Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 20, 2014

The Funemployment Chronicles

Rather than cry about the nonprofit post quashed by sequester-mandated budget cuts, an ex-House staffer has decided to seek his entertainments elsewhere.

His current happy place? Think tank luncheons.

The Panel Crasher blog, a virtual soapbox set up by D.C.’s self-described “equal opportunity, bipartisan moocher and offender,” went live April 3, just days after its founder got bounced from a recent gig funded by government grants. With three years of congressional experience (one year as an intern, two years as paid committee staff) under his belt, the rudderless — at least until graduate school starts later this fall — wonk decided to milk the situation for all it’s worth.

“I was laid off by a NP due to #Sequestration. Now I crash #thinktank panels for free food and hilarity,” is how PC explained the involuntary sabbatical on Twitter.

Having suffered through some truly unbearable presentations, we had to wonder whether our freeloading friend might be a closet masochist. But, as he explained, that’s exactly the point.

“In addition to feeding me, I hoped I might also make light of a substantial segment of this town, of which I am admittedly a part, or was, that takes itself just a bit too seriously,” PC said of the often one-sided policy discussions littered across the average daybook.

So far, he’s skewered the miserable slop — and limited quantities of it — doled out by the Family Research Council, questioned the fashion choices (acid-washed jeans alert!) of fellow trolls at a well-catered Center for American Progress affair and suffered the indignity of being “made” by a no-nonsense intern at the American Enterprise Institute. (“I’ll be back, and you will be crashed. Oh yes, you will be crashed.”) At least for now, PC plans to eschew traditional happy hours (“not really unique to DC”). But don’t be surprised if congressional and diplomatic functions soon taste his wrath. “No one exemplifies the DC culture of self-importance more than Hill and Embassy staffers,” PC said.

Staking out think tanks, however, will remain his bread and butter. “My girlfriend works at one of these places and she tells me they have ‘regulars’ who come to every single event,” PC said. “I think in a lot of ways they are like me: Trying to get some free food but just as much trying to stay intellectually/comedically occupied.”

Not that losing one’s livelihood is all fun and games.

“While I was at CAP last week … I got an email acceptance letter admitting me to business school on a scholarship. That made me feel a lot better about myself in the moment,” PC told HOH. “Then I got home and my first unemployment check. Right back down to earth.”

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