‘Four types of presidents: Which is PNoy?


“The presidency is no place for amateurs.”
Richard Neustadt, Presidential Power

Behind all the shouts and chants in protest rallies and demos, behind all the letters sent to the Times and other newspapers, and behind all the calls made to TV and radio programs—all of which uniformly demand that President Aquino resign/vacate/disappear from Malacañang, there is fundamentally a yearning of many Filipinos to understand the fateful connection between personality and performance in the Philippine presidency.

Anger and anxieties mount by the day, as Malacañang has doggedly proclaimed a policy of “moving on” beyond the Mamasapano tragedy, in spite of so many killed. Senate President Franklin Drilon has volunteered to serve as bullhorn for “move on” in repayment for all the pork and DAP showered on him.

Ever since the details of Father Jaime Bulatao’s psychological evaluation report on the young Noynoy Aquino were disclosed and went viral, rumors have flown far and wide that PNoy is a misfit as chief of state and commander in chief, and that he panics and freezes in the face of crisis.

Character and the presidency
Effective management of the executive branch is a key feature of a successful presidency. In the US, historians and political scientists have striven for years to come up with criteria for evaluating and assessing presidents.

Some scholars have directed their attention to presidential character and personality as a factor for success or failure in office. They have developed classification schemes of presidential personalities.

The most famous of these schemes was developed by James David Barber. He published his theories and findings in a book, The Presidential character (Prentice Hall, 1992).

In his book, Barber identified broad character patterns that will predict general patterns of conduct in office.

Central to his analysis are three personal characteristics – character, world view and style. Together these elements determine the likelihood of presidential success.

He classifies presidents on two dimensions:
1.First, their energy level (wherein they are either passive or active); presidents may be active or passive in terms of the effort they invest in their jobs.

2.Second, their orientation toward life (wherein they are either positive or negative in their outlook in life).

The four types
Barber’s study yielded four types of president in his typology of character and the presidency:

1. Active-positive – Active-positive presidents exhibit personal growth and adaptability; they enjoy their work and find it a challenge to use power productively as a means to pursue goals beneficial to others. Their success rests on a fundamental sense of self-confidence expressed in goal-oriented behavior.

Yet they are willing to change or abandon them rather than suffer a costly political defeat.

The most successful US presidents are active positive types, according to Barber. They include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy. George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.

2. Active-negative – Active-negative presidents also invest a great deal of energy in being president, but unlike their active-positive counterparts, they do not appear to derive enjoyment from serving in office. Rather than exercising political power for the benefit of the citizenry, active-negative presidents seem to seek power for its own sake, exhibiting compulsiveness as if they are driven to pursue a political career instead of doing it for pleasure. This behavior arises from a poor self-image and lack of self-confidence.

Among the examples are Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

3. Passive- positive – Passive-positive presidents are not in politics to seek power either for the betterment of the people or to compensate for their own sense of inadequacy. They choose politics because they genuinely enjoy people and want to help them by doing small favors, in order to feel wanted and loved. Passive-positive presidents have low self-esteem, combined with a superficial optimism about life; they tend to let others set goals for them and find it difficult to make decisions.

The danger they pose is one of drift, leaving the affairs of state undirected.

Among US presidents, Barber identifies Taft, Harding and Ronald Reagan as passive-positive presidents.

4.Passive-negative – passive-negative presidents combine two characteristics that one would not expect to find in the person who attains the nation’s highest office. These are: an unwillingness to invest much energy in the office, and a lack of pleasure in serving.

Such people pursue public service because they believe it is something they ought to do. They have a fundamental sense of uselessness and compensate for it by dutifully agreeing to work on behalf of their fellow citizens.

Barber classifies Calvin Coolidge and Dwight David Eisenhower as passive-negative presidents.

In addition to the above factors, Barber also examined two other personal factors that influence presidential behavior, but play a smaller role in his analysis than character. These are: world view, which means a president’s politically relevant beliefs. The second is personal style – “the habitual way of performing three political roles: rhetoric, personal relation and homework.”

Aquino: a passive-negative president
Barber appears to posit the active-positive type as the ideal personality for the tasks and challenges of the presidency.

Some critics said that he appeared to favor the heroic model of presidential leadership, which assigns personal responsibility for solving national problems.

But then active-positives are also the type who would have a tendency to be dictatorial.

Looking at President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd, he appears to be tailor-made as a passive-negative president.

He was shoe-horned into running for president without really planning to. He did it more out of obligation to his parents’ memory, and a desire to exact revenge, than out of a genuine desire to lead the nation and serve the people.

He is passive in the sense that he has not invested much effort and energy in being president. He gave his name to the word “noynoying,” which literally means lazing away. At critical times during his presidency, when the president was most called upon to lead, he has disappeared from view for long stretches.

He takes a long time in making major decisions.

The tempest now raging over his presidency is the result of his inability to provide leadership in a time of great national challenge. As in the Yolanda disaster in East Visayas, so in Mamasapano, he has been disengaged and wanting of empathy for victims and their families.

Richard Neustadt, the greatest theorist of the modern presidency, memorably declared: “the presidency is no place for amateurs.”

Aquino, we must all acknowledge, is an amateur. He simply does not possess the personal qualities and skills to serve the presidency with distinction.

He does not have it in him to be a serious leader of 100 million people.



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  1. eltee mulawin on

    >>> Filipino People of the Philippines…. Ngungoy BSCuha ngco-Aquino3rd had a legacy that every filipino voters who elected him will not forget and they will teach and remind their children’s childrens’children which is:
    The only president in the Philippines who made ON THE FIRST EXECUTVE ORDER IS…BAWAL ANG WANGWANG!!! Pero pwede sa kaniya ang mga BUWANG AT ANG NAGIGING BUWANG!!!!

  2. Take a leaf from the son of Jesus is Lord Villanueva, Joel Villanueva when in Congress had nothing good to say except call PGMA PEKING Presidente. You don’t hear him call Abnoy the hocus pocus president Peki. Why? Because he is well entrenched on a good perk, not to mention the benefits he got from DAP. Birds of the same feather flock together. Father and son go well with the ABNOY liar. Remember? This words God told me to run for President he said he would win because God said so. What happened???
    LIARS LIARS Father and son. Nakakahiya di ba?

  3. Benigno does not fit into any presidential category . He does not have the character necessary for the job. He has no social skills, he is bereft of patriotism and sense of purpose, he has no sense of urgency, no sense of priority, his character is blah and totally colorless. He is unable to erase that dreaded smirk on his face, which shows up no matter whether he is attending a funeral, inspecting a disaster, being seen in some lavish wedding, or perhaps even while using the loo. He does not call attention to himself, because there is no strength in his character nor anything there that can make one look twice. He seems to be made of cellophane but with a black color painted over it, keeping anything from shining through and anyone from looking in, even if there is really nothing to find.
    He did not win the elections, he manipulated the results depriving this country of what could have been 6 productive years. Knowing fully well that he did not really win, he turned against country and people, putting in place a terrible curse and a vengeance for having been unloved and ignored. So in fact, he is just one unhappy boy, who has not reached maturity, surrounding himself with affection he buys with the people’s money.
    So from this grandmother to you Benigno, “GROW UP! Enough already. Wala kang idinilot kung hindi kahihiyan, kahirapan at sama ng loob. Alis diyan, you have overstayed and our patience has dried up. Leave voluntarily, or get thrown out bodily, while you still have a choice.

    • Thank you for articulating everything that has been brewing in me. Well put. I concur with my mind and heart.

  4. Oh, ngayon nyo na re realized na na UNGGOY kayo nang isang impostor na presidentiable wannabe, na totally lacking and devoid of presidential character and resolve. Na UNGGOY kayo ng isang Vengador, Sisi doon, sisi ditto attitude na nagpapapanggap na president kunoh – na nauto ang buong Masa’ng Bayan na ma elect sa magic nang mga pa iyak iyak at hinagpis nang namatayan na Ina daw nang Bayan na si Ninay aka Cory,na kabiyak ni Ninoy.
    NAGPA UTO KAYO, kaya NGAWA NA LANG KAYO…..tiis tiis na lang kayo until June 30,2016 – pagbaba ng bugok na Itlog nang Penoy sa pinaglilimliman na pugad jan sa Malakanyang at Bahay Pangarap…Susunod ninyong ihalal si Kris Aquino.

  5. Like many Filipinos and recently Cardinal Tagle, I don’t prescribe to PNoy’s resignation like what some sectors wanted him to do. Don’t change jockey at the middle of the race. There is more harm than good. He has less than two years to complete his term. Let the process of election prevail. Besides there is really no clear program by the group presumably led by old politicians as alternate to the current administration. The economy is doing better and that’s what most people wanted. For me a President should be able to lead the country to prosperity, strength and wisdom. he should have good moral character, has good decision making and able to walk the talk>

    • emmanuel mallari on

      we are no longer in the middle race but the homestretch. so, we are better off if the jockey will fall off the horse rather than continue with the race.

    • agree . . . 1 to four types of president personality are opinion of a wiseman. but the true measure for a man or a president is his legacy . . .

  6. Idagdag mo pa na ang lahi ni ABNOY ay mga traydor ng bayan(lolo ay kasabwat ng mga hapon during WW11 at ang panloloko sa bayan sa pagkakabili ng Hacieda Luisita na mga cojuangco.Natapalan lang ng bilyong pork ni ABNOY ang mga yellow solons kaya pinagtaktakpan ang kagaguhan,katamaran,kapalpakan at kawalan alam sa pamamahala ni ABNOY.

  7. BS Cojuangco Aquino III, has overdone himself and had created yet a new category among presidents, he is by description a character of ‘Dormant-Deficit’ personality.

    In his years in service in government, he has done nothing to make a ‘name’ for himself, in terms of crafting a law that benefits the Filipinos, all he has done throughout these years were to sit out his term and take in his salaries, while he basked in the glories that opportunist shower on him.

    Although, Americans may have their misgivings on his counterparts, they have at least upheld their constitution and moved forward their national interest. While, BS Cojuangco Aquino III, all had done were to destroy our constitution and sell out our national interest to the enemy of the state – he is by far an epitome of a traitor and a coward.

  8. Noynoy is the most faultless Philippine president. Notice that for him, past presidents and somebody else are to blame for problems we are facing like Mamasapano incident, Luneta hostage incident, MRT breakdowns, etc.

  9. I agree with mr. vg and Mr. Mata, PNoy has created a new category – all for himself. He is the NOTA (None Of The Above) type because the 4th category: the passive-negative type includes Pres. Coolidge and Pres. Eisenhower who have accomplishments in their own rights before becoming president whereas PNoy is completely or totally a NON-achiever. Worst of all besides INCOMPETENCE is his serious character FLAW!

  10. Sadly, majority of our people don’t have this skill of discernment. They are easily taken by the band wagon which the ‘trapos’ (which we have in abundance) take advantage for their own gain. Kawawang Pilipinas!

  11. Aquino is a person who is lacking honest intelligence and only interested in himself. He has set up a new category of presidents. The worst of all time.

  12. Pnoy does not belong to any of the four (4) categories. He belongs to the hocus pcos and the necro politics category.

  13. Charles G. Belgica on

    He has the spoiled brat mentality of a rich kid. Definitely not presidential.

  14. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Amateurs may do provided he is surrounded by good advisers. To me, the presidency is no place for fools and the fool hardy. Did you hear the president comment on one who is being fooled? God bless the Philippines.

  15. Eddie de Leon on

    You are absolutely correct: PNoy does not have it in him to be a serious leader of 100 million Filipinos. But he can be the leader of the Yellow Army whose followers don’t need a serious leader. All he has to have is the surname Aquino..

  16. Previous presidents had their defects and weaknesses, but nobody comes close to Aquino. He’s a category of his own.

    Which type of president is he? Not any of the four types mentioned. Heartless, malevolent, evil are the words that best typify him.

    • I tend to favor and agree on Gerry Mata’s description of the PNoy presidency. Yes, all our Presidents including Ramon Magsaysay whom we adore as the best ever have all their negatives. But Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III lords it over all past presidents beyond all the 4 types of Presidents. PNoy should be placed at a worst type we shall call type no. 5. He is all alone for no past President can match his very bad record.

  17. The Abnoy was never our president. We do not recognize him as our president because he was not elected by the people but by the PCOS machines. So he ought to STEP DOWN PRONTO from Malacanang. Else, he in his psychopathic minds feed us all to the dogs..

  18. jua nationalista on

    I would rather prefer a passive-negative president than a would-be corrupt president like Binay. The whole Philippines knows now that the Binays enrich too much at the expense of the Filipino people. Now that the probe is in the court his alibi would be, “it is political and selective justice”. To Binay, just face the court and prove yourself worthy to be a president.

    • How does binay came into the picture??….. yellow turds really just come out nowhere to adore their amo …you’re hopeless….

    • 1 to four types of president personality are opinion of a wiseman. but the true measure for a man or a president is his legacy . . .

    • jua nationalista ; Pinagkaiba ni binay kay abno.si binay ay swapang,si pinoy ay galante ,pero parehong magnanakaw,,dahil swapang si binay kaya galit sa kanya ang mga buwaya sa congress.Si binay may chance na ma impeached dahil swapang nga. si abnoy ay malabo dahil nasa payroll niyang lahat ang buong nacionalista at liberal. Iboboto ko na iyong posibleng ma impeached kesa sumasakit ang ulo mo ngayon