- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2011

The party president is at it again. In Ireland, he belted back some Guinness. In Britain, he savored $1,000 wine and toasted the queen. In Poland, he is sure to feast on pirogi and vodka. Yet President Obama’s European trip is more than a waste of taxpayer dollars on celebrity diplomacy. It is a cultural watershed - a key moment when the leader of the free world stood by and did nothing while the free-speech rights of an American citizen were violated by the very government he was praising. Mr. Obama’s slogan should be: “Give me fine French Burgundy, or give me death!”

An attorney for the British government reaffirmed that the ban on popular talk-radio host Michael Savage will remain in place. Britain’s previous Labor government put the fiery conservative on a national enemies list along with Hamas terrorists, neo-Nazis and Russian skinheads - vicious men who have committed murder or other serious criminal acts. Mr. Savage is banned from entering Britain. High-ranking correspondence shows that he was chosen for one reason: to provide “balance” against the high number of Muslim extremists. Mr. Savage has been falsely painted as an Islamophobic bigot who risks inciting violence and “intercommunal” tension. For Britain’s powerful Muslim lobby, he has become public enemy No. 1. London has put a giant target on his back. Being officially compared with terrorist butchers and Russian gangsters has exposed the talk-show host to the possibility of retaliation - especially by some crazed Islamist.

There is not a scintilla of evidence, however, that Mr. Savage has called for or sparked criminal behavior - let alone violence and bloodshed. Britain’s political class is deliberately trying to destroy his good name and reputation. The hope that the Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron would repeal the outrageous ban vanished during Mr. Obama’s visit.

British government spokesman Michael Atkins wrote to Mr. Savage’s attorney, “Your client has not provided any evidence to show that he did not commit the unacceptable behaviour” that caused the “decision to exclude him, nor has your client provided any acceptable evidence to show his repudiation of those unacceptable behaviours.” The ban inverts the basic principle of Anglo-American jurisprudence: the presumption of innocence. Mr. Savage is presumed guilty until proved innocent.

Moreover, it represents a chilling assault on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It is a naked attempt to delegitimize and criminalize conservative ideas. Even leftists such as Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University, have condemned the ban for imposing limits on free expression.

Mr. Savage is the victim of a political and judicial witch hunt. His real sin is not anything he has done; rather, it is what he stands for. Mr. Savage opposes statism, unlimited immigration and Muslim fundamentalism. He defends America’s national sovereignty and distinct cultural identity. In short, he is a nationalist who champions blood-and-soil conservatism. There is no place for him in multicultural Britain - and, increasingly, in post-Christian America. His show, “The Savage Nation,” is one of the last bastions of traditionalist nationalism. Unlike most other conservatives, Mr. Savage has no use for the “new world order” - economic globalization, free trade, rampant materialism, secularism and military interventionism.

The ban is more than simply the persecution of an innocent man. It signifies the triumph of a creeping soft totalitarianism. There is an unholy alliance between the hard left and Islamic fascism. Media Matters, a group funded by socialist billionaire George Soros, spearheaded the drive to get Mr. Savage on the blacklist. Mr. Soros is using his millions to stifle conservative voices. Like all Leninists, he believes in using state power to eradicate opposing points of view. Mr. Soros is a transnational progressive. He believes in one-world government marked by high taxes, lavish social programs, abortion on demand, euthanasia, the legalization of drugs and the appeasement of Islamic terrorism. He shares with Islamists one overriding impulse: the hatred of America. The political gods demand that Mr. Savage be sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism.

By persecuting Mr. Savage, the British government has turned him into a martyr. He has become a dissident of the European Union regime. Mr. Cameron is a phony conservative - a Red Tory. Whether it is the environment, gay marriage, abortion, Islam, taxes or now Mr. Savage, he is a liberal masquerading as a Thatcherite.

Instead of demanding that Britain rescind its ban, Mr. Obama stood silent. He is only too happy to support this assault on free speech. It is part of a larger pattern against his critics. The president has demonized Fox News as illegitimate, urged his minority supporters to “punish” their Republican “enemies,” excluded skeptical journalists from press gaggles and demanded the passage of the Fairness Doctrine - which would muzzle much of conservative talk radio. He also wants the government to monitor and have emergency powers over the Internet.

The Savage case gave Mr. Obama a golden opportunity to position himself as a centrist heading into the 2012 election. Had he come out against the ban, he would have shocked his political opponents and cast himself as a paladin of free expression. Rather, he did what most leftists do: kowtow to Mr. Soros, the sugar daddy of the Democratic Party. Like Mr. Soros, Mr. Obama cannot resist the Leninist temptation. Power trumps decency. Today, it is Mr. Savage. Tomorrow, it may be you.

Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute. He has served as a guest host for “The Savage Nation.”

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