- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

Welcome to a place where feminists rule over a demasculinized "she-ocracy," where the Constitution is under assault from "red-diaper doper babies," and where immigration is destroying America. Welcome to the Savage Nation.
With a Bronx accent and a flair for outrageous putdowns, radio sensation Michael Savage has in the past two years become the No. 4-ranked national talk-show host, behind only Rush Limbaugh, Laura Schlessinger and Sean Hannity. His new book, "The Savage Nation," has spent the past two weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, and next month he will bring his caustic conservatism to the MSNBC cable-TV network.
"I'm truly numb," Mr. Savage said of his reaction to an "overnight success" that arrived after more than eight years of talk-radio battles in the San Francisco area, where he has lived since the 1970s. "I've been through so many years of working against the liberal tide it almost swept me downstream."
Perhaps the only conservative radio host with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Savage says his success reminds him of a Rudyard Kipling verse: "If you can meet with triumph and disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same … you'll be a man, my son."
Mr. Savage's meteoric rise may inspire him to poetry, but he has inspired liberals to frenzies of anger. The Internet has spawned anti-Savage Internet sites with names like "Savage Stupidity" and some with titles that can't be printed in a family newspaper.
"'The Savage Nation' is a scabrous book by a man who is a nutcase, a quack and a virulent hatemonger," Los Angeles cable-TV host Scoobie Davis wrote in an online denunciation of Mr. Savage.
Mr. Savage shrugs off such venom: "If Jesus Christ reappeared on the earth and put an 'R' next to his name, the liberals would crucify him again."
If his detractors are livid, Mr. Savage's admirers are legion. He is heard weeknights by some 6 million listeners on more than 300 stations, including WTNT-AM and WWRC-AM in Washington and WCBM-AM in Baltimore.
Among the proud "citizens" of the Savage Nation is rock guitarist Ted Nugent.
The new book "should be mandatory reading for all schoolchildren in America," Mr. Nugent wrote in a review. "Read this book; it's Kevlar for the soul."
Much of the book is drawn directly from his monologues on radio, where Mr. Savage who holds a doctorate degree in epidemiology and nutrition combines fiery populism and Plato-quoting erudition, delivered with acidic sarcasm. His streetwise attitude is not an act, he said.
"If you listen to my first tape [from his 1994 radio debut], it's the same persona," Mr. Savage said in a telephone interview. "I didn't evolve into this. I've actually mellowed. … I'd burn up otherwise."
The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Mr. Savage, 60, discovered a knack for performance while attending P.S. 48 in the Bronx, when the principal made him the speaker at school assemblies.
"I learned I could make the crowd laugh," he said. "I've been this way all my life. I've always been outspoken."
Born Michael Weiner, he adopted the Savage moniker for his radio career he calls it his "nom de voix" in tribute to his days in the South Pacific.
"It was in the Tonga Islands in the 1960s. I stumbled upon the name of a [19th-century] shipwreck who was locally infamous Charles Savage. His exploits were legendary," he said. "So the name was bouncing around in my head."
His road to radio stardom was circuitous. After earning a bachelor's degree from Queens College, he was a teacher and social worker before going West. He earned two master's degrees in ethnobotany and anthropology from the University of Hawaii, then went to Berkeley, where he got his Ph.D. in 1978.
He wrote more than a dozen books on health and nutrition, including "Maximum Immunity," published in 1986, which he said sold 60,000 copies in hardcover.
Despite his success as an author, however, Mr. Savage found he was denied the university faculty position that had been his life's ambition. He blames affirmative action, which he says translates to a policy of "white males need not apply" at American universities.
"They denied me my birthright. They wouldn't hire me as a professor, which is what I did want back in '78 when I got my Ph.D. I spent years after that, five or six years, trying to get a job teaching. … I had two young children, and it was very hard to bear."
But he now sees that experience as a valuable lesson: "I learned to harden myself to successes and failures."
After taking on a regular show on local San Francisco radio, Mr. Savage "became an extremely cultlike figure on the weekends," he said, describing a typical response from his early listeners: "Gee, Dr. Savage, until you came along, I thought I was crazy. I thought I was the only one who thought this way."
Among the ideas that inspire "citizens" of the Savage Nation:
"Red-diaper doper babies" (RDDBs) are Mr. Savage's explanation for modern leftists. "Red-diaper baby" is a term used to describe children in the 1940s and '50s who were "steeped in communism, raised by commie parents," Mr. Savage said. "I tried to figure out what took an ordinary communist and turned him into this psychotic type of mad-dog leftist we have today. … I believe that when you take the red-diaper baby, and realize he came of age in the '60s … and you put that drug into the mind of the red-diaper baby, presto, you have the RDDB, who is the current anti-American fanatic."
The "she-ocracy" has "feminized and homosexualized much of America to the point where the nation has become passive, receptive and masochistic," Mr. Savage writes in his new book. "We've all been warned about the dangers of a theocracy, where religious zealots rule. Today in America, we have a 'she-ocracy' where a minority of feminist zealots rule the culture."
"Private Ryan's grandson" is Mr. Savage's metaphor for American decline in the decades since World War II. The phrase is a play on the title of the popular film "Saving Private Ryan," and the "average GI Joe" of that war. "Had Private Ryan not defeated Hitler, all of us would today be speaking German or we would be a lampshade," he said. But many young people today "haven't been taught a shred of patriotism," he said. "That's what they died for? So their grandson could become a drug-using sybarite, who won't support his country in any way?"
"Daisy-chain immigration" is Mr. Savage's term for the policies that have resulted in "massive and unfettered immigration. … It's a war by any means, and we're losing it because we're not even fighting it," said Mr. Savage, adding it is a bipartisan problem. "Bush isn't doing a damn thing about it, anymore than the Democrats did. They want the votes and the cheap labor."
Living in the San Francisco area, Mr. Savage describes urban America as a liberal "Porn Belt" surrounded by a conservative "Corn Belt."
"We are not in a minority," he said. Conservatism "is the majority point of view among the people, not among the media elite, who wish to project something different as the norm. … I give people the idea that they're not alone. I've united them under a banner called the Savage Nation."

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