No more tears

The news of John Boehner’s announcement—that he’s stepping down as Speaker of the House of Representatives and resigning from Congress—is still reverberating a week later.

While most of the discussion about this move has focused on his successor, I’ve got a different take on the news. Mr. Boehner has launched himself into one of the most highly public career transitions possible.

For the last three decades, he has been a political leader, long in the limelight, with considerable connections and clout He’s got to be asking himself, “Who will John Boehner be now?” without the mantle of responsibility and the perquisites of power.

Is he looking forward to a traditional retirement with lots of leisure time and a respite from the intense pressures he faced as Speaker? Will he stay in the game on the sidelines, as a political consultant and/or commentator? Or will he try his hand at something completely different? At 65, he’s still young enough to move in any of a number of career directions, assuming he still wants to work.

Whatever path he chooses, he’ll have to adjust to a new identity. People will react to him differently now that he’s leaving Washington, and, perhaps more importantly, he’ll need to redefine how he views himself. For many powerful people making a profound change like he is, the redefinition process can be jarring.

Mr. Boehner and I share a birthday (November 17; different birth years) and we also share the ability to cry in front of other people without shame. Still, what I’m hoping for him is that his transition won’t involve any more tears.O

5 responses to “No more tears”

  1. Mary Anderson says:

    Hi George,
    I agree with you, it will be so interesting to see what he chooses to do next. I’m thinking that after 30 years in public life it will be difficult to completely give it up.

    • George Schofield says:

      Hi Mary. And he doesn’t have to give it up completely to be in a midst of a HUGE career and identity transition. I’m much more interested in his experiences of the coming 12 months than I am in the choices he finally makes. George

  2. Mary Laxague says:

    Very interesting slant. After so many years in the public eye, I wonder about Mr. Boehner’s trasnition to another life style or, will he, as have many done before him move into the lobby arena. It will be interesting to watch.

  3. Jari Searns says:

    Well, how about Leader of the Republican National Committee? Perhaps in that role he could be more effective at convincing Republicans to work together to get something done…but I doubt it!

    I hope he has “salted” lots of money away ’cause getting a job in private life after a lifetime career in the public spotlight may be a VERY difficult challenge for this gentleman. I believe he is truly a “nice” guy, but I also believe he has been a truly ineffective leader in his last position.

    • George Schofield says:

      And yet, at 65, he’s both young and highly experienced. He has an unprecedented, visible opportunity to consider who he wants to be, who he wants to spend time with, and how he wants to invest his time and energy. Whatever he chooses, I’m hoping he will share his experience with us and a journalist he knows and trusts will pursue this line of questioning with him. Of course, in this moment of Kevin McCarthy’s withdrawal from the queue of candidates for Speaker, perhaps Mr. Boehner is back in the queue by default. George

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