The 47 Republican senators who last week went behind the government’s back to send a letter to Iran’s leadership did not commit treason, but they sure did something really, really dumb. The letter was an attempt to frighten their sworn enemy from entering a critical nuclear deal with the U.S. by warning Iranian leadership that any agreement could be reversed under a future president. The move was considered “unprecedented” by Secretary of State John Kerry, an embarrassment by President Obama; and so widely condemned that even Senator John McCain, who signed the letter, admitted on Fox News that “maybe that wasn’t exactly the best way to do that.”

Though the honesty and trustworthiness of any political leader is always under scrutiny, the statements and actions taken by the 47 men and women who signed the inane letter are now under a microscope. In response, ANIMAL asked graphologist and court-approved forensic handwriting examiner Sheila Lowe, who has more than 40 years of experience in the field, to analyze the signatures of 12 of the 47 Republicans for those personality traits.

It is, of course, absurd to assume that a signature can unlock all the secrets of a human being’s complex personality. So in order to make the analysis a bit more manageable, Lowe worked off the assumption that “the more illegible the signature, the more the writer wants to keep to himself.”

“It could be that he’s simply a private person, or it could be that he actively wants to hide information about himself. Without more writing to compare, it’s impossible to know which it is,” she said.

She also stressed that drawing any definite conclusions from a sample so small would be unfair and inaccurate, as it’s important to look at the sample within the greater context of a person’s handwriting. “When analyzing a signature alone, it’s important to remember that this is only a part of the picture,” she explained, likening it to seeing a photo of a person’s nose and then attempting to imagine his whole face. “You get some information, but you don’t get the context, which will provide the reasons why.”

Still, her impressions offer much to consider regarding the public officials who nearly derailed a potential international agreement. “The ones that most concern me are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, with John McCain and Lindsey Graham as close runners up,” she said, based on her study. “They play their cards very close to the vest and leave the way out to make quick changes.”

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John McCain
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Note: his handwriting is affected by his old injuries, which is taken into account. He writes with a heavy pen which creates a thick stroke that allows him to make changes of direction. The J in his first name is larger than the M in his second, which is illegible. These factors, combined with the very wide space between the words suggest a couple of things. He wants to be seen as a friendly guy, but there is much he’s not revealing. It’s hard for him to trust others and he takes his time getting to know someone before opening up to them. Second, there may be conflict in his feelings about his family name, and by extension, his father.

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Ron Johnson
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This signature is written so quickly that the two names run together. There’s a lot of simplification, which shows a quick, facile mind and the ability to jump rapidly from one thing to another. Although he’s analytical, he doesn’t need all the details before grasping an idea, but puts things together using his well-honed intuition. The long, straight final stroke at the end of his name is symbolic of an outstretched arm that holds others off.

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Chuck Grassley
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This is one of the clearest of the signatures, which indicates a desire to communicate in a way that others really get what he’s trying to say. He’s basically conventional and wants to do things the right way. Appearances are of great import to him. He’s loyal to his belief system, a perfectionist who pays attention to the small details. He’s deliberate, careful, persistent, and does not easily give up.

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Tom Cotton
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The polar opposite of Grassley, Cotton pays little attention to how things look. For him, the message is what’s important, not the way it is presented. He gives short shrift to those who don’t pay attention, and the speed at which he writes shows his enthusiasm and impatience for getting others to listen. The strong rightward movement in the t-bar shows one who knows how to get people to do what he wants by the strength of his will. The signature floating above the baseline indicates a desire to be different, not to conform to the norm.

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Ted Cruz
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What is this?! None of the letters look like what they are intended to represent. The T looks like a Z, there’s no telling what the other letters are if you don’t already know. The last name looks like a capital G. When someone makes their name entirely illegible, there is much going on behind the scenes that he doesn’t want others to know about. Letters that look like other letters are a primary sign of misdirection. Cruz is quick to switch gears and he rearranges the way he thinks with great facility. Situational ethics allow him to switch sides of an argument when it seems expedient.

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Rand Paul
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A couple of interesting things are going on in this signature. First, the extreme height of his capital letters and the letter ‘d’ compared to the small letters. These capitals reach for the sky. This is an ideologue who has a strong interest in the theoretical. A strong need to live up to his father’s high expectations means that he is unlikely to deviate from the beliefs that were inculcated him as a child. Yet, his self-image and level of confidence is far less than he would like to project.

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Mitch McConnell
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The extreme size of the capital letters when compared to the other letters, in this case signifying the need to stand tall, to take the lead. The rigidity and dogmatism of this signature is quite stunning, not to mention the nasty hook inside the second C, which can manifest as verbal barbs. The ending stroke is even longer than Johnson’s, and packs a real punch-note the dot at the very end. Rigid in his ideas, he lacks true real compassion. His enemies should watch their backs. They will pay the price.

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John Cornyn
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There’s a form-consciousness to this signature, which says he is imaginative and open to new ideas. The triangular J indicates that he wants to appear strong, but the rest of the word manifests one who is more sensitive and thoughtful than he might come across. The C half-circles his last name in a protective gesture. With those broad oval letters, he is a good communicator who knows how to listen as well as promote his own ideas. The formless ending suggests tact and diplomacy.

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Marco Rubio
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His signature consists simply of very prominent initials that hide almost everything about him. Plus, the closed hook at the beginning of the M, jealously guards his secrets. The M in his first name is much broader than the R in his second. Wanting to present himself as strong and significant, he’s far more interested in projecting who he has become than where he came from.

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Lindsey Graham
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Another extremely simplified signature with a long final stroke and a punch at the end, written in a thick stroke. Those who prefer a pen that produces a very thick stroke tend find it easy to change positions and make adjustments. They enjoy the “finer things” in life, but expect those things to come to them without expending a great deal of effort to get them. The long ending stroke with a full stop at the end says that he is the one who is going to decide where a conversation ends.

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Orrin Hatch
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The very large capital O is reminiscent of the form President Obama uses. It partially encircles his name, which is carefully written with all the details. He desires to make a good first impression and works at presenting himself exactly as he wants to be seen. Highly disciplined, he sticks with what he believes is right. The round, carefully placed i dot indicates loyalty to “his people.”

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John Thune
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This illegible signature presents him in a graceful, appealing way, but hides all the information that cannot be revealed or seen. He’s rather like a magician who draws your attention over there, while making smooth moves that you’ll never notice, right in front of your face. Clever and creative, he seeks and finds new, more efficient ways of doing the same old thing. Here is yet another outflung ending stroke that says his friendliness is on his own terms.

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(Image: Bucky Turco/ANIMALNewYork)