UNEMPLOYED BUSHIES…. Alberto Gonzales’ difficulties in finding a job in the legal world are well known, but it appears he’s not the only one from the previous administration struggling.

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. […]

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.

Moving beyond any sense of Schadenfreude here, there’s an interesting aspect to this that warrants attention. As Paul Krugman explained, there’s a “wingnut welfare” system in place that, ordinarily, practically guarantees full employment for experienced Republican officials who lose their jobs in government. GOP benefactors are supposed to help “take care of” Republicans like this, through think tanks and related outlets.

Now, however, it appears the system isn’t working as it used to.

Thus, lose an election, and a think tank with the usual funding sources will create an America’s Enemies program for you to direct. Mess up the occupation of Iraq, and you’ll be appointed to run the World Bank; mess up there, and there’s still a chair waiting for you at AEI.

But it appears that wingnut welfare is breaking down when it comes to former Bush officials. Is this the beginning of the end for movement conservatism?

Something to keep an eye on.

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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.