What the hell happened to Dennis Miller? The Castle Shannon native used to be an acerbic insightful humorist/commentator with a scraggly visage and a lefty point of view. Now he tells us he's convinced Dubya is much smarter than people think.
I just finished watching the premiere of Miller's new 9 p.m. CNBC show. His first guest was Arnold Schwarzenegger. I was waiting for a little of the classic Miller skepticism, something like "Dude, you're undergoing a steeper learning curve than a paraplegic trying to climb Mount Everest," considering that California's state budget is a disaster and Arnold has no government experience.
But Miller threw more softballs than Rosie O'Donnell at lesbian summer camp. No questions about Arnold's skeletal significant other Maria Shriver and her journalistic conflicts of interest as an NBC newsperson and influential person in Schwarzenegger's administration. No questions about groping. The Denmeister dropped to his knees and gave the Governator the best blowjob since random sluts burst into the Terminator's gym in the good old days -- back when Arnold was body-building his way to fame and fortune and his slogan was "smoke doobies with me now and grab boobies with me later."
Miller has already explained his decision to move to the dark side: 9/11. He believes the tragic historic moment helped transform Dubya from Bush leaguer to big leaguer.
Bullshit. Sure, we were all more frightened than the small children who witnessed Howard Dean's Iowa hedgehog mating call, and Dubya did an adequate job appearing presidential and comforting at the time. But we were desperate for a leader. We projected values onto the crackpot from Crawford that he did not possess.
Miller says he doesn't understand why everyone else wasn't changed by 9/11. We were, initially. We got over it. It doesn't mean we don't understand it's a dangerous world and that this could happen again.
In fact the best case against Dubya lies in what he has and hasn't done since 9/11. We attacked Afghanistan with significant force. Good. We attacked Saddam with a much larger force. Bad. Now Saddam, who didn't attack us, is in custody, and Osama, who did, remains free to plot again another day. Not good.
The Bushies have shamelessly exploited our terrorism fears to justify the war in Iraq, misleading us about WMDs and the real reasons for war. The deficit is out of control. Suddenly and inexplicably we have to go to Mars, spending billions more we just don't have. Dubya keeps telling us the economy is humming but -- read my lips -- no new jobs.
On the premiere of his show, Dennis told some jokes about news items in front of a wall projecting the faces of newsmakers -- just like on his HBO show and Saturday Night Live before it. Only there was something different. I don't know whether it was the lack of a live audience that took some spark out of the Millerisms, or if someone shot Dennis with an elephant-tranquilizer gun. But the energy was flat and awkward. Gone is the boisterous wise-ass: The new Dennis seems to take himself more seriously as a significant deep thinker of society. Knock it off, Den-Den. Pretentious pundits we got in spades.
Miller has become a walking conflict of interest. He appears at fund-raisers for Dubya and rallies for Ahhhnold. The GOP is courting him for a possible U.S. Senate run against Barbara Boxer. And his new show's executive producer, Mike Murphy, is still on Ahhhnold's payroll as a consultant (gee, do ya think that's how he got his first guest?).
It's one thing to be openly biased. It's another to be completely co-opted. I've appeared at local Democratic dinners and said nice things about local Democrats. But I still make tasteless jokes at their expense and throw in a gratuitous Clinton blowjob or Kennedy Chappaquiddick joke. That's hardly noble, but to paraphrase Groucho, I just can't become co-opted by any group that would have me as a member. Mr. Miller, it would seem, has become a shill's shill.
I'm angry. This was a hero, an idol. Dennis, I'm guessin' new booty Newtie left a pod by your bed. You've been snatched. So long. We'll miss ya.
And dude, Dubya may be freaking genius in the cunning ruthless political arena ... but he's still a doofus.