The casual political reader is probably not prepared for Michael Savage's abrasiveness, as the outspoken opponent of the Left doesn't let up for a moment in The Enemy Within, his follow-up to The Savage Nation, his first diatribe against liberals and a New York Times Bestseller.
In Enemy, Savage uses fierce passion to awaken the sleeping conservatives unaware of how liberals are perverting America against everything she stands for. "Am I the only one who sees it?" he often asks rhetorically in the pages of his plan of attack.
Despite the label, Savage is unlike the typical right-wing household names like Coulter, Limbaugh and Hannity. While those guys simply disagree with the liberal philosophy, Savage passionately believes that the liberals are actively at work seriously undermining the country.
The book focuses on how liberals are enemies of religion, traditional moral values, education, protecting the borders, and thus America. When we should be preserving our heritage, the liberals are trying to indoctrinate us with "multiculturalism" and other Demoncat initiatives while calling conservatives who disagree racists and homophobes.
Savage's unyielding love for his country is commendable and his heart is in the right place, but the "Enemy Within" he routinely speaks of ignores the blind spot outside the liberal sphere. If the right-wing talk show host is so passionate about controlled borders (which he spends a large chunk of the text on) then why isn't he gunning President Bush's extremely lax polices on immigration when it's obviously intended to secure the Hispanic vote?
It is true not long ago Savage once led a brief campaign to impeach President Bush after he revealed his intention to award a blanket amnesty to illegal Mexicans currently inside our borders. Many were stunned that one of Bush's largest supporters had turned against him.
But then something happened. A guy named John Kerry threatened to steal the presidency. Bush wasn't a guaranteed winner, and as a result guys like Savage swallowed undesirable policies such as immigration to secure a Republican president at all costs. Along the way Savage has lost some legitimacy even though he still claims to be an "independent conservative," unlike those guys at Fox News he isn't too fond of.
If you're not used to Savage's style then you're probably not ready to read what he has to say. He's extremely vitriolic toward the Left and sometimes it isn't easy to distinguish his attempt at forming rational arguments from hyperbole. Does he really believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be impeached for her former involvement with the American Civil Liberties Union? Was her elevation to the Supreme Court really comparable to appointing a member of the Ku Klux Klan to the bench (pg29)? It doesn't take a constitutional scholar to realize that judges are only impeachable for crimes committed while currently on the bench.
I actually agree with most of Savage's opinions on the ACLU and the liberals who defend it. The organization routinely assaults anything that remotely resembles a coming together of a religious body and the state. Is it a crime for a church that provides blankets and bottled water to the homeless to receive public funding? You'd be surprised at how often the ACLU has fought such organizations because no federal funding, according to those guys, should ever reach a church - even if the benefits reach the mass public.
So yeah, it's easy for a guy like me to read and appreciate Savage because I see where he comes from and am able to push aside the extreme exaggerations of his rhetoric. Just how he was able to tell the girl with the big behind in front of him at the Indian buffet line was a liberal (pg 36-37) is beyond me, but he was convinced and likewise most of his readers will be too.
Sometimes that rhetoric that has made him so popular gets the best of him. On page 59 he goes on a long diatribe against the procedure of having a sex change, as if it's a really popular form of elective surgery taking place behind our backs. Surely there are examples of such operations, and Savage notes the city of San Francisco's (Franfreako) willingness to pay for it with federal funding, but the guy might still be a little paranoid.
I don't agree with everything Savage says. "We also know there are people who chose to be homosexuals." Well, I'm not so sure about that. "You should be jailed for life for spreading STDs" (pg 65). Punishment for those who don't inform their partners they have a disease and then spread it, sure I support some form of retribution - just not life in prison.
Again, it's that rhetoric you can't be so sure of if it is meant to be fact. Of course I don't doubt fans of his popular radio show will be unbothered, so to you I say enjoy. You'll get a kick out of it; lame attempts at humor and all.
But I'm not in that group. Some notable problems I found:
What good I found in the book is Savage's emphasis of the Left's takeover of thought and opinion on the college campus. On pg 81 he talks about the true story of a professor who gave extra credit to students who wrote anti-war letters and sent them to President Bush. That's a problem when such nonsense is taking place at publicly funded institutions of higher learning, and it wasn't an atypical example.
- On pg 77 he undermines the war casualties in Iraq using a chart to show how the number of fatalities pales in comparison to past wars. Then he wonders why the liberal mainstream media don't point out the number of casualties per day we see from car accidents and other irrelevant events.
- On pg 98 Savage accuses liberals of not believing in free speech but spends a lot of time chastising them for speech that he disagrees with.
- On pg 116 he calls Sean Penn a failed actor; probably not the best insult you could lob at an Academy Award winner.
- On pg 120 he exclaims, "You can't say you support the police and then call for the abolition of the death penalty." Completely untrue. The religious Catholics he spends so much time defending in the book also appose the State's authority to execute even the most vile offenders.
- Throughout the entire book Savage condemns our culture of violence and preferences for sinful media, but on pg 157 he admits his penchant for the Sopranos, an extremely violent program on HBO.
- After comparing Bader Ginsburg to the KKK Dr. Savage has a problem on pg 159 with PETA, the radical animal-rights group, comparing the plight of Jews in Nazi Germany to that of poultry chickens.
- And on pg 221 he calls Bill O'Reilly a "backstabbing conservative" for not admitting that Savage's short-lived television show on MSNBC beat out CNN and cut into Fox's success - even besting it on one night. A backstabber?
Am I ever the target of Savage? Most certainly. "...maybe you're listening to rap music, and your next stop is a tattoo parlor. As you see it, the only problem you have is whether there's money to buy your 'medical' marijuana." Yes, I am a frequent listener of rap music and have been known to wear my hat backwards from time to time (he reminds readers to turn it straight in several chapters). I have no tattoos nor a desire to ever get one, but according to Savage I belong in this elusive group because these characteristics go hand in hand.
Hardliner conservatives will take well to The Enemy Within, and Independents with enough of an open mind will absorb the good in Savage's message while filtering out the rhetoric that will ultimately offend liberals who dare read it.