There is one under the chair. Another one rolled into the fireplace and is now covered with soot. Her best steely fell in the heating vent and makes a weird clicking sound at night when the blower turns on. She wakes up when it happens and wonders what is going on.
Even though she doesn’t know they are gone and isn’t really looking for them, it is hard to deny the obvious: Jessica McBride is losing her marbles.
It started some time ago when someone had the bright idea to give her a floating spot on WTMJ on weeknights when the Brewers and Bucks aren’t playing. The formerly-respectable Journal Inc. radio station – now all-right-wing-all-the-time – apparently felt it needed a local wing-nut to lead-in to racist hate-monger Michael Savage at 11 p.m. McBride was plucked out of deserved obscurity – I guess everyone else in the GOP wannabe universe was busy.
On the radio, McBride sounds as if she can’t be bothered to open her mouth. Her attitude is of one who thinks everything she says is so obvious, it is beneath her to repeat it. She dutifully repeats the GOP talking points, but either isn’t bright or interested enough to learn the sub-points. So, for instance, if you don’t understand what is strange/funny/meaningful about Nancy Pelosi blinking 25-30 times per minute during the State of the Union – the primary and pathetic politics-of-personal-destruction bullet-point on Wednesday for every wing-nut from Limbaugh to Belling to Hannity to the deplorable Mark Levine – you are not going to get any help from McBride. Her cleverness evident only to her, McBride chuckles about the blinking in the empty studio, pleading for help from her silent producer, who leaves her twisting in her own vacant wind.
This past Monday, McBride decided to try out her strident know-nothing routine on the “issue” of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez – a favorite wing-nut punching-bag – offering to provide help to needy people in Milwaukee. Because McBride is a third-level wing-nut, at best, she does not have the benefit of the fake lefty or seminar right-wing “callers” used by the front-line GOP surrogates to help her through the rough spots. She was challenged fairly effectively by two callers in a row, who refused to let her put words in their mouths (“So you’re saying Chavez is wonderful and Our President is evil?”, etc.) McBride tried to get by simply by repeating her own ill-informed preconceptions (the just-recently re-elected Venezuelan president was a “dictator”, she claimed) and raising her whiny voice, like someone who shouts when speaking to someone who doesn’t understand English – like that’s going to help. She was losing badly as the knowledgeable callers hung in there and called her many bluffs, a battle of wits in which McBride was decidedly unarmed. When her bullying failed, she resorted to the last refuge of the desperate wing-nut – she hung up on both of them.
But if McBride is, at least, regrettable as a talk-show host, she is even worse in her efforts at put her, um, thoughts in written form. On her WTMJ web page, McBride rambles on and on – she is a former Jurnal Sentinel reporter, badly in need of an editor. This is even more remarkable, considering she somehow got herself hired as a lecturer* in journalism at UWM. Looking at her incoherent blathering, you wonder how something like that could actually happen. You worry about the students that might come out of this particular J-school.
For instance, look at this end-or-the-year post, in which she purports to review 2006. In no less than 2,760 words (that’s eight single-spaced pages), McBride just lets her brain pour out all of her ’06 reflections, and it’s not a pretty picture. She starts with Brittany Spears and quickly segues into predictable wing-nuttiness: “Islamic fascist terrorists continued their war on our way of life, and the media, the courts, and half of America decided to give up and/or fight the administration instead…after months of the media saying we were losing the war (almost with glee), people started to believe it (which came first, the chicken or the egg?)”. Well, I think the chicken was killed in the original “shock and awe” and the egg blew up in a marketplace, but, yeah, I can see why she can’t figure these things out.
A large part of the undisciplined, sour-grapes rant has to do with the media supposedly ignoring bad Democratic behavior while trumping up Republican sins. Never mind that the exaggerated problems of, say Harry Reid or Sandy Berger (hilariously re-named “Burglar” by Limbaugh and validated by Educator* McBride) don’t really compare to Mark Foley chasing pages or prison terms for Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney and (soon) Tom Delay. Besides, the MSM covered the Reid and Berger stories anyway.
And so it goes, in fairly wacky fashion. My favorite part in the weird screed was in her choppy review of the people who died in ’06: “We lost Milton Friedman and James Brown too.” Now, there’s a pairing you wouldn’t expect. You also don’t expect the J-school lecturer* to miss the comma before the “too”, but, hey, it was posted at 1:45 a.m. – what do you expect?
More recently, McBride has come out at least three times to promote the former and new careers of her husband, former Waukesha DA Paul Bucher. It seems like a match made in heaven – the DA who used his office for various right-wing causes and the radio queen of, well, whatever she thinks she is queen of. During Bucher’s failed campaign for Attorney General, McBride promised to not to comment on the race. I don’t know why. Wing-nuts are the most compromised of political commentators, whether it’s Charlie Sykes and his right-wing funding or Sean Hannity starring at political rallies for various GOP candidates.
Now that the race is over, she has invoked her spouse in criticizing the guy who beat him for the GOP nomination for the DNA backlog. She also wrote a totally weird political obituary about him for a Waukesha paper and nominated him (along with Scott Walker, John Wayne and the Boots and Sabers blogger) for the new Milwaukee police chief. “He loves his new job. He'll kill me for writing this. (By the way, if I was actually serious, I wouldn't write this.)” Yipes. It’s embarrassing. By the way, although his “new job” is in a Waukesha law firm, Bucher is charging hard as a hired gun, taking the lead in trying to reverse the democratic process in the city by getting Michael McGee, Jr. recalled.
Finally, McBride leapt from the strange into the outright (unintentionally) comical this week, live-blogging the State of the Union address. From the first line – “Laura Bush looks good. How does she do it? So much stress...” – it is the unfiltered McBride. There is a hazy glow in her mind’s eye when she sees Junior Bush (“Bush looks good. Rested, confident.” You would too, if you had that much vacation time on the ranch.) There are the sooo predictable cheap-shots at Democrats (Kerry is “excessively tanned. Must be all that windsurfing.”; “Pelosi is standing and clapping. How does she want to take the fight to the enemy?... And I don't mean George Bush.”). McBride writing in real-time isn’t that much different than what she writes when she has time to think about it. It’s all sloppy, predictable and rambling. Funny, though -- nothing here in her real-time post about Pelosi's blinking. I guess she needed help the next day with that one.
Left to her own devices, McBride would just be another forgotten blogger, posting on Free Republic, maybe running the Sean Hannity fan club. However, WTMJ has decided to give her free air time to spread her disjointed poison. Since she is far from entertaining, McBride is on the air because the Journal Company wants more right-wing noise in the air, no matter how lame.
*Originally identified as a professor. The fact that she is only a lecturer is only a slight improvement, for UWM and for us.