Reflection on the Election: Hey, Innies in the White House!

Written by Marti on May 22nd, 2009. Posted in Famous Innies

In February 2008, Slate.com ran an article about the Presidential Cast of Characters and their Myers-Briggs Types, written by Emily Yoffe. Ms. Yoffe is not trained in the Myers-Briggs Inventory but she “typed” them anyway. I thought her guesses were mainly off base, especially about innie’s and outie’s. However, I was surprised to find that even Myers-Briggs websites assume that most politicians are extroverted. In the last newsletter, I made my own candidate guesses. It’s interesting to re-read them in hindsight. I have added Mrs. Palin and Vice President, Joe Biden, as they hadn’t been selected when the articles were written.
I agreed with Ms. Yoffe, who guessed Hillary Clinton was an ESTJ (Taking Care of Business). ESTJ’s take no prisoners. They have a bottom line orientation, are action oriented, organized, detailed and logical planners, duty bound, forceful while displaying a practical intelligence. Hillary reflects other ESTJ qualities such as demanding loyalty, attacking when she feels criticized, resisting change and limits, devaluing opposing views, thinking she is right, can’t apologize or say she was wrong and misreads others.
Ms. Yoffe guessed George W. Bush is an ESTP but my guess is that he is the same type as Hillary, an ESTJ. Their attitudes and behaviors are remarkably similar, although she is more verbal and intelligent. Ms. Yoffe sees Bill Clinton as an ESFP but my guess is that he’s an ENTJ (Everything’s Fine—I’m in Charge).

Let’s just say that George Patton was an ENTJ, who was also hard to corral and muffle. Bill and Hill are similar but she is more here and now, literal and practical. Bill imagines the future and sees the bigger picture. It appears that Chelsea Clinton is an innie sandwiched between two high- powered outies. I wonder if she is an INFP (Still Waters Run Deep) because she plays the consigliore role between her parents so well.
Ms. Yoffe thought Barack Obama was an ENFP. It’s amazing because it’s so obvious (to me) that he’s an introvert. I think he’s an INTP (Ingenious Problem Solvers). I imagine he is probably near the middle of the F/T scale. INTP’s are the most intelligent of the 16 Myers-Briggs types. They love challenges and they enjoy dealing with complexity. They value collaboration. They develop strong long-lasting relationships with diverse people. They aren’t thin skinned but they do like to be appreciated. They can find surprising solutions for almost any problem. They are private people who can appear cool and detached. But they care deeply about improving other’s lives. They know their limitations so they include others who have the qualities they lack. INTP’s can be seen as eggheads, may overlook details, ignore limitations and they may delay decisions longer than necessary in order to consider all viewpoints.
McCain was typed as an ESTP, the same type Ms. Yoffe selected for G.W. Bush. My guess is that McCain is an ISTJ (Take Your Time and Do It Right), a common military type. ISTJ’s are rigid right and wrong, black and white thinkers. They work well on their own, resist change and want to maintain the status quo. They form decisions based on the basics of an issue mixed with their own experiences and values. They appear cool and impersonal since they focus on doing things “right” based on their own belief system. They don’t understand people who are different from them. They lack tact and team skills. They can be quite temperamental and become angry when others question them. They dismiss anyone who is emotional or has complex viewpoints.
Showing how confusing innies and outies can be, I think Joe Biden might be an ISFJ (Do My Duty, Get The Job Done). The opposite of Obama, except for the I. ISFJ’s can be misread as extroverts because of their friendliness. However, they really shine one on one, as many constituents say about “Joe”. They enjoy routines, responsibilities and working hard for something they believe in.

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Featured in Parent Map MagazineMarti is featured in a recent ParentMap magazine article, "Quiet Kids: How to Nurture Your Introverted Child," by Laura Mackenzie.