Ryan might just take up positions in corporate boardrooms, either as a consultant or director. The lucrative positions, though, could preclude a future White House run if not carefully chosen.
During the Republican presidential primary campaign, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich faced questions about his profitable network of consulting and media firms. One of his clients was mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which he blamed for the economic crisis of 2008.
If he wins re-election, Ryan could simply settle back into life in Congress.
Republican John McCain returned to the Senate after his failed 2000 and 2008 presidential bids. Democrat John Kerry did the same after his 2004 bid and Joe Lieberman, now an independent, after his 2000 vice presidential failure on the Democratic ticket. McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, returned to be governor of Alaska, until she abruptly resigned seven months later and turned to punditry.
Ryan has shown little interest in following Palin — or other ex-candidates — into media circles. He is more likely to protect his newfound popularity, his credibility and his brand.
If Romney loses, it would guarantee a wide-open field for Republicans and Democrats alike in 2016. Ryan's allies aren't ruling out a bid for the top spot for their friend.
A story on Vice President Joe Biden's future will be sent in the coming days
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