Weeks before the monumentally contentious hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the manuscript of Michael Savage’s new book “Stop Mass Hysteria: America’s Insanity from the Salem Witch Trials to the Trump Witch Hunt,” which debuts Tuesday, went to print.
Chronicling centuries of hysteria, Savage writes at one point that the left has co-opted the legendary revolt against Rome of the Thracian slave and gladiator Spartacus. On the next page, the talk-radio host and author of more than 30 books names Sen. Cory Booker as one of the Democrats who, at a historic moment of deep division and turmoil, likely will vie for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Who could have known at the time the manuscript was completed that the New Jersey lawmaker’s “I am Spartacus” moment would soon become an exemplar of an extraordinary three-week period in which the term “hysteria” seemed a particularly apt description?
“Well, if this isn’t mass hysteria, what was done to Kavanaugh – the attempted destruction of a relatively decent man for all the world to see,” Savage, the host of the nationally syndicated “The Savage Nation,” said in an interview with WND.
“Does it get any worse than what we’ve just seen? The Soviet-style system where you’re automatically guilty until proven innocent?” he asked.
On the third day of hearings for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Sept. 6, Booker, calling it his “I am Spartacus moment,” declared his intent to “knowingly violate” the rules by posting to his Twitter account four emails “about racial profiling” he believed cast a negative light on Kavanaugh. In fact, Booker already had been given permission to post the emails, and the messages only showed Kavanaugh to be an opponent of racial discrimination.
History, as Savage shows, has many lessons for the moment, if the nation has ears to hear and eyes to see.
He said that perhaps the best comparison to the Kavanaugh episode is the Dreyfus affair, the political scandal that divided the Third French Republic from 1894 to 1906.
“It was a smear campaign by French anti-Semites that resulted in this French military officer being condemned as a spy and being sent to Devil’s Island,” Savage said.
Savage noted Alfred Dreyfus wasn’t truly exonerated until a century later.
“What the anti-Semites did to Dreyfus is exactly what the Democrats just tried to do to Kavanaugh,” he said.
Savage believes it was “only because of the strong will of Trump that Kavanaugh survived this.”
“It takes a strong leader to stand up to these mobs, and fortunately we have one,” he said.
Savage affirmed that under Trump’s leadership, “establishment” figures such as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins rose to the occasion and defended Kavanaugh amid withering opposition.
“Look at what they did to Susan Collins,” Savage said, a day after she, as a pro-choice feminist and advocate for the #MeToo movement, demonstrated compassion for victims of sexual assault while calling for reason and civility as she eloquently made the case for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Collins was attacked by Women’s March organizer and Islamic radical Linda Sarsour as a white supremacist for insisting Kavanaugh should be accorded the presumption of innocence.
Savage said he believes the Democrats’ handling of the Kavanaugh nomination mostly will be a boon for Republican candidates in the midterm elections.
“I think the huge class of undecideds who have sons, brothers, husbands, uncles, fathers are just not going to go down the road of condemning them to a life of false accusations,” he said.
Learning from history
Savage said his new book is different than any other he has written, calling it a hybrid of history and current politics that highlights relevant lessons from Columbus to the present, with a few references to ancient history, such as Spartacus.
“The only question is, are people still willing to learn from history? Or will we get stuck only in polemics?”
Savage said the Kavanaugh affair is also mirrored, “in a reverse way,” in the McCarthy era.
The Venona papers, he noted, showed that McCarthy was largely correct about the leaders he accused of colluding with communists abroad to undermine the United States.
“Nevertheless, McCarthyism has become synonymous with false accusations and the ruination of a life,” Savage acknowledged.
In the Kavanaugh confirmation, he said, it was the Democrats who engaged in “McCarthyism” as the term typically has been defined.
In his book, Savage recalls the iconic moment of the McCarthy era in which the chief counsel for the United States Army, which was under investigation for communist ties, scolded McCarthy with, “Have you no sense of decency?”
It turned out that the immortal line that led to the end of McCarthy’s career was centered not on the substance of the Wisconsin senator’s argument but on his style.
For Kavanaugh, opponents found a new line of argument in his impassioned rebuttal to an accusation that he sexually assaulted a woman when he was in high school, insisting it showed he lacks the temperament and nonpartisanship necessary to be a Supreme Court justice.
“If you were falsely accused of being a rapist, and your accuser is sitting there right in front of you, wouldn’t you get angry?” Savage asked.
The Democrats, he said, couldn’t beat him on his extraordinary record of judicial accomplishment – which earned him a unanimous “well-qualified from the American Bar Association – and so “they moved the goalposts.”
“I think he did really well for a man who was so falsely accused. I couldn’t have withstood that,” he said.
Jefferson and the ‘malignant’ media
Characterizing the visceral opposition to Trump, Savage quotes social philosopher Eric Hoffer, who writes in his classic book “The True Believer” that mass movements “can rise and spread without belief in a god but never without belief in a devil.”
Savage writes that “the hatred for Trump is at the same fever pitch as was the hatred for Jews in early Nazi Germany.”
“The patriarchy, the family, the church, white people, the police, the military, capitalism, conservatives – the Bible itself – are all hate pinatas for hysterical progressives. They attack anyone and anything the liberal media tell them to hate.”
And, in a critique of establishment media, he cites Thomas Jefferson’s wariness of the ability of newspapers to inform people of what is happening.
“I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time,” Jefferson wrote.
And if his views weren’t clear, the champion of free speech and a framer of the First Amendment wrote in a private letter that he deplored “the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them.”
“These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food,” Jefferson wrote.
Savage believes that along with the kind of strong leadership that Trump displayed in the Kavanaugh confirmation process, hysteria can be “deflated” through ordinary people – the “Eddies and Ediths,” as he calls them – insisting they will no longer abide by the lies and deceptive manipulations of their leaders.
He noted a grandmother with six grandchildren who called “The Savage Nation.”
“She said, ‘I’m crying, seeing what they can do to a decent man. I look at my grandchildren, I fear for them in this country if this goes on. What Feinstein did to Kavanaugh can be done to my little boys.”
Savage said he’s “trying to just do the Paul Revere thing; wake the country up, right now, to what’s coming.”
The left, he said, “will do everything they can to gain power and try to scare the middle.”
“And it’s not going to work,” he said. “It’s going to backfire on them, as the Kavanaugh hearings have shown. It will not work.”
“They will not win through violence and intimidation.”