“After the White House, what is there to do but drink?” asked Franklin Pierce, who did, prodigiously.
Other former presidents fared better. Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. William Howard Taft became chief justice of the United States. Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter enjoyed more successful post-presidencies than their single terms in the White House.
The Clintons and the Obamas are forging decidedly different paths.
They launched foundations, libraries and museums, and global initiatives because this is what modern former presidents and first ladies do. But they’ve also become massive content creators. They live on our screens and in our ears and course through our social media feeds. They produce movies and television shows. This being 2021, they all host podcasts. The Clintons are penning his and hers thrillers to be published this year. The couples have partnered with such creative forces as Netflix, the History Channel, Apple, Spotify and Springsteen.
They’ve become brands. And, frankly, they appear to be having a blast.
“Public policy, culture, and entertainment are all so intertwined these days,” Hillary Clinton wrote in an email, sent through her spokesman. “There are tremendous new opportunities across mediums to tell important stories and lift up the voices of people who have been quietly changing the world. And if, while I’m at it, I can have a little fun writing a mystery with my friend Louise Penny, all the better!”