If Arnold Schwarzenegger can run for governor, and TV shrink Kelsey Grammer can express a desire to run for the U.S. Senate, why shouldn't California Republicans draft a know-it-all comedian? According to the Los Angeles Times, at least three Republican strategists in the state want to draft Dennis Miller to run for office, and at least one would like him to challenge Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate race next year.
''There's a lot of us who'd like to see him campaign,'' Rob Stutzman, a Republican consultant and Schwarzenegger spokesman, told the Times, citing Miller's potential appeal to younger voters. Said another Republican consultant, ''We love him.'' Besides, said Assemblyman Tony Strickland, who is himself running against Boxer, ''We don't have much of a bench in the Republican party.''
Miller himself hasn't expressed any political aspirations, though he's certainly raised his profile as a conservative spokesman over the last year, speaking out on TV and radio talk show appearances in favor of President Bush's drive to war and against the antiwar Hollywood left. The Emmy-winning comic now has a weekly political commentary slot on Fox News Channel's ''Hannity & Colmes.'' And last week, he spoke twice in appearances on Schwarzenegger's behalf, including after Wednesday's debate, where he gave the assembled press the official post-debate spin from the action star's campaign.
Boxer spokesman Roy Behr didn't sound too worried about a possible challenge from Miller. ''Naturally, we would welcome him or anybody else into the race,'' he said. ''The Republican Party has gone through a desperate search to find someone who is remotely credible -- they've looked at everybody and everything, and they couldn't find anybody, so they're looking at bringing in the circus. I think the public has always registered how they feel about Dennis Miller, and that's why he got booted off 'Monday Night Football.'''