Ex-presidents settle into a comfortable existence in which the dollars float into their pockets almost effortlessly.
Obama's two predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have “earned” tens of millions of dollars during their “retirement” through lucrative speaking engagements.
But Obama could make Bush and Clinton look like paupers.
I am fascinated by what the future holds for Obama.
If Obama loses, he will walk into a post-presidency in which everything he touches will turn into gold. As the first black ex-president, he will enjoy perks and opportunities his predecessors never dreamed of.
Obama, who is only 51 years old (younger than Clinton was during the middle of his second term in office) will likely make hundreds of millions of dollars through a number of enterprises in the two decades or so he has left on this earth.
Should Romney become the next president, publishing houses will ambush Obama with outlandish offers – he will receive a mint for his memoirs, while TV studios and Hollywood will bid mightily for his services.
There will be a slew of ‘exclusive’ TV interviews (Oprah Winfrey, anyone?) and highly-paid positions on the boards of the most well-heeled corporations (i.e, Apple, Google, perhaps even BP).
Like Clinton before him, Obama may choose to make high-profile appearances at global economic and environmental summits and also tune up his golf swing at the most exclusive clubs around the world.
He may also witness scores of schools, highways, urban streets, community centers, etc, named after him. (Sometimes, such honors are bestowed before one passes away).
However, despite the wealth that he will surely amass, I think there will be touch of sadness to Obama should he only serve one term as president. Many Americans, including some Democrats who voted for him in 2008, regard him as a ‘failure’ as president. In the heels of Richard Nixon (whose legacy was quite negative, but for different reasons after he resigned), Obama may spend the rest of his days trying to ‘rehabilitate’ his image, perhaps by penning personal accounts of his days in the White House and how he was repeatedly frustrated by the Republicans in seeking to pass legislation.
Any such ‘tell-all’ books may also feature a wealth of interesting tid-bits – including the true nature of his mysterious relationship with Bill and Hilary Clinton; his version of the assassination of Osama bin Laden; why he chose Joseph Biden as his Vice President; and perhaps his feelings about Jesse Jackson, among many other gems.
Of course, we will also likely see a move to run his wife Michelle for president in the not-too-distant future.
Obama has been the most famous and media-covered person on earth for the past four years – that is a distinction that will be awfully hard to relinquish.
But the promise of a king’s ransom in cash may assuage those melancholic sentiments.