1964 by his wife, despite looking at a landslide victory. Nixon is compared with LBJ, but as a near-clinical paranoid type. Carter could not handle disagreement. FDR and Reagan are mentioned as having the best temperament for president. JFK and Clinton are presented as weak in emotional intelligence, but he argues that JFK's was masked as the media allowed for privacy. 

Fascinating fact: Greenstein makes it appear that about every president in this period had little interest in domestic affairs, took major interest in foreign affairs, and had very little understanding or interest in economics. In fact, Ford is the only president that seemed genuinely interested in economics. 

If I had to rank myself in these categories as a hypothetical president. I think I'd be hit or miss on public communication. My speaking voice is monotone, and I am not expressive when I speak. I'd be less informal than JFK or Clinton, but not as organized as most of these presidents. My political skill would probably be good in one on one situations, but I'd be so reluctant to politick that I might not take advantage of some situations that I might have, unless I really don't like someone (like Ted Cruz, for instance). I think I'd do well in Vision. For Cognitive Style, I'd come off as extremely intelligent, but not all too concise. I'd show limited grasp on economics. While I'd have knowledge of foreign policy, I would be so interested on domestic issues, that I'd come off as uninterested in foreign policy. I'd do well in emotional intelligence, as I don't have any of the mental issues or personal flaws of any of these people. I am also rarely prone to anger. 

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23 minutes ago, Presidentinsertname said:

carter was one of thought guys that are good at the local level but not the federal level maybe he would be good at senator but that all.

Well, it's better than Trump, who was only ever really good on a reality TV show...

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