BOSTON (TheStreet) -- There's a reason you'll probably never see Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann run for public office.
It is not so much that they could only be elected in the most partisan of districts. Nor is it for lack of ego or fear of skeletons in the closet. The simple answer: They wouldn't want the massive pay cut.
Political life may be a good job at a good wage compared with what most lower- and middle-class Americans earn slaving away at Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT) or on construction sites. But the big money comes from talking about politics, influencing the electorate and being a flag-waver for whatever end of the ideological spectrum they call home.
To say the talkers earn as much as celebrities misses the point that they are celebrities, entertaining the like-minded and infuriating critics all the way to the bank. Former President George W. Bush remarked, likely wide-eyed and grinning, that he planned on making a "ridiculous" amount of money, "replenishing the ol' coffers," once out of the White House
Just how much money do America's top pundits make? That's a question that offers another reason why many would likely be hard-pressed to throw their hat in any ring. Financial disclosure would be a requirement for public office, and telling the world how wealthy they have become could undermine their message or turn off audiences working hard to make ends meet.
Nevertheless, leaked contract details and various bits of public data give at least a hint at the fortunes some have amassed.
The following are 10 pundits and former politicians who have financially benefited from their bloviating: