The radio talk-show host Michael Savage is clearly provocative, and a great practitioner of his medium. He has the #3 broadcast in America with 8 to 10 million listeners on 350 stations, but is little known beyond The Savage Nation.
Certainly Rush and Sean and Beck have their own styles and are all very good. You will never find me violating Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill a fellow (conservative) (Republican)…” So I say God bless them all; I have no criticisms. But Savage is harsh on his competitors. He calls Limbaugh a shill for the Republican party and talks disdainfully about Glenn Beck and his blackboards and glasses. He increasingly sees Fox News as selling out conservatism, with contemptuous references to “the leprechaun” (Bill O’Reilly).
So that indeed is what is meant by The Savage Nation – a nation apart.
Indeed Savage is a man apart. He does not consider himself a Republican or a conservative. He recently called himself an “individualist”. And to listen to him is informative, fun and often funny, one of those people who is unique and a natural, like the guy who can tell a joke much better than anyone else.
But while Savage can be light and engaging, he has a very dark side and is often outspoken in a harsh and unapologetic way. He is not afraid to call Obama & Co. “communists” and “marxists”. He refers to liberalism as “a mental disorder”. He is vociferously anti-illegal-alien. He refers to media leftists as “vermin”.
He says about congressman Anthony Weiner’s escapade: “The New World Order and Anthony Weiner are one in the same.” He sometimes shouts into his microphone, as if to emphasize how dire our situation is including his three favorite topics – borders, language and culture. And good for him. America clearly needs to be awakened.
But he is often just plain extreme. He always says that the number of illegal aliens is “30 million”, the highest possible prediction. He seems not to like anyone in politics even on our side, showing hard animus toward, for instance, Newt Gingrich. He says that the Republicans don’t want to defeat Obama and that Obama will win in 2012. Which is the type of defeatism that can kill the GOP.
Born Michael Weiner, Savage is a product of hard knocks. His father was a brusque, old-world Russian-Jewish immigrant and Savage often talks about his upbringing in Dickensian tones, in the Bronx polishing bronze in a dank basement for his merchant taskmaster papa.
He talks frequently about what made Savage Savage, about his early life including a brief stint as a social worker, a job which he quit after he witnesses a welfare recipient being treated lavishly. But he also speaks wistfully about the unspoken quality of life in the 1940s and 1950s, when people were more honest, when the schools really taught things that mattered, and families were held together by an invisible faith that has largely dissipated today.
And for those of us who grew up in more prosperous climes, times and circumstances than Savage, we realize that we had it damned good in comparison. Yet now we conservatives and Michael Savage all find ourselves in the same boat, wishing to protect freedom and prosperity from the clutches of socialism. And there is nobody more dedicated to “our” cause than Savage, saying things that many will never say aloud.
He is smart and he certainly enjoys being recognized for that. There is a lilt in his voice as he describes his many accomplishments (Master’s degree, thesis published in a Harvard publication when that meant something, Ph.D., etc.) or when callers tell him how much they enjoy and admire his intelligence. He likes to laugh at his own jokes, which is humorous in itself, or instance, about a potential Savage speaking tour: “The Pickle of Truth Tour, heh-heh, that’s funny, the Pickle of Truth Tour!”
He is a sly, funny Jew versus the self-righteous, condescending and humorless Jews that populate the American left. You do find yourself laughing out loud at Savage. Because lightness and humor are often mixed in the harsh rhetoric that frequently dominates his show and its dire warnings about the direction of our nation.
He has written 28 books on health and nutrition, several nonfiction political best-sellers warning of the imminent danger to America, and will release a fictional political thriller novel this Fall, Abuse of Power, which is certain to make the best-seller list. That is quite a Renaissance Man’s resume. Good for him. May he live 30 years more.
And like any natural performer and intellect, his radio show is engaging in a way that you can never quite put your finger on, just as a fine painting can never be described or understood but only appreciated.
Savage seems to be entering a new phase in his career. At age 69, and with apparent health problems, he seems increasingly restless and frustrated talking just about boilerplate politics and seems to be veering more into existential ruminations about other subjects – food, nutrition, the existence of God, art, wine, his boat, the state of mankind. As if to say, “I’ve done what I can to save America. Now I am going to enjoy myself a little more. To keep my blood pressure down. And add some years to my life.”
Ironically the Savage broadcast originates from one of the hearts of American liberalism, San Francisco, which he calls San Fran Sicko, a city that he genuinely adores and believes may someday burn itself out on its own radicalism.
Savage is creative, addictive, surprising. He can talk about a visit to a car show that sounds like a trip to Mars. He probably should be called a raconteur for his style. And we know that a good storyteller always has an intelligence behind his craft. And what makes Savage special is his ability to move beyond straight political reportage and opinion into humor, satire, insight and shrewd observation. He goes over that fence much more easily than any other host. And that skill could lead him to many more years in radio, but on a different tack.
Meanwhile liberals have failed at talk radio and the reasons are obvious. Because first liberals are humorless. And second there are no pictures for them to misdirect you with as they propagandize you. But through this simple medium, genuinely skilled communicators like Savage are able to sway people with direct ideas and powers of verbal persuasion.
Indeed because of his forceful manner, his self-deprecation – which only a conservative can do right – and the most listenable voice, tenor, timing and timbre in radio, he draws you in. He is one of those guys who you could turn on while you are working in the basement, like he is your friend. Which he is. To 10 million people. But you would never know it from the media blackout on Savage.
It is too bad that Savage is so separate in The Savage Nation and that he has been so marginalized. But then again, he observed recently that perhaps one must be separate from the world to contribute to the world. It is that kind of thinking that takes Savage beyond the mere label of talk-show host into the realm of philosopher.
He has been banned from England for some of his rhetoric. Savage claims the ban is simply an attempt to take the spotlight off of all the banned Muslims. According to sfgate.com, Savage has been banned for calling the Koran “a book of hate” and for other aggressive opinions.
And he has become persona non grata throughout the American media with no friends anywhere – except his listeners – and a few people on conservative activist sites like World Net Daily. His show sponsors are few including one of those miracle gasoline-saving devices, far from Toyota and General Electric. But then again, this is what separates The Savage Nation from the rest of America. And that is why those who visit can return with tales of a strange netherworld, where something very interesting is going on that you just just have to hear for yourself.
Get your passport today. The journey starts weeknights at 6 on the East Coast. And the admission is free.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.