Mama’s Boy Presidents: Why do we keep electing them?

Mama’s Boy Presidents: Why do we keep electing them?

Label: Mama's Boy Presidents | Author: Stanford Erickson
Jan 13, 2013

Mama's Boy PresidentsThe Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney not only pitted a Mama’s Boy against a Daddy’s Boy, but a conflicted Mama’s Boy against a conflicted Daddy’s Boy.

Since John F. Kennedy, seven of the last nine Presidents have been Mama’s Boys.  Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush can be characterized as Daddy’s Boys. Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all experienced a unique relationship with their mother that some psychologists refer to as Mama’s Boy.

Briefly, a Mama’s Boy is a man with an inordinately affectionate relationship with his mother. The more unbalanced the Mama’s Boy, like Richard Nixon, the more the son himself needed or craved that affection from his mother. A Daddy’s Boy is an innately masculine boy who relates to and admires his father — like President George Washington—or early on identifies with his father like President Calvin Coolidge.

In a 24/7 media cycle capturing every comment made by a candidate, a Mama’s Boy has an  advantage over a Daddy’s Boy.  Mama’s Boys thrive on campaigning, effusing, explaining themselves and being the center of attention. Daddy’s Boys dislike campaigning, are awkward and uncomfortable in expressing their feelings. But elected, Daddy’s Boys have proven to be better at managing the nation’s economy in a predictable manner that encourages businesses to invest and grow.

Among the 44 men who have been President of the United States since the Presidency was established in 1789, twenty-two of them could be designated Mama’s Boys and twenty-two tended to be Daddy’s Boys.  How much does being a Mama’s Boy or a Daddy’s Boy determine what kind of President they will be?

The author, Stanford Erickson, worked for more than twenty-five years as a Bureau Chief in Washington, DC, and as a reporter, columnist and editor in New York City. He covered Presidents, Congress, Administrative and Regulatory Departments and Agencies. He interviewed Presidents and other world leaders and many of the most significant business leaders in the country. He worked for Hearst, McGraw-Hill, Knight-Ridder and The Economist Group.


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