- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What is it that Americans hunger to hear, and what should they hear? And so goes a question to one Michael Savage, talk radio host and author currently heard on 200 stations each week.

“The truth. As Hemingway wrote, the truth has a certain ring to it,” Mr. Savage tells Inside the Beltway.

It must be working for him. After completing an oft-perilous transition from evening broadcasts to the three-hour “afternoon drive” slot on Jan. 1, Mr. Savage is enjoying some vibrant ratings in an unforgiving marketplace.

He currently is second only to Rush Limbaugh on the list of the top-50 most “influential and listened to hosts streaming on the Internet, according to Talk Stream Live, an internet industry source. He also ranks fifth on the list of top radio hosts, drawing 5 million listeners a week, according to Talker magazine, another industry source.

His intense on-air rivalry with fellow host Sean Hannity continues. Though Mr. Hannity is heard on more stations and draws a larger overall audience, Mr. Savage pulls in more fans — sometimes double the audience — in five top-national markets, according to new Nielsen figures. And one of his major on-air sponsors has been with him for a dozen years.

“Give me 15 minutes, and I’ll give you America,” Mr. Savage advises.

WHAT THE ISSA TEAM LEARNED

Observers point out that one reason Hillary Clinton keeps winning all the early bird presidential polls is because Republican candidates have yet to define themselves for voters in the campaign marketplace.

But there is some wisdom about how to do that, this following Rep. Darrell Issa’s snowboots-on-the-ground experience in New Hampshire. The California Republican, who toured the Granite State for two days earlier this week, penned a guest op-ed for the Concord Monitor and spoke at two significant political events.

Press and pundits wondered if Mr. Issa should be added to the list of GOP hopefuls for 2016. The lawmaker explained, several times, that he wanted to help “shape” the political discourse and strategy, not run himself.

And what wisdom came out of the visit, which ended just as another blizzard descended on the state? What exactly do voters want from the Grand Old Party?

“The observation I came away with was this. People want a fighter. They genuinely feel like the growth of government and centralization of power in Washington is a direct threat to their liberties. The response that Congressman Issa received was both impactful and genuine,” his advisor Kurt Bardella tells Inside the Beltway.

“They responded in a very strong way to the belief that the next president needs to make a commitment to unwind the growth of the executive branch and embrace a return to checks-and-balance Overwhelmingly, what Congressman Issa heard the most from folks in New Hampshire was this: keep it up,” Mr. Bardella adds.

RYAN OPTIMISM

There is nothing that Democrats like better than a creative tale of Repulican discord, pitting establishment guys in suits against tea party enthusiats, conservative stalwarts, insistent libertarians, necons, theo-cons, Reagan traditionalists. Plus every other character that the liberal creatives can come up with.,

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