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Remember When Bill Murray Used to Be Funny?

“Stripes.” “Caddy Shack”–heck even “What About Bob” was funny?¢â??¬ ¦

In the old days, Bill Murray didn?¢â??¬â??¢t care what you thought of him. (I like that in my politicians and my actors, primarily because it?¢â??¬â??¢s such a scarce characteristic.) Sadly, Bill Murray has learned the same lesson John McCain and Chuck Hagel learned a long time ago: The way to be popular in Washington is to become a liberal–and the way to be respected as an artist in Hollywood is to be weird.

In Washington, if you?¢â??¬â??¢re a Republican who becomes liberal, you start getting invited to the good cocktail parties. Soon after, people start saying that you?¢â??¬â??¢ve ?¢â??¬???matured.?¢â??¬  Likewise, in Hollywood, if you?¢â??¬â??¢re a working comedian who becomes ?¢â??¬???serious,?¢â??¬  the liberal elites call you things like, ?¢â??¬???smartly observational.?¢â??¬  And if you?¢â??¬â??¢re really depressing, Salon may even honor you with a comedian of the year award, or something.

It?¢â??¬â??¢s gotten so bad that Bill Murray was recently hanging out with the Hollywood elites at the Hunter S. Thompson death party. The old Bill Murray would have kicked the new Bill Murray?¢â??¬â??¢s butt for that. The new Bill Murray helps Johnny Depp shoot Hunter Thompson?¢â??¬â??¢s ashes out of a cannon.

I miss the old Bill Murray. And I really believe that the smartest marketing move he could make would be for his next movie to be a comedy that is pure entertainment ?¢â??¬ ¦ no messages ?¢â??¬ ¦ no depression ?¢â??¬ ¦ just funny.

The thing is, he won?¢â??¬â??¢t do it; he likes getting invited to the good cocktail parties.

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Mr. Lewis has managed political campaigns and served as director of grassroots for the Leadership Institute, as well as political director for GOPAC. In 2002, Campaigns & Elections magazine selected him as a "Rising Star of Politics." He is the author of "Teaching Elephants to Talk." His blog can be read at MattLewis.org.

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