But the old Dennis Miller, who hit his stride around the time of his "Mr. Miller Goes to Washington" HBO special (later released on CD as "The Off-White Album")--him, we could probably use.
In the meantime. this is obviously Maher's style, not Miller's:
I was up all night on Wikipedia doing an exhaustive study of former presidents, and while other presidents have sucked in their own individual ways, Bush is like a smorgasbord of suck. He combines the corruption of Warren G. Harding, the abuse of power of Richard Nixon and the warmongering of James K. Polk.
I mean, who would you rank lower than George W. Bush? Nixon got in trouble for illegally wiretapping Democratic headquarters; Bush is illegally wiretapping the entire country. Nixon opened up relations with the Chinese; Bush let them poison your dog. Herbert Hoover sat on his ass through four years of calamity, but he was an actual engineer. If someone told him about global warming, he would have understood it before the penguins caught on fire. Ulysses Grant was a miserable drunk, but at least he didn't trade booze for Jesus and embolden the snake handlers -- he did the honorable thing and stayed a miserable drunk. Grant let his cronies loot the republic, but he won his civil war.
For some inexplicable reason Republicans have taken to comparing Bush to Harry Truman -- a comparison that would make sense only if Harry Truman had A) started World War II and B) lost World War II. Harding sucked, but he once said, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here." So at least he knew he sucked. He never walked offstage like Bush does after one of his embarrassing press conferences with a look on his face like, "Nailed it." Bush still acts like every failure is just a friend he hasn't met yet.
But it does remind me of the sort of thing that Miller used to be good at 20 years ago: Left-wing political satire as a fast, sustained volley of middle-brow, wish-you'd-paid-better- attention-in-college allusions, laced with snarky righteous anger and black humor, and leavened with a readiness to bite a deserving Democrat on the ass when they've got it coming, as opposed to sticking to jeering at the approved enemies list. And, of course, it's pretty funny--the thing most painfully missing from the new Miller.
Funny thing, too, because 9/11 hit both Maher and Miller hard, but in different ways: Maher lost his job at ABC because he wasn't sufficiently jingoistic and anti-Islamic, while Miller's career fell on hard times in part because he became plenty jingoistic and anti-Islamic.
Maher obviously bounced back; Miller, not so much.