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Obnoxious Personality Traits of the Presidents

Updated on July 30, 2012

An Interesting Thought

Ask someone what makes a person a great leader? They'll rattle off all sorts of charming character qualities like compassion, courage, good listening skills, and the ability to be selfless. It would stand to reason then that in order to take on the role of president, you would have to sharpen these traits in yourself? Well hold that thought. Put away those books on self-discipline and integrity. The annoying quirks that drive your friends crazy may just be a sign that you have a presidential personality.


1. You talk too much

Somewhere in the job description of President of the United States is the expectation that you will talk constantly. Maybe this was not always the way, but today’s presidents must love the sound of their own voice. Americans spend more time reacting to speeches and press releases than policy changes. Oh wait a minute; that is because presidents just talk about what they are going to do. They rarely actually do it. Talking about what you are going to accomplish has become more important than actually accomplishing it.

In the age of the Internet, presidents better like to hear themselves talk. Bill Clinton gave over six hundred speeches during his term, and a poor woman named Doris received a 3000 word answer from Obama regarding a question about healthcare and taxes. It’s very simple really- talking a lot ensures that statistically you’ll eventually say something remarkable.

What's so good about it?

Typically people who enjoy wasting oxygen are extraverts. Extraverts are people who get their strength and energy from being with others. They can be charismatic, friendly, outgoing, and love to talk out loud about their problems. The ability to push your ideas on another person and convince people you are right works well with the pressure of campaigning across America.

Passionate people talk a lot as well, even when no one is listening. They don’t shrink back from obstacles, they simply talk right through them. Think back to the last time you got stuck with the tract-sharing missionaries that showed up at your door. These people are on a mission, and convincing you is the goal. They’ll talk until there is nothing left to say, and then keep going. Even if you didn’t throw all your booze out the window and adopt a couple of wives, there is a reason they are doing it- because it works.

If you are home and single, berating yourself for losing that chic due to an ill timed monologue about the low quality of porn offered on cable, console yourself with this fact: perhaps she wasn’t ready to date someone who is obviously on the fast track to a political career.


2. You are stubborn

It’s ironic that candidates on the campaign trail work their asses off to look open-minded and flexible, when really the only way you are getting into office is if you are stubborn as a mule. The dictionary defines stubborn as unreasonably or perversely unyielding. This mulishness defines some of past presidents, and begs the question- are you more likely to succeed when you act like an ass- literally?

We don’t have to travel too far back in time. George W. Bush ignored all his top generals when he made the decision to initiate a surge in Iraq. Keep in mind; we said stubbornness would help you become president, not that it would make you a good one. This character trait displayed itself again and again as he continually refused to budge as it became clear the war in Iraq was miserably failing.

Stubborn people don’t give up. Poor Mr. Abe Lincoln was defeated at least ten times in various elections and business ventures before landing the Presidential title. It’s like one of those old weeble wobble toys- you just can’t keep ‘em down. His stubborn refusal to see himself as an utter failure enabled him to keep going- and eventually got him into the White House.

What's so good about it?

It’s very simple really. Stubborn people refuse to listen to anyone else. It’s a blind spot, and quite a skill at the same time. Anyone who attempts to get elected president will have to keep on going, no matter how many times they are told they’re idiots. Only the mules can handle this sort of attack, and voila! Only the mules can reach the title of “leader of the free world”.

During a campaign, there is always someone available waiting in the wing to snatch that golden ticket right from your hand. Stubborn people will hold onto it like a dog that’s just found a chicken leg. Try to rip that sucker from its mouth and you’ll lose a hand. So the next time your friends say your obnoxious and inflexible, just nod with a condescending smirk- it’s just another chance to flex your ass muscles.


3. You are prone to depression

Why are great leaders at risk for this plaguing mental illness? Aside from the fact that they are responsible for the lives of millions (and usually do something to screw them up), people with a melancholy temperament have minds that race a million miles an hour.

Looking at old man Lincoln again, we know that he suffered greatly from depression. Did you know that he wept in public more than once? His colleagues noted that sadness dripped from him as he walked. This guy was not a happy man, though heralded as the one who brought emancipation to the United States.

John Q. Adams is labeled in our history as one of our most scholarly presidents, but turned that intellect into a serious case of self-critical depression. Despite incredible accomplishments like the acquisition of Florida, he tended to ruminate on what he couldn’t do right.

What's so good about it?

Though depression is a bitch to live with, it is a sign that the individual is not prone to denial. People who are depressed can see beyond the plastic happiness of what appears to be okay, and see the problems underneath. Intelligence can make depression worse, as a smart brain is more likely to see what isn’t going well, rather than skipping in the meadows blissfully ignorant of real life. No Julie Andrews twirling going on here. One thing is for sure- if you weren’t prone to depression before taking the oath, you will be once you leave.


Other Dastardly Habits

You are an addict
Whether it’s booze, drugs, food, or gambling, it doesn’t really matter. You might be broke and in jail, but who cares if you’re one resume point from greatness? Dopamine junkies are more likely to be president. In this instance, it would probably be easier to list the presidents who weren’t addicts.

Who loved a scandal more than Nixon? This guy was a piece of work. Aside from his infamous demise, this man loved poker and alcohol. In fact, he financed his campaign with his winnings. Kennedy was a heavy prescription drug user; Grant had Yesesthe uncanny ability to be intoxicated in front of the wrong people.

All these people were addicts prior to being the president. After all, what leader wouldn't turn to compulsive pleasure seeking activities after assuming the most stressful office there is? But if you are a dopamine junkie, it could work in your favor. People with addictive personalities tend to go big or go home. They aren't afraid of risk.

You are sexually promiscuous

Well this is simple really. Men who think they belong in every woman's pants clearly don't see obstacles as a problem to shrink back from, but a hurdle to jump. Why think the rules apply to you when you can get the job of the person who makes them? Sexual promiscuity is a nasty habit that may prove you have the "ego" to get to the White House, but it may also be your demise. Many a great men lost everything because they couldn't keep it in their pants.

You have a temper

Despite the fact that uncontrolled rage is one of the main motivations behind committing a crime, apparently it is also a presidential quirk. Harding, Quincy, Jackson, and Johnson all were known for outbursts of anger towards their families, cabinets, and aids. Jackson fired almost his entire cabinet because of an insult to a friend's wife! A temper may be ugly and difficult to live with, but when staring down an evil foreign dictator- it could come in handy.

It's no excuse

Now don't go bragging to your friends that your temper should go left unchecked because it's your ticket to the White House. It's true that every weakness also has a strength, but many of the presidents who couldn't keep their quirks under control- became infamous because of them. Think about President Clinton. While a great president, he will forever be known as the slimy guy who had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Every great accomplishment gets filtered through the lens of his poor sexual judgment.

But don't lose hope just yet if you are struggling with some bad habits. You may be destined for greatness!

-Julie DeNeen


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    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      I enjoyed this very much. Voted up useful and funny, as well as shared. Well done!...

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @Tom- see that article is meant for the politically ignorant. Actual scholars will probably be able to pick it apart! lol

    • Tom Koecke profile image

      Tom Koecke 

      6 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

      I am trying to think of exceptions to these. The one that comes to mind is Calvin Coolidge and talking too much. However, the greatest social comedian of his day, Will Rogers, commented "Calvin Coolidge doesn't say much, but, when he speaks, he doesn't say much."

      Very well written and insightful!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love your writing here. It flows so well and is very interesting. I hate to admit but I'm about to my end on politics. I can't stand hearing anything about it anymore. I know this is unhealthy so I decided to read your hub. I'm glad I did. It was interesting and thought provoking. Thanks for sharing this! Kelley

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Very well done! Great writing!

      I do think people in politics share certain traits:) narcissism would be one:) lol

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 

      6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Well done Julie, this is funny but has so much truth in it.

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 

      6 years ago from Hampton, GA

      This was an awesome, unbiased article about presidential traits. Very unique perspective and it was an awesome read. Great job Julie!! Always a pleasure,


    • howlermunkey profile image

      Jeff Boettner 

      6 years ago from Tampa, FL

      So Funny, So true. :)

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 

      6 years ago from Space Coast

      I hope you don't mind. I clicked funny, because it was to me on a certain level. At least, it was very interesting and fun to read. A complete study of all the presidents in this form would make a nice coffee table book.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Nice article. It shows that even the best and smartest of people, the highest achievers, have faults. I don't know why we expect them to be perfect, but somehow we do. We have to take the bad with the good.

    • unknown spy profile image

      Not Found 

      6 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Yeah, I agree with Shining. You really have a bunch of unique and interesting hubs.

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @sandonia- Thanks so much!

    • sandonia profile image


      6 years ago

      I have to second the creativity of this approach. It was a fascinating and entertaining read.

    • Julie DeNeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      @shiningirisheyes- thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read it. Abe Lincoln's depression surprised me too!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Julie - This was a great insight into the more unpopular sides of some of the greatest individuals who run/ran our county (and some who didn't). I only recently learned about Lincolns depression and found it as fascinating as this hub.

      Wonderful creative original take on this subject.

      voting awesome, useful, funny, interesting.


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