Loesch's material generally lives up to her belief in "everybody's right to say whatever the hell they want: Freedom of speech is freedom of speech."

After Dave McArthur, owner of McArthur's Bakery, referred to terrorists as "ragheads" at a rally last November, Loesch defended him, saying, "We have somebody like Dave McArthur who has the brass to call it as it is! And [the liberal critics] are like, 'Oh, that's a slur, that's a slur.' And these are the same people who say 'teabagger'!"

A few days before Christmas, while the Senate was debating healthcare, Loesch opined, "I stayed up till 1 a.m. watching these fat cats go back and forth on the Senate floor. I watched a little leathery man that has the posture of a cocktail shrimp named Harry Reid come out and condemn everybody, use his sob stories and basically screw us over without the benefit of dinner and a movie."

Loesch was a liberal when she met Chris, left, who wooed her despite his political-right leanings and then brought her into the conservative tent.
Loesch was a liberal when she met Chris, left, who wooed her despite his political-right leanings and then brought her into the conservative tent.

Shortly before the special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, when President Obama and Vicki Kennedy went stumping for Democrat Martha Coakley, Loesch predicted, "You know what's going to happen — I promise you I'm not going to be shocked if by Tuesday we have a Weekend at Bernie's thing happening, and all of a sudden Uncle Teddy's back! And he's wearing shades all the time, though, and he seems a little stiff."

"I pictured her blonde, in her forties, bigger, like an Ann Coulter type," says listener Barb Pierce, an advertising executive who met Loesch at a USO event in December. "In person she's so diminutive. I was surprised, because her voice and her personality on the air are so big!"

Coulter is a frequent comparison, says Loesch, but not a pundit she wants to imitate: "I think she makes a lot of really good points, but she immediately is polarizing. But I also love that we have polarizing people on both sides [of the aisle]. See, I can argue both sides of this one: I love that we have Michael Moore and Ann Coulter. But I think she comes off as harsh. Her good points get lost. If it really is about concern for people, then maybe make it a little more civil. And I know I'm guilty of that, it's one of my flaws: I have a sharp tongue. I can be harsh, too. But you know, if it's really about reaching beyond the choir, why approach it like that?"

For the past three years, Loesch has augmented her boys' homeschooling with weekly classes organized by a group called SHARE (St. Louis Homeschooling Activities, Resources and Encouragement). About 1,000 families are part of the 24-year-old program, whose instructors include both mothers and former public-school teachers.

One morning in January, eight-year-old Liam rushes in for his Spanish and gym classes, spitting out a hello for everyone he passes. Five-year-old Ewan clings to his mother's hip. "Liam will be a lawyer or a politician or do something in public relations," Loesch predicts, "while Ewan is gonna grow up to be a carbon copy of George Carlin."

Loesch first considered homeschooling when she was pregnant with Liam. "People hear 'homeschooler' and they think you have a clown-car uterus," she says.

"As a first-time mom, you check out everything," Loesch elaborates. "I interviewed six pediatricians before I selected one. I interviewed all my o.b.'s before I selected one. I saw that public school is not for everyone. Private school is not for everyone. And homeschooling is not for everyone."

For the Loesches, though, it made sense. "Liam is a very curious child, and I didn't think being in a room with 30 other kids would be challenging or engaging enough. I wanted to make sure he wasn't diminished in any way, and if he had problems, I didn't want him to be left behind."

The state requires a certain number of hours per year, which Loesch logs on her Palm Pre. At home she starts the boys with several hours of seated work in phonics, writing and math. Applied learning counts, too, such as the weekly trip to Costco, when Liam is placed in charge of the budget and finding the most cost-effective items. Says Loesch: "It takes us an hour and a half to get through the store."

Field trips and independent projects round out the curriculum. Last year the boys got to design trebuchets on a week's deadline after Loesch became obsessed with them ("I have a thing with flinging things"). Liam will soon have his own blog.

The boys don't seem to pine for any old-school perks, like riding a bus or carrying a lunch box — "Why would I want one of those?" Liam once asked. "My food will get stale!" — and Loesch lacks patience for critics who say homeschooled kids fail at social skills. "Whoever decided successful socialization comes with only sitting in a room of your own same-age peers, I think they're nuts. When I was in school there was one black student. That's it. In SHARE we have many black families, and we have kids with disabilities. Liam is exposed to much more diversity than I was as a kid."

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