MAYBE HE CAN EMBELLISH HIS RESUME…. George W. Bush will join the ranks of the unemployed in about 71 hours. And while presidents often enjoy lucrative opportunities after leaving office, Daniel Gross notes that this president might have a much tougher time.
For many of President Bush’s critics, the fact that he is now seeking work in the worst job market in a generation is poetic justice. As Bush noted in his farewell press conference, he is too much of a Type A for “the big straw hat and Hawaiian shirt, sitting on some beach.” (He might want to reconsider: Thanks to the recession, tropical resorts are running great promotions.)
Given recent history, Bush probably expects to profit from ex-presidency. Bill Clinton reported income of more than $90 million from 2000-07. But Bush is very unlikely to earn Clintonian numbers. Ex-presidents peddle image, presence, and experience. In Bush’s case, each is tarnished. To aggravate matters, many of the industries in which ex-presidents make easy money are a) doing poorly, and b) based in the Washington-Boston corridor where Bush hostility runs deep.
Bush almost certainly won’t be able to cash in with a book deal. It’s hard to imagine him commanding huge fees on the speakers’ circuit (Gross talked to various agents, and all “expressed little interest in Bush”). Joining corporate boards has historically been an easy way for former presidents to make quite a bit of money, but this is far from an ideal option for Bush — after Sarbanes-Oxley, board members now have to do some real work, and are burdened by actual responsibilities.
So, I thought I’d open this up to some discussion. What’s Bush’s next career move? Running a brush-clearing service? Televangelist? Fitness guru?
Let’s hear it.