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Colbert For U.S. Senate: Plenty Of Jokers In D.C.

Colbert For U.S. Senate: Plenty Of Jokers In D.C.

C’mon! Admit it. Watching the USA economy sail of a fiscal cliff isn’t near as much fun as following politicians as they mud wrestle for elected office. And with the national elections now just a fond memory, I figured there wouldn’t be anything to get Karl Rove and Dick Morris [semi-disgraced gurus of the pundit class] back in the good graces of Fox News until Hillary started the long march to the White House in 2016.

But yesterday the political wonks Inside the Beltway received a Christmas miracle.

Jim DeMint, the conservative Republican Senator from South Carolina, said he was resigning his Senate seat to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in D.C. Here’s from a NYT article,  “Tea Party Hero Is Leaving the Senate for a New Pulpit“:

With a disappointing election in his rear view mirror and a budget compromise he could never swallow on the horizon, Senator Jim DeMint, the conservative Republican from South Carolina who helped ignite the Tea Party movement, is leaving the Senate to become president of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group.

Just two years into his second term, Mr. DeMint, 61, whom many in his own party partly blame for Republicans failing to win Senate control two elections in a row, announced on Thursday that he has opted for a platform and a payday that the United States Senatecould never provide him.

His resignation also comes as Tea Party followers in Congress face new pressure to pull back from their uncompromising views in the election’s aftermath. He will depart with the start of the new Congress in January.

Come January, the occasional kingmaker, conservative hero and filibuster lover — he once forced the Senate to stay in town for a Saturday vote that he then chose to skip — will find himself with a space to continue his efforts to push the Republican Party to the right from the outside rather than the inside.

So now the question from the political and chattering classes is whom South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will appoint to fill the remaining years of DeMint’s term?

Why not Stephen Colbert? Here’s from Mediaite, “Stephen Colbert For Senate? Colbert Enlists Twitter To Convince Gov. Haley To Appoint Him As DeMint’s Successor“:

Minutes after news broke that South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is resigning and heading to the Heritage Foundation, the speculation began: Stephen Colbert for Senate? On Thursday night, Colbert shined a spotlight on the rumors and asked his viewers for help… with getting Gov. Nikki Haleyto appoint Colbert as DeMint’s replacement.

Haley gets the honors of picking the next senator, he noted, but who will she pick? She’ll want someone young, somebody conservative, somebody from South Carolina, maybe somebody who had a super PAC, somebody… who may or may not be sounding an awful lot like one Stephen Colbert.

But Colbert didn’t have to point the finger at himself — because everyone else already did that for him. So he told his viewers, “I want you to take to the Twitters, I want you to tweet at Nikki Haley why she should appoint me to the U.S. Senate with the hashtag # SenatorColbert.”

Since there are already hundreds of jokers in Congress, it doesn’t strike me that one more could hurt things much.

So as a public service for the millions, hundreds, handful of people who read this blog, here’s a link that will allow you to join the movement to draft Stephen Colbert for the U.S. Senate:

Stephen Colbert for U.S. Senate

Also, for those of you living Outside the Beltway and don’t realize how influential the D.C. think tanks have become — and how lucrative they are in terms of pay and benefits — here’s a informative article from Politico, “Think tank jobs a lucrative landing spot“:

Sen. Jim DeMint is jumping ship to think tank life, a sleepy-sounding academic world — but also very lucrative.

Top positions at influential nonprofits such as the Heritage Foundation can come with at least six-figure salaries, and in Heritage’s case, seven-figures. Based on most recent reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service, leaders of seven conservative groups drew in average annual salaries of about $520,000 in 2010.

Heritage’s outgoing president, Edwin Feulner, made $1,025,922 in 2010 and $989,634 in 2009, according to the foundation’s IRS reports.American Enterprise Institute head Arthur Brooks earned $606,362 in 2010, the Cato Institute’s Ed Crane earned $488,257, and Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute made $244,886.

Heritage spokesman Jim Weidman said the details for DeMint’s compensation had not yet been negotiated, and the South Carolina senator took the offer just based on the “mission of the foundation.” “They haven’t even sat down and negotiated the details yet,” he said.

As nonprofits and think tanks get more involved in lobbying and elections, and the gridlock on Capitol Hill continues, offers for plush jobs for members of Congress and staffers will only increase, said Peter Metzger, vice chairman of CT Partners, a lobbyist and executive headhunter outfit.“It’s going to be a trend if not an avalanche,” Metzger said.

Executives for conservative nonprofits who spent millions in the 2012 election also earned top salaries. For example, Club for Growth’s Chris Chocola, a former congressman, earned $504,413; Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s Tim Phillips brought in $338,882; and Dick Armey, who recently resigned from FreedomWorks, made a total of $500,000.

Armey also received an $8 million buyout last month to step down as chairman of the organization after a dispute with the group’s president Matt Kibbe, POLITICO previously reported.

Metzger said private corporations are going to start giving more money to nonprofits on both sides so that they can attract top government officials for executive positions.

He said with growing frustration among top leaders in the House and Senate, the thinking seems to be: “Get on the outside.”

Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a group that pushes for government transparency, also expects DeMint’s move to a think tank to become common practice for members of Congress.

“DeMint has a Rolodex that he is basically selling to Heritage,” Holman said. “I haven’t seen the revolving door abuse happen with nonprofit groups, but I do expect this to become more common as these front groups from the election like Crossroads GPS get more into lobbying activity.”

Based on Feulner’s salary and DeMint’s influence, Holman predicts he could be getting an annual salary close to $3 million from Heritage.

Wow. Bet DeMint really won’t be happy now if Obama pushes through tax hikes on the top 2 percent of wage earners.

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