Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States of America on the 20th January of the year 2009 (Rollason, 2010). It was undoubtedly a monumental moment as he was the first African American president in the history of America. President Obama, in many ways, has been relatively compared so frequently to prestigiously remembered figure; Martin Luther King Jr (Abramsky, 2009). Critics and supporters alike have labeled Obama as being the once-in-a-lifetime charismatic leader (Abramsky, 2009). While some extremist critics was convinced that he could be a Manchurian candidate in a covert mission to sabotage the American way of life (Abramsky, 2009), most are unable to deny that he exudes the characteristic of leader, profoundly shifting the American psyche and minds alike and shining a beacon of hope to a society that much needed to believe in the American’s dream. Obama displayed the intellects of his genetics’ makeup; his mother and father whom both studied in Hawaii University. He possesses the profiles of his father; ambitiousness, articulateness and also the self confidence in the way he project himself to the world. Wayne (2010) elaborated on the social consciousness which is evidently inherited from his mother, Ann Dunham, as Obama has occasionally demonstrate that he is a listener, consistently seeking common grounds, showed his willingness to compromise, his marked adaptability and flexibility to changes which contribute significantly thereby earning him a place to where he is right now; a stark difference to his father, Barrack Obama Sr., who was always quoted to be a bossy and possessing an unrelenting personality. In all of the political settings, Obama is quick to master the rules of the game (Abramsky, 2009). He understood the importance of the creation of close-knit group within the high echelons. His comprising manner and cool temperament image often exceeded him; he is cautious to rein in his anger when opponents pressed him, capable of masking his emotions thereby gaining a chance to regroup himself and very much aware and in control of his body language (Wayne, 2010: Abramsky, 2009: Winter, 2011). His most distinct trait was his unmistaken calmness which quickly garnered him the “No Drama Obama” tittle (Winter, 2011). Winter (2011) later suggested that Obama could be high on the emotional stability. Greenstein (2009) and Renshon (2008) mentioned Obama’s openness to the view of others; getting counsel from former opponents and allies before reaching to a decision, affirming the evidence that he is high to openness to experience (McCrae & Costa, 2008; Wiggins, 1996). Openness to experience is one of the five major clusters of traits or the “big five” model which also consist of agreeableness, conscientiousness and emotional stability (Winter, 2011). Obama is also prudent in planning and when he set a course, he methodically and systematically follows through it (Abramsky, 2009).His elaborate and time consuming process in decision-making point that Obama is rather high on conscientiousness (Wayne, 2010: Winter, 2011). The tricky part will be distinguishing the agreeableness and extraversion. Though one might agree, having his life exposed in the world certainly merit him to a certain degree of extraversion but on a contrary, Obama still exudes a certain level of enigma and mystery. Some observers cited him as being “cold” (Dowling & Warner, 2010). Interestingly, Wayne (2010) describes that as part of Obama’s “mystic” (p. 11). Overall, Abramsky (2009) stated that Obama’s presidency is no ordinary presidency. Due to the nature of his virtue, personality and historical legacy created by his campaign and his election, it has monolithically change the paradigms of how America view itself and the expectations of the future in its view of restructuring America in events of an economy collapse. Abramsky (2009) further stressed that overwhelmingly, voters trusted Obama. Wayne (2010) however has a rather encompassing perspective. Wayne (2010) questioned readers whether Obama is a philosopher king; due to the fact that he is politically liberal, possess a distinctive cognitive style and eloquence in delivering speech; or is he simply a polarizing politician judging by the fact that he garners support specifically due to his complexity of his race and the prejudice that surround it. As Max Weber (2009) concluded in his book, “It takes both passion (polarizing politician) and perspective (philosopher-king)” (p. 128) to be able to ride the waves of a political settings.
Abramsky, S. (2009): Inside Obama’s Brain, Penguin Group, United States of America: Penguin Books Ltd. Dowling, S., & Warner, M. B. (2010, November 4). Obama comes across as cold, arrogant, and elitist. Spiegel Online. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-world-from-berlin-obama-comes-across-as-cold-arrogant-and-elitist-a-727235-druck.html [3 March 2013]
Greenstein, F. I. (2009). The presidential difference: Leadership style from FDR to Barack Obama (3rd Ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Renshon, S. A. (2008). Psychological reflections on Barack Obama and John McCain: Assessing the contours of a new presidential administration. Political Science Quarterly, 123(3), 391–433.
Rollason, J. (2010): Barack Obama, Scholastic Ltd, London: Euston House. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. 2008. The five-factor theory of personality. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality theory and research (3rd Ed., pp. 114–158). New York: Guilford.
Wayne, S. J. 2010. The Impact of Personality on Performance: Barack Obama in Presidency. The American University, http://www.american.edu/spa/ccps/upload/AUS-Wayne-paper.pdf [3 Mar 2013]. Weber, M. (2009): Essays in sociology (pp. 77–128). New York: 2009.
Wiggins, J. S. (Ed.). (1996). The five-factor model of personality: Theoretical perspectives. New York: Guilford.
Winter, D. G. (2011): ‘Philosopher-King or Polarizing Politician? : A Personality Profile of Barack Obama’, Political Psychology, 32: 1059-81.