03/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

While Aides Can't Find Work, Bush Charging $150,000 For Speeches

Interesting juxtaposition for the recently departed Bush Administration.

First, it seems that despite being one of the most unpopular -- and already one of the worst -- presidents in our history, former President George W. Bush is seeking a $150,000 fee per speech as well as well as private or first-class transportation for his party of four. Mind you, I have no problem with Bush making the money, I'm just a little suspicious that he's going to get many takers:

President George W. Bush may have left office with a historically bad 22% approval rating, but he's still eager to impart his wisdom - for $150,000 a speech.

The former president will charge that hefty fee per pep talk - plus first-class or private jet transport for four - when he hits the lecture circuit next month with stopovers in Canada, the U.S. and other spots around the globe, sources told The News.

...His first speech will be March 17 in Calgary, Alberta. The Canadian event is being promoted as "A conversation with George W. Bush," but is closed to the press.

Meanwhile, Bush's former aides aren't finding the same gravy train, as just a fraction have found work so far:

The jobless rate is hanging high -- for many of the roughly 3,000 political appointees who served President George W. Bush. Finding work has proved a far tougher task than those appointees expected.

"This is not a great time for anyone to be job hunting, including numerous former political appointees," said Carlos M. Gutierrez, Mr. Bush's commerce secretary. Previously chief executive of cereal maker Kellogg Co., he hopes to run a company again because "I have a lot of energy."

Only 25% to 30% of ex-Bush officials seeking full-time jobs have succeeded, estimated Eric Vautour, a Washington recruiter at Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. That "is much, much worse" than when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton left the White House, he said. At least half those presidents' senior staffers landed employment within a month after the administration ended, Mr. Vautour recalled.

That must be why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has demanded that Senate Republican staffing remain at last year's levels -- causing a 10% increase in their budget for "congressional operations" -- despite the fact that the GOP lost 20 percent of their caucus in the November election, and should require a whole lot less staffing.

But then, according to RNC Chairman Michael Steele, those aren't real jobs after all since they're government jobs. They don't count.

Mark Nickolas is the Managing Editor of Political Base, and this story was from his original post, "While Aides Can't Find Work, Bush Charging $150,000 For Speeches."