What does the most unpopular President in history do on his last weekend in office? Party, of course. Here's his dance card:
Sunday, 6:30 PM: Dinner with Condi, the staffer who's "like a sister."
Sunday, 8:30 PM: Swing by a goodbye party with 600 of your closest employees.
Monday, 10 AM: Have tea at the White House with your replacements, the uber-popular Obamas.
Monday afternoon: Get escorted to your departure ceremony by the new guy.
What's next for the Bush crew? Book deals and unemployment checks.Bush will set up shop in Dallas and get cracking on his presidential library. He'll also bike and write a book because "I just can't envision myself, you know, the big straw hat and Hawaiian shirt sitting on some beach. Particularly since I quit drinking." He might get a rude awakening when he tries to rake in the cash with speaking engagements and book deals. Bill Clinton earned a whopping $90 million in the seven years after he left office -- Bush may not be so lucky. The publishing industry is in the tank and isn't likely to dole out a hefty advance to a guy who was disliked and not known for being either articulate or reflective.
As for speaking engagements, most of the companies that generally dole out huge sums to hear from retired presidents - the financial industry, mainly - are in dire straits or out of business because of the guy.
Dick Cheney is owed a pension worth an estimated $132,451 a year. Add that to the millions he raked in from Halliburton and you'd think the 68-year-old V.P. with heart problems would kick back at his Wyoming ranch and do whatever it is people do in Wyoming. Not so for old Dick. He wants to write a book because he's got "a few scores to settle." He's just that kind of guy.
Condoleezza Rice is heading back to her old haunts at Stanford University to pick up her academic career again. She's apparently house hunting in Palo Alto and flirting with publishers about writing her memoirs.Everyone else is just out of a job. When a president leaves office, it's a little like a company going out of business. Everyone gets their pink slips and few usually have jobs lined up. However, the Bush staffers are in a uniquely unfortunate position. They get to start pounding the pavement in a job market that resembles the Great Depression and a resume that ties them to the guy most people blame for the mess -- not necessarily a good look. The holdouts are two Justice Department appointees who didn't get the memo that they're boss left town. Typically political appointees dutifully hand in their resignation letters when their boss loses his job. But not these two. U.S. Attorneys Mary Beth Buchanan of Pittsburgh and Alice Martin of Birmingham didn't realize that things were heading south when Alberto Gonzales got the ax. Now that Bush is on his way out they're still profoundly clueless. What's so important that they can't leave? They've got Democrats to prosecute!