What Will Obama Do When He Isn’t President Anymore?Breaking News
In 1912, after he lost his bid for reelection, William Howard Taft mused about what the country should do with its ex‑presidents once they leave the White House. “A dose of chloroform,” he proposed, to protect the nation “from the troublesome fear that the occupant could ever come back.”
Today, the Twenty-Second Amendment limits how often a president may come back. The question concerning Barack Obama is not what should be done with him, but rather, what should he do with himself?
For most of our history, ex-presidents who were not independently wealthy had to work—not until 1958 did Congress pass a law granting them a pension. George Washington became the country’s largest whiskey producer. John Quincy Adams won a seat in the House of Representatives and fought slavery. And William Howard Taft! Good thing no one took him up on the chloroform. Nine years after he left office, he was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court, a position that the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says gave him “probably the happiest decade of his life.”
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