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James Barber Presents An Intriguing Method Into Uncovering

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James Barber presents an intriguing method into uncovering and analyzing the presidency. As Barber explains, “To understand what actual presidents do and what potential presidents might do, the first need is to see the man whole—not as some abstract embodiment of civic virtue, some scorecard of issue stands, or some reflection of a faction, but as a human being like the rest of us, a person trying to cope with a difficult environment.” The President’s personality amplifies in world affairs. Ultimately, James Barber’s breakdown of the presidential character is semi-credible/reliable, offering a unique perspective into Barack Obama’s presidential character that can be described as generally active-positive and passive-positive,…show more content…
The contradiction is between low self-esteem (on grounds of being unlovable, unattractive) and a superficial optimism. A hopeful attitude helps dispel doubt and elicits encouragement from others. Passive-positive types help soften the harsh edges of politics. But their dependence and the fragility of their hopes and enjoyments make disappointment in politics likely.” It is difficult to understand how this description can apply to Ronald Reagan wholly for two reasons. First, how is one able to deem another’s optimism as superficial? Reagan never stopped with his optimistic character, even at the darkest moments during his presidency. Reagan faced great opposition from political leaders because of his ambition. Thus, it is somewhat correct that his hopes brought disappointment. Yet, it was not because they weren’t fulfilled, it was that they were perceived as fragile before they occurred. Secondly, Reagan could not afford not to be personally assertive. Reagan was faced a looming Communist threat. Reagan was surely not passive, running the containment route to face this threat at all. He increased American defense spending to 7 percent of the GDP causing the Soviet Union to have to freeze the production of civilian goods, and helped bring about a drastic oil price drop that denied the Soviet Union large inflows of hard currency. Thus, the Reagan example illustrates that applying Barber’s criteria is based on perception. One
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