Run, Savage, Run
There are two savage nations: the real, militarized, commodified nation of 300 million; and the Nation overseen by radio howler Michael Savage, whose nightly freak show reaches some 8 million listeners.
And I'm one of them.
Normally, rightwing radio bores me. Limbaugh, Hannity, and O'Reilly make the same barnyard noises daily, and the rubes who love them seem content with that. Predictability in the service of ratings and profits certainly has its place. But Michael Savage is something else. He claims to be a "conservative," but somehow I can't see Edmund Burke, Albert Jay Nock, or even William F. Buckley at his worst saying a portion of what Savage regularly spews over the airwaves. And that's what sets Savage apart from the standard rightwing talk format -- he doesn't mind sounding absolutely crazy, although for him, "crazy" is moderate. He goes after anyone, including Republicans, and most especially George W. Bush, whom Savage mocks as a clueless viceroy or idiot king. But these attacks come from the very far right, a place where liberalism is a mental disorder if not a disease to be wiped out, where all Muslims are potential beheaders, where "illegal" immigrants are turning the nation into mud people, and where queers are child molesters and AIDS-carriers who actively seek to destroy the heterosexual lifestyle. So of course Savage dislikes Bush and the leading GOP candidates running to replace him. They contribute to society's sickness.
Not Michael Savage. He lays it down like no one else. If you doubt his sincerity, just listen to his show for about 15 minutes. You'll hear Savage stroke his ego so vigorously that you'd swear he has his hands down his pants. And while Savage takes listener calls, no one in his Nation appreciates him the way he appreciates himself. How could they? Savage is intellectually superior to everyone, as he reminds his audience every few minutes. Even the most fawning listener tributes fall well short of Savage's throne. It's a wonder why he even bothers broadcasting.
Well, the obvious reason why Savage broadcasts is that he's making serious dough while cementing his celebrity status. Unlike Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy, Savage has a voice made for radio. He really is a natural for the medium. North and Liddy sound tinny and screechy compared to Savage, and they cannot match his easy-listening flow of fascistic tangents and riffs. Col. Tom Parker supposedly said that if he could find a white man who could sing like a black man, he'd make millions. The Col. discovered Elvis Presley and did just that. Michael Savage clearly came upon a similar formulation: if someone with a smooth, somewhat acerbic-sounding voice could effectively and believably transmit the most vile, nativist, violent opinions nationwide, that person would easily mega-cash in. And this Savage has done and continues to do.
His audience, at least those who phone in, isn't terribly articulate or intelligent, much less acquainted with political and social reality. But they do feel threatened, cheated, scorned, and taken to the cleaners. Savage's Nation bursts with self-pity and hatred for anyone even remotely seen as "different" from Average Americans. They are natural brownshirts awaiting a Führer to articulate their confusion, idiocy, and rage, and Savage plays this role beautifully. In fact, so venerated by his Nation is Savage that when he recently announced that he was mulling whether or not to run for the GOP nomination, millions of followers went to his website to encourage his candidacy. Just last night, several callers urged Savage to run against those bleeding-hearts McCain, Romney, and Giuliani; and while Savage flirted with making a more declarative statement, he pulled back and instructed his Nation to keep voting for a possible run.
One of the obstacles Savage says he faces is, of course, the Liberal Media, which will doubtless rip him to shreds should he run. Why? Because the Liberal Media hates and fears The Truth, which Savage alone possesses. Remember, this is the same Liberal Media that gave him a TV show on MSNBC after dumping the liberal Phil Donahue for being too anti-war. That Savage ruined that opportunity by engaging in his usual queer-bashing is, I'm sure to him, further proof that the Liberal Media is out to silence him.
But if Savage really is the courageous culture warrior that he repeatedly insists he is, what better foe to engage in a presidential campaign than the Liberal Media itself? After all, the media craves "controversy," and Savage can certainly provide enough fireworks to make any debate he's part of a must-see event. This is why I back a Michael Savage for President campaign. There are millions of American fascists and nativists who lack a genuine voice at the national level, and Savage is that voice -- that is, if his viewpoints are sincerely and deeply held. If the Savage Nation is instead run by an Elmer Gantry-type adept at milking the rubes, then the man is just another con-artist who is part of the very conspiracy his character denounces every night. Either way, Michael Savage is more American than perhaps even he himself knows. Running for president would be a natural and most entertaining extension of whatever persona is truly Savage.