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August 01, 2011

When they get booted out of office, they'll be ready to cash in.

As it becomes increasingly clear that neither President Obama nor House Speaker John Boehner will be re-elected, my sources tell me that the unlikely duo may lead a plan to morph a leading non-profit into a public company.

Apparently the pair have been eyingToastmasters International, the non-profit that since 1924 has helped over 4 million people become more confident speakers.

Toastmasters is famous for meetings in which participants must stand up, be given a random topic, and then speak extemporaneously on the topic for two minutes. (That means on the spur of the moment – you’d know that if you were a Toastmasters member.)

The two politicians are both skilled speakers, and they tend to exude confidence even when rational minds suggest fear and anxiety would be a more appropriate attitude. President Obama just got his head handed to him in the debt ceiling negotiations, while speaking with the demeanor of a leader who was actually in charge. The best thing you can say about Speaker Boehner’s performance is at least he didn’t cry.

Not many other paths are likely to be open to the pair, as the national economy will have declined precipitously by the time they are booted out of office, and they will own responsibility for the dire mess.

Both realists, the pair likely believe that Toastmasters offers them a path back to respectability. It’s sort of a Dale Carnegie resurrection plan: how to win friends and influence people, even after you’ve wrecked the free world.

A spokesman for Toastmasters, when asked about the report, said, “Go public? Cool!”

Dolby Highgate is Managing Director of 2by2matrix, an IT advisory firm. The name of the firm comes from Dolby’s insight in 1948 that the two-by-two matrix could be used for business strategy purposes.