Jeff Wagner is AM620 WTMJ's mid-day conservative talker ("The Department of Justice").
His niche is the law, as was an assistant federal prosecutor and lost a race for Attorney General to then-incumbent Jim Doyle.
That and adherence to righty political correctness will get you regular television pundit appearances on WTMJ Channel 4 when legal issues are on the agenda, and a job as the radio host who follows morning conservative talker Charlie Sykes.
In a different market, a lawyer-led show could be the basis for legal content separate from politics, but Journal Communications managers and their business model are more concerned with keeping conservative listeners from defecting at noon to the competition over at WISN 1130AM, where Rush Limbaugh is breathing fire into the later afternoon
Case in point: Wagner yesterday closed with a political shot at the Federal judge Susan Bolton in Arizona who temporarily blocked the state, on constitutional grounds, from enforcing portions of its controversial immigration law.
Wagner's reaction - - besides predicting an eventual reversal by the US Supreme Court (hardly a bold prediction given the court's current conservative tilt) - - were words to the effect of 'I just knew it would be a Clinton appointee.'
Three things about that:
First, that was also an easy guess, as Bill Clinton was President for eight years.
Secondly, Wagner knows that the judge was assigned the case. If Wagner, based on his years in the Federal Courthouse downtown knows that there is behind-the-scenes politicking within the system to get certain judges on certain assignments to get certain outcomes, based on biases - - let's hear that discussion and Ill be the first to salute it.
Finally, The Washington Post points out that Clinton made his nomination on the recommendation of Arizona Republican Senator John Kyl.
And that the judge is widely viewed as tough, fair, and meticulous.
Wagner knows that there are substantive constitutional questions raised by the Arizona law. But conservative political correctness demands that all issues be contorted to fit narrow, ideological templates.
It says a lot about the talk radio business when a guy as smart as Wagner goes along with the crowd.