Models of Presidency Essay

A model is a method for engaging theory-driven research in an attempt to explain how some specific characteristic of life works. Therefore, models of the Presidency attempt to explain the internal politics of the executive branch by explaining how the behavioral dynamics of actors within the White House shape presidential performance. James David Barber had four different classifications of character, which are active-positive, passive-positive, active- negative, and passive-negative. Barber’s classifications are considered the models of the Presidency.

A good model is one that helps current students of the Presidency to understand past presidential behavior and to predict the future presidential behavior precisely. A good model will also help an incoming President to determine the best method possible for reaching successful terms in office. James Barber wrote a famous book called, “Presidential Character: Predicting performance in the White House. ” In his book, he classified Presidents through the use of their differing worldviews. Barber sorted several Presidents into active-positive and passive-positive.

He says that an active-positive President is flexible, self-confident, laid-back, and adaptive. He also says that they enjoy having power, use the power to their benefit, make opportunities happen, and emphasize the “rational mastery’ of the environment. Barber says that a passive-positive classification means that the President is an attention-seeker. Passive-positive Presidents have low self-esteem, they have a sycophantic personality, and they can be easily manipulated. They are reactive instead of proactive and are very optimistic.

Next, Barber sorts Presidents into active-negative and passive-negative. He says that an active-negative President is incontinent, compulsive, and pessimistic, but can be very driven also. They tend to use power as a source of self-realization and often tend to focus more on whether they are failing or succeeding rather than what needs to be done. The last category that Barber created is the passive-negative. Passive-negative Presidents are classified as being withdrawn because they tend to avoid power. They have low self- esteem and compensate by serving other people.

They respond instead of initiating. In Barber’s analysis of Richard Nixon, he declares that his main purpose in engaging in the study of presidential personality is prediction. According to Barber, anyone who looked at the public record of Onion’s political behavior prior to his election as President should have been able to see that Nixon was a active-negative personality type and that is not the best personality type for a President. He notes that Nixon on a lot of occasions demonstrated his very negative few of the press.

Barber points out that Nixon would take away a lesson he learned from a crisis, and then go on to confront the next crisis with the same negative manner. Barber believes that Onion’s behaviors that led to the Watergate debacle were easily predictable. In the end, Barber’s famous book has helped classify out models of Presidency. Without his determination his book wouldn’t have became a success. He mad generalized classifications of Presidents character and determined their success. His ideas on presidency are very beneficial and are still used today.