JOE THE REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST…. Once in a while, I get the sense Republicans on Capitol Hill want to be made fun of.

Fresh off his stint as a war correspondent in Gaza, Joe the Plumber is now doing political strategy with Republicans.

When GOP congressional aides gather Tuesday morning for a meeting of the Conservative Working Group, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher — more commonly known as Joe the Plumber — will be their featured guest. This group is an organization of conservative Capitol Hill staffers who meet regularly to chart GOP strategy for the week.

Wurzelbacher, who became a household name during the presidential election, will be focusing his talk on the proposed stimulus package.

This is what it’s come to for Republican staffers in Congress. In the midst of an economic crisis, and after balking at a stimulus package, the GOP is turning to an unlicensed plumber/campaign prop to discuss legislative strategy on economic policy.

The line between Republicans’ approach to governing and satirical performance art blurs just a little more.

One can only assume that the Conservative Working Group was dazzled by Wurzelbacher work as a pseudo-war correspondent for a right-wing website. He did, after all, insist that journalists shouldn’t be allowed to cover a war, in part because reporters “make a big deal” over events on the ground. Wurzelbacher added, “I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting.”

Why wouldn’t Republican staffers want to seek guidance on economic policy from a visionary of this stature?

As for the new round of attention for Wurzelbacher, something Atrios said a few weeks ago still resonates: “Conservatives persist with him because they wrongly believe he pisses liberals off. As with many such things, Joe the Plumber never pissed off liberals. What did piss off liberals was a mainstream news media who allowed some random dude who would benefit from Obama’s proposed economic plan to become some sort of stand in for the everyman who Obama would be keeping from achieving success somehow. Now? We’re just laughing at you, clowns.”

That was true when conservatives asked Wurzelbacher to pretend to be a war correspondent, and it’s especially true now that Republicans on the Hill want him to pretend to be a political strategist on economic policy. The problem isn’t the prop, it’s the right’s use of the prop that’s embarrassing.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.