We're due for a major shake-up in Washington come October. On Friday morning, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced he'll be resigning at the start of October. And not just resigning as Speaker, either — he'll be retiring from Congress altogether, bringing a 25-year career in the House to an end and leaving Ohio's 8th Congressional District in need of a new representative. So, at 65, what's the next chapter in Boehner's life going to look like? Simply put, what's next for John Boehner?
First things first, he's got a little more than a month of his Speakership left to play out. It's conventional wisdom that when you're working in the private sector, you're supposed to give a couple weeks' notice when you're ready to move on. Boehner offered up more than double this advance warning, which was a good move — a sitting Speaker resigning mid-term can have a destabilizing effect on the Congress writ large, to say nothing of the party.
Boehner's retirement, according to The New York Times, comes in part because of the increasing intensity of far-right opposition to his leadership, especially regarding threats of a government shutdown unless there's a vote to defund Planned Parenthood. This is the tense atmosphere that might have pushed Boehner out the door, and he'll still be dealing with it for the next month — on Friday morning, he postponed a vote on Planned Parenthood.
As for his post-congressional career, well, there's no way to be entirely certain. But a political player who's been around as long as Boehner has, and who's made so many connections within his party (a virtual certainty for anyone running the House), there are multiple opportunities that could come his way. For example, he could:
Become A Lobbyist
Not very inspiring, huh? You may not like it, but it's a fact of life — ex-Congresspeople make high-value lobbyists, because they come prepared with all the social connections necessary to trade on their influence. Lobbying is also a much more lucrative career than any available in elected government — you're talking about potential seven-figure salaries, instead of the $200,000+ per year he earned as Speaker.
He couldn't dive right into this career, though, thanks to the House's lobbying rules — outgoing members of Congress have to wait a year before it's allowed, a provision put in place to mitigate the so-called "revolving door." But it's not like he couldn't pass that time doing something else, like...
Appearing On Fox News
Fox News loves its ex-elected Republicans. Hell, sometimes ex-politicians go to Fox, then get elected again — Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich, for example, was formerly a fill-in host for The O'Reilly Factor.
There's a potential pitfall in this option, which is simply that Boehner is a divisive figure in the GOP — an awful lot of conservatives have been angry with some of his cooperation with the Obama administration over the last few years, and it's pretty important for a TV pundit that people keep watching when your face comes on the screen.
But we've seen other ex-Speakers excel in this role before — Newt Gingrich, for example. But if he's not looking for the heightened exposure of such a high-profile gig, he could always...
Become The Barkeep At A Washington Tavern
Boehner's upbringing as the young son of a barkeep tasked with mopping the floors is often mentioned. President Obama even referenced the story during his 2014 State of the Union address, which visibly moved him.
And throughout his Washington tenure, Boehner has developed something a reputation for enjoying a late-afternoon drink or two. Whatever your opinion of him politically, you have to imagine that a bar where members of Congress or political types within Washington could have drinks slung to them by the former Speaker of the House would be quite a draw.
And besides, it would give Boehner some extra security at his watering hole too — earlier this year, prosecutors charged a bartender for allegedly threatening to kill him by poisoning a drink.