October 04, 2012 at 6:50 am
It’s too bad young boys today don’t have the intellectual capacity to deftly counter a classic put-down.
“You’re such a Mama’s Boy!” is meant to hurt those perceived as weak.
Attention, parents: If your son is targeted, he could put educated bullies in their place by reading the script below.
“That’s OK. Our last three presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush andBarack Obama — have been Mama’s Boys.”
Yes, for five presidential elections in a row, Americans have elected a “Mama’s Boy” — and each time, the opponent was a “Daddy’s Boy.”
At least that’s how Vero Beach resident Stanford Erickson sees it.
He is the author of a new book called “Mama’s Boy Presidents.” (The subtitle: “Why Do We Keep Electing Them?”) First released as an e-book, the softcover print edition will be available next week.
Again this year, Americans will choose between a “Mama’s Boy” (Obama) and a “Daddy’s Boy” (Mitt Romney) to lead the country.
Erickson, 73, is a longtime journalist — he’s a 33-year member of the National Press Club — and has interviewed three former presidents. For him, a book on this topic is a natural.
“All my life, I’ve written about management,” he said last week during an interview at the Press Journal.
In simple terms, the balance of parental influence is “a major determinant on the personality, character, policy inclinations, campaign style, managements style and worldview” of any president, according to Erickson.
Generally speaking, Mama’s Boys want to please people and be well-liked, while Daddy’s Boys are matter-of-fact types and believe in order and structure.
“I think you’re born one or the other,” Erickson said. “I’m a Mama’s Boy.”
He agreed with my self-assessment that I’m a Daddy’s Boy.
Erickson admits the psychologists he interviewed for the book disagreed with his “born one or the other” view.
Personally, after reading Erickson’s description of Mama’s Boys and Daddy’s Boys, I would put the accuracy on par with astrological signs. (The description of a Sagittarius fits me perfectly.) I am my father’s son.
A key to success in life, he believes, is balancing the influence of each parent.
Erickson describes Obama as a “conflicted Mama’s Boy” and Romney as a “conflicted Daddy’s Boy.”
Which means neither Obama nor Romney “needed” the parent he identifies with, even though each child was “the center of the universe” for said parent.
According to Erickson, Romney is smart enough to realize he couldn’t be elected president without becoming more of a balanced Daddy’s Boy. His unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination in ’08 helped him in that regard.
“When you lose, you listen,” he said.
Obama, on the other hand, has not acquired the listening skills necessary to become a great leader, Erickson said.
Both Romney and Obama are married to Daddy’s Girls (Ann Romney and Michelle Obama, respectively) — a common situation for most successful presidents.
Erickson’s warning for Obama: “If he doesn’t start listening to his wife, he’ll never be balanced.”
He says the last balanced Mama’s Boy to be president was Ronald Reagan.
After doing his research, Erickson concluded there have been three “unbalanced” Mama’s Boys in the White House — Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon.
By unbalanced, Erickson said these presidents were unable to relate to their fathers. Nixon compensated, by example, by sometimes acting like a macho man.
He said George W. Bush did the same thing with his famous “Bring ‘em on” taunt to the Iraqi insurgents.
His wife, Laura, is a Mama’s Girl. Erickson believes she did not challenge her husband enough.
“George W. Bush would have been a better president if he had a wife take him on,” Erickson said.
In his book, Erickson explains why he believes a second Obama term is doomed to be like the second terms of Nixon and Clinton. (“Unless he starts listening to people …” he said.)
If elected, Romney would be the first Daddy’s Boy president since George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988. (Barbara Bush is a Daddy’s Girl.)
Erickson said Daddy’s Boy presidents are typically less divisive than Mama’s Boy presidents.
Looking ahead to 2016, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president. If elected, she would become the nation’s first female president.
She is a Daddy’s Girl, according to Erickson.
“I believe Hillary Clinton would be a good president,” he said, “because she’s balanced.”
Like anything in life, balance is the key.
“It’s a journey for all of us,” he said.
Erickson says the country probably needed Obama’s Mama’s Boy style during the past four years. The country needed someone who could explain what was going on during the tough economic times.
He believes the country probably would benefit more from a Daddy’s Boy president during the next four years, though.
Erickson says in the book that he voted for Obama in ’08. He declined to say who he will vote for in ’12.
MAMA’S BOY PRESIDENTS
Author: Stanford Erickson
Publisher: Keith Publications
Availability: e-book ($9.99) available now; print edition available starting Monday.
FIVE DADDY’S BOY PRESIDENTS
George Washington, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John Kennedy and George H.W. Bush .
FIVE MAMA’S BOY PRESIDENTS
Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Russ Lemmon is a columnist for Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. This column reflects his opinion. Contact him at 772-978-2205 or email@example.com.