Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Michael Savage: A Study In Chutzpah

Michael Alan Weiner has led a colorful life. He grew up in the Bronx in a Russian Jewish family, and later earned a PhD. in herbal medicine. For years he made a living selling books on holistic treatments, spending his spare time hanging out with fellow beatniks like Alan Ginsberg. In the 1990’s Weiner underwent a radical political metamorphosis, and reinvented himself as the uber-offensive right-wing talk show host Michael Savage. Savage has a history of making very provocative statements, ranging from anti-gay (which got him fired from MSNBC) to anti-Jewish (which is not as strange as it sounds, given the history of anti-Semitism among Jews). He continued his over the top style this week by playing songs by the Dead Kennedys on his show in tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Savage has just made an interesting announcement, one that could have some very significant ramifications if he’s serious about it. Bemoaning the decline in conservative values within the Republican Party, Savage has announced plans to form his own political organization, which he is referring to as the Nationalist Party. He says the party’s platform will be based around “borders, language, and culture”, which can be translated as an ultra-nationalist, borderline fascist program. Not surprisingly, the real fascists on Stormfront are not impressed, claiming that this is just another trick by a wily Jew to discredit their movement. I tend to think this is all just another put on by Savage, and no concrete action will actually result. If I’m wrong, however, it could be very interesting, as there is in fact a huge reservoir of racist, homophobic, and Christian supremacist feelings among some white working class persons in America that no recent political party has been able to fully tap. Savage’s party could have the potential to become the Green Party of the right, acting as a spoiler in close contests and denying the Republican Party some victories.