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New Rule: We Need More Maher...and in Real'r Time

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Message Steve mcqueen

For the second week in a row, Bill Maher hosted a Bush apologist on his HBO "Real Time" who threw out the "every President does it" justification to defend the midst-of-term dismissals of eight federal prosecutors. And for the second week in a row, Maher asked that the twisted talking point be put out of its misery. Beginning of a term, yes. Middle of a term and lying about the reasons,

They won’t stop, of course. Not when protecting the party is more important than defending the justice system. You don’t let go of the last twig on the edge of a cliff you’re hanging off of.  Afterall, Alberto Gonzalez's testimony increased the President's confidence in his attorney general-friend.

But Maher needs to keep reminding them and us that their argument holds no water. Hell, it isn’t even moist. With Alberto Gonzalez aide, Kyle Sampson, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that, "A U.S. attorney who is unsuccessful from a political perspective ... is unsuccessful," Maher needs to expand on what is the natural extension that is the RNC and Bush deceptions...

New Rule: Republicans have to stop saying that they don’t want activist judges.

They won’t, because it sells. And 28% of America is still buying.

But reminding us that it is just snake oil is essential and just why we need more Maher.

New Rule: The people who have gotten everything wrong can't tell us how to make it right.

To be sure, Bill Maher is a political beast, but he is a comedian first. No matter how serious the conversation, Maher would never let a potential punchline slip by. But for Maher and Jon Stewart, revealing the dirt under the well-manicured nails of government wouldn't be as deliciously entertaining.

New Rule: Comedians who actrually have something to say should get more air time analyzing than talk show hosts who only say what the White House tells them to say.

Maher is hidden in the nether reaches of paid HBO on "Real Time,"current only on late Friday evening and later in several thousand replays over the next week. Those who choose not to pay for nor have access to HBO, are left to read Maher’s oped columns that appear in sundry dailies and are frequently an advanced read of his "New Rules" segment that he uses to close his show.

To marginalize Maher as a lefty for lefty’s sake would miss the gravitas he brings to the table.

He’s harsh on the Bush administration, to be sure. But he’s harsh on everyone. He’s always been that way, even when the only way to catch him was at your local comedy club, long before they became for humor-like mills. Bill would rarely coddle up to the easy joke; to what many an inebriated comedy club audience begs for. Helloo-oo Dane Cook.

At least Jon Stewart appears four night a week on sort-of-pay cable. That we only get one-hour of Maher and get it only if we have even-pay-more cable is our loss. News and accompanying talking points come daily, not weekly. The dissemination of what is bullshit and what is only part bullshit, left only to mostly right-handed talk radio and TV, is like getting half the truth. And half the truth is no truth at all.

New Rule: Bill Maher needs to be on TV more than 1 hour a week.

I call on Chris Albrecht, HBO’s god of all that is smart and costly, to unlock "Real Time" for broadcast on "free" cable, so that more of America can hear the other side. Either that or bring us a new "Real Time" four of five times a week. I’m sure Bill and his staff would be thrilled to work four or five times longer...for the good of America. At least to knock down the talking points.

Anything less would be undermining the troops.

Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" ( and his "AllThe News That's Fit To Spoof" appears in L.A. Daily News opeds every Sunday. (

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