By Ray Downs
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By Danny Wicentowski
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Confidants describe Loesch as "competitive" and "ambitious" — "When Dana decides to do something, she does it big," notes blogger Melody Meiners — but say her family comes first.
That's not to say motherhood has not borne fruit for Loesch professionally. Her witty and deeply felt "mamalogues" have attracted a national following, and with it advertising revenues and side gigs. Last year the digital-media market research firm Nielsen Online cited Mamalogues in a top sixteen list of "momfluential" bloggers.
Sometimes Loesch gets confessional on her site: "...this medium, the printed word is how I work out all of the jumbled stuff in my head. If you're a new reader you may not remember, but I've discussed before how, while in therapy as a child, writing was the skill I was encouraged to use and it helped get me through my tough times."
At other moments, almost literary: "In addition to tea compresses, vinegar rub-downs, coating them with aloe, I've had to keep [the sunburned kids] indoors for the past couple of days so their skin can heal and I've run out of both inside activities and the motivation to do them. It's like trying to keep water in your hands, this job of trying to keep two boys entertained indoors on bright summer days."
Some might consider certain narratives as oversharing; Loesch says she's increasingly holding back as Liam nears tweendom.
Friends say that protective side tends to kick in during tense social situations. Kathryn Canupp remembers an experience at Blueberry Hill where "a hand went toward Chris, and [Dana] just dove in the middle of the crowd to get to her husband, to protect that man. The next thing I know, I look down, and she's on the floor."
Adds Canupp, a paralegal who met Loesch because their significant others are friends: "She is a mama bear when it comes to her kids and her husband. Do not mess with them."
Last summer Loesch got a letter that disturbed her. "You need to shut up and get out of the way before you get hurt or your family gets hurt," it read in part. "People are under a lot of stress out here it wont [sic] take much to set them off."
She was used to hate mail. She read missives from her more colorful detractors on the air and posted them on her radio blog, even doling out "awards" to her favorites. Still, coming as it did amid the raucous healthcare town halls, just as her profile was rising nationally, this felt different.
"When something unpleasant like that happens, I always have a little moment where I freak out, I let every atom break down, and then I rebuild. I went to Chris' studio — his walls are twenty feet of concrete — and I took my kids. I'm like, 'Mommy just needs to chill for a bit.'"
Then she enrolled in self-defense and conceal-carry classes. "I wanted my kids to be able to look at their mom and be like, 'She can take care of herself.'"
Loesch declines to say whether she went through with obtaining a license. (The permits are not public records.) Nor will she divulge details about the type of guns she and Chris (who hunts) keep in the house. Among friends, says Marjorie Dellas, "she talks about her ability to use them, and don't double-cross her and come in her house when her husband goes out of town. She talks about the guns being by her bed."
Dellas calls Loesch "very strong but extremely sensitive," noting that criticism, especially of the sexist variety, "absolutely gets to her," and adding, "I think she copes by throwing herself back out there. I think it's a cyclical thing. The more response she gets, the more it fuels her fire. So if someone wants to quiet Dana, the best thing to do is not react."
About a week after Loesch talked about a healthcare town hall on Fox News last July, a local blogger, Jaelithe Judy, who writes for the liberal website Momocrats, published a piece that took Fox and Loesch to task for not disclosing that she worked for a Fox-affiliated station — thus giving the impression she was an average Jane who'd managed to bring hundreds of people to a town hall.
A public Twitter spat ensued, with Loesch writing, "Tired of fake friends and people who exploit your friendship until they have an opportunity to blog about you," and, "You're good when you get them free trips but hey, if you're a conservative you are FAIR GAME."
Judy responded, "It's part of my job at #momocrats to report on local politics and you were a main organizer of the protest I was covering," and, "I think you would have been mad at me if I had written about the town hall as if you weren't there, too."
Before long another local blogger chimed in. "If you are so pissed @Jaelithe, debate her argument — that the teabaggers aren't really grassroots," tweeted Kelli Best-Oliver, "instead of spouting thinly-veiled tweets about her being a shitty friend."