What’s next for Mr. Obama?
Barack Obama and Joe Biden
In a simpler time—May of this year—President Obama obliged the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with a lighthearted look at his future retirement. “You’ve got all the time in the world to figure this out,” sketch-mate John Boehner told him. “You can just be you for a while. If you know how to do that again.” With his party hungry for leadership, it might not be that easy for a while. If any Democrat has earned some time off, it’s the outgoing president. But Barack Obama isn’t exactly the kind of guy who’s likely to enjoy a weekly schedule of margaritas and crossword puzzles. What could be waiting in semi-retirement?
Denim model: “I can wear my mom jeans in peace,” Obama enthused to Boehner in the skit. Good luck. A 2014 investigation conducted by New Yorkconcluded he’s more of a dad jeans man;“In 2010, things got really bad, with added mandals. How’s the leader of the free world rocking sandals with jeans?” But this year, Vanity Fair all but dubbed him the world’s dad jeans icon, and, yes, increasingly, that’s something to be proud of. If even non-dad celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio can rep the normcore trend, who better to bring some authenticity to it than Barack Obama?
Audiobook A-lister: A known baby whisperer, Obama’s measured and dulcet tones made him a campaign trail crowd-pleaser. Even his steadfast Republican critics tended to describe his style as merely lecturing instead of hectoring. But as a coveted versatile audiobook reader, Obama’s rhetorical gifts could probably keep most listeners richly engrossed in fiction and pleasurably focused in non-fiction. Who knows, after a few runaway best sellers, the former president could parlay his success into a hit podcast reading bedtime stories to children and stressed-out adults alike.
Presidential Consultant: Even Donald Trump appeared to be surprised by how little Donald Trump knows about running the White House. Sensing an opportunity, Obama charmed the president-elect, offering extra help to ensure the transition between administrations doesn’t send the country off the rails all by itself. It may be tough to envision Trump turning to his predecessor for regular advice, but if he does, it’s not so hard to picture the two hitting a Palm Springs golf course, with number 45 quietly asking number 44 the kinds of questions Obama is more than willing to answer. Sonorously. In dad jeans.