Politicians Who Jump to Media Shouldn't Assume They Can Jump Back

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This Town author Mark Leibovich's profile of Republican Rep. Mike Rogers in The New York Times magazine focuses on Rogers's move to talk radio — the chair of the House Intelligence Committee is quitting politics for a well-paid media role. But Rogers tells Leibovich, "I do believe I will be back in public service one day." While it may be easy to jump from politics to media, in the age of the Internet, the jump back is much harder.

Former governor and presidential also-ran Mike Huckabee hasn't been able to do it since he started in talk radio (with Cumulus Media, the company that hired Rogers). MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has toyed with running for president or otherwise getting back into politics, but his TV contract prevented him from even being entered in Northeast Republican Leadership Conference straw poll this year. Sarah Palin is probably the least likely to run for office again (admittedly for reasons besides her multiple reality shows and Fox News contract). Once Rogers is yakking alongside Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh every day, it will be tough for him to look like a serious candidate in the future. 

Huckabee, at least, sees his media job as preferable right now. "In politics, there are three basic categories," he tells Leibovich. "There’s campaigning, there's governing and there's talking about it. The easiest of the three is talking about it. It also pays the best."

The most famous politician in recent memory who's successfully jumped from media to public service is Sen. Al Franken. He barely won his 2008 race, and he's been playing "Mr. Serious" ever since, often avoiding reporters in hallways. If his example is any indication, it will be many years before Rogers gets his seat back. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.