When Speakers retire — and this is pure speculation, Nate Silver this morning still gave Dems a 20% chance of keeping the House — but, historically speaking, when speakers retire they tend to drop off the map (Denny Hastert, Jim Wright), hover in political circles (Newt Gingrich), write a book (Tip O’Neill), or lark off an am ambassadorial adventure (Tom Foley). No way Nancy Pelosi becomes a lobbyist. I also don’t see her sticking around the Beltway (why would you when you have a fabulous Napa Valley home you hardly get to enjoy?). She’s already written a book. And while she certainly has always said she’d like to spend more time with the grandkids, it’s hard to imagine her disappearing completely from public life. At 70 she’s still full of energy and smarts. Personally, I think she’d make a fabulous ambassador to Italy. Or her old friend Jerry Brown, if he wins back the governor’s mansion, might co-opt her for a California project. Whether she stays on as Speaker or retires, I don’t think this is the last we’ve heard of Pelosi.
My story from this week’s dead tree edition about why, if Pelosi goes, a whole generation of Dems could follow.