Various writers have spilt a fair bit of ink writing about Obama’s personality. Some have claimed that his great skill is to make others feel that he is just like them. Perhaps that part is true because my contribution to the Obama psychoanalysis is to claim that he is more like me than perhaps any other US president.
My theory (using my favorite lens of Myers-Briggs typing) is that Obama is an INTP. That is to say, he is an introverted, cerebral, and abstract thinker. Indeed, above all else, he is a thinker (compared to doer or decider).
The traits that so impressed many such as his “nuanced view” on issues are typical of an INTP. INTPs are more concerned with understanding than solving problems or doing things. They are good at seeing various sides of an argument (many could have a lengthy debate with themselves). The moments of melancholy that some attributed to him are another characteristic of an INTP. The arrogance that many complain of is another INTP trait. It might be more accurate to say “apparent” arrogance, as many INTPs are filled with doubt. Their introversion, aloof, and cerebral nature make them appear arrogant, but this is more apparent than real (although INTPs can display powerful intellectual snobbery).
Now that he has the power Obama needs to make decisions. Sadly, decisiveness is not an INTP trait. Their great skill is seeing possibilities and understanding complex systems. However, making decisions tends to be difficult for them: there is always more to learn, other possibilities to explore, and more information to gather. But, a president does not just have to understand, he has to decide. Indeed deciding is probably the key skill. The ability to act in the absence of total information is what makes a successful executive. Any decisions may turn out to be right or wrong, more information also adds more doubt. The skill of an executive is to gather just enough information to make their decisions more than a guess.
In short, Obama is temperamentally unsuited to the job he is now in. To be clear, I am not making an ideological statement (even if Obama and I would differ on this), I am certainly not making any racial or HBD type of claim: Obama undoubtedly has the intellect for the job just not the personality. My point is that Obama has a personality that is unsuited to a high level executive position. The job of president, forces him into a position that relies on strengths that are actually his weaknesses (decisions with incomplete information and understanding people and their motives, etc.). The job of president is stressful for anybody, but is likely far more stressful for someone like Obama. He is truly a case of being careful what you ask for.
I will reiterate that this not a complaint about decisions that Obama has made or may make. If I were in total agreement with his outlook, I would still believe his temperament unsuited for the job (as would my own temperament).
I use Myers-Briggs more as a metaphor for personality types. Typing people from a distance is fun but futile exercise. There are to many confounding factors, especially for someone with a “public” persona. Even if accurately typed, such typing at best describes the likelihood of certain traits. It is certainly not a complete description of a person, their skills, attitudes, or motives. Some have called Obama a narcissist, I guess this post counts as my own bit of narcissism, thus making me like Obama as per my original claim.