Jim Geraghty at National Review Online makes an astute point about Jim DeMint's departure to head the Heritage Foundation:
Two years into a six year term, DeMint decided there was nothing going on in the Senate worth sticking around for, at least in the near future – another four years of President Obama, another two to four years of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. No conservative reform likely to be enacted, no likely prospect of constructive compromise, nothing likely to get done. That is some depressing stuff there, brother.
We have a movement full of people who love their country and who are terrified of the course that it continues to careen along. We go to them, and we ask them for their votes, for their time, and for their money. And they give all of those. One of the things we have asked them to do is help elect lawmakers like Jim DeMint…
… and then DeMint sees something he wants to do more than serve in the Senate and suddenly he leaves without warning. And he does it right after our movement feels like it’s been kicked in the teeth by the electorate.
I mean, if Jim DeMint doesn’t see any point to remaining in the Senate for the next few years… why should we be so focused on the Senate ourselves?
Because he’s not the only Republican lawmaker to follow his reelection with a sudden announcement of a departure to a high-paying private sector gig:
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) will retire from the House in February of next year, cutting her tenure short to become president and CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and setting off a Republican frenzy for her seat. Emerson will become CEO of the NRECA on March 1, according to a spokesman for the association, but she will join the staff and start transition activities on Feb. 11. The group is the trade organization for the nation’s nearly 1,000 mostly rural electric cooperative utilities.
The NRECA executive board voted to approve her for the post on Monday, and Emerson announced her resignation shortly after. She said that her compensation in the new position is “more generous than I’m making now.”
The range of salaries for vice presidents at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is $135,000 to $322,000, so we can take a guess at how well the CEO is paid.