Which Jobs Are More Desirable than House Speaker?

Washington Post: “The speakership of the House is one of those things no one wants to be stuck holding, like a hot potato, a murder weapon or a hot potato that was used as a murder weapon earlier.”

Here is a ranking of jobs more desirable than speaker of the House.

10) “Hunger Games” Tribute

9) Garbage Collector:

8) Cat Herder

7) Tom Hanks In “Castaway”

6) Sisyphus: Same frustrating feeling that “at the end of the day, I’ve accomplished something — wait, no.”

5) “Star Trek” Guy In A Red Shirt Who Always Dies First

4) Aaron Burr Impersonator: Some people now find Aaron Burr relatable.

3) Dentist: This job also requires you to do something that is like pulling teeth but in the end you actually have pulled a tooth out.

2) Whipping Boy: Not to be confused with the Majority Whip, this person also bore the punishment when somebody else (the king’s son) does something wrong — but at least he occasionally got an earldom out of it.

1) Daycare Provider: They cry, they throw tantrums, they scribble graffiti on the walls, they foil all your attempts at discipline, but your charges will eventually grow up.


  1. The problem at this point is that the people who want to become Speaker (e.g., Chaffetz and Webster) are people who would do a terrible job as Speaker, whereas anyone who might be able to do a credible job as Speaker doesn’t want the position.

    1. The problem for somebody like Paul Ryan is really simple–Speaker of the House is technically third in line for the Presidency, but the odds of the President and Vice-President going down at the same time are basically nil. It’s never happened.

      And the only Speaker who ever went on to be President was James Polk. He served one term, and then died of cholera at 53, about a hundred days after leaving office. Inspiring, huh? Can’t imagine why they never made a movie about him.

      So yeah, anybody with any aspirations for higher office is going to avoid that job like crazy. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of the people pushing for Ryan to take the job are thinking “One less rival to worry about in 2020.” It’s hard enough for any member of congress to explain his/her voting record, but when basically you’re the one most responsible for every vote the House ever makes, you are politically radioactive in the current climate.

      Even on a TV show that is pure fantasy, they make Kevin Spacey’s character House Majority Whip. Lots of power, much less visibility.

      1. While technically he didn’t go from Speaker to President, Gerald Ford went from Minority Leader to Vice President to President without ever winning a national election. Nevertheless, I agree with you that anybody (such as Ryan) with aspirations to become President or even Vice President would be well advised to avoid becoming Speaker.

        1. Yeah, I would say even fewer contemporary politicians aspire to emulate Gerald Ford than James Polk (who at least got stuff done while in office).

          Nobody noticed Ford until he was POTUS, and then they mainly noticed his propensity for falling down.

          The problem with being Speaker is that it’s a highly visible job that makes you a lot of enemies.

          Now some–Tip O’Neill, most notably–were fine with that. It was a less divisive era, but he still had to take a lot of heat, and he knew how. He loved the job, and he wanted to do it. You can see Newt Gingrich would give anything to have that job back.

          Boehner was singing as he announced his departure (though lord only knows how long before he actually leaves). The job has changed. But at no time was it a job you took if you wanted to go any higher. If your ultimate goal in life is not to be Speaker of the House, don’t take that job.

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