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Stage Buisness:  Small actions … Used to fill time, create character, and sometimes to make the action “more realistic.”

Today Ann Wagner delivered the GOP Weekly Address. Although Wagner is running against Democrat Glenn Koenen for the 2nd district House seat formerly occupied by Todd Akin, we don’t hear much from her apart from an occasional mailer. She and to all appearances everybody else seems to take it for granted that she’s going to cakewalk into congress given the makeup of the district, the lack of Democratic party support for Koenen, and her enthusiastic Republican party support.

Wagner’s foregone winner status is just one of the qualifications that might have led to her selection as the GOP spokesperson of the week. She’s well-connected when it comes to Republican  party movers and shakers, of course, and it doesn’t hurt that she’s the GOP’s Missouri anti-Akin. While her votes in congress probably won’t differ too very much from what Akin’s would have been, unlike Akin she’s no dummy. It’s an understatement to say that she has the über-respectable patina that characterizes the successful members of the corporatist GOP establishment. No need to fear crude statements about legitimate rape or bullshitsus from Wagner.  

Wagner’s theme was Obama’s “Failed Presidency.” What else. She hit all the requisite bullet points. She started with the obligatory doom and gloom designed to deflect attention from the recovery – folks are hurting, debt is exploding, Obamacare scares small businessmen, and obstructs doctor-patient relationships, yada yada.

Nary a mention of the slow but steady job growth, improving housing market, increased consumer confidence, strong stock market performance, all the indicators that the economy is at last finding its legs after the battering it took at the hands of folks espousing the policies advocated by the current GOP presidential standard bearers. As Steven Kornacki notes in Salon, the irony of our current situation vis-a-vis naysayers like Wagner, is that an economic recovery set in motion by President Obama will likely be attributed to whoever wins the election this November.  

What else did she have to say? Wagner wants more domestic fossil fuel energy and claims that Obama has obstructed its development in spite of the fact his policies have increased coal and natural gas production to the point that the U.S. is now a net energy exporter. Nor has the Obama administration neglected green energy industries which are exploding – a true all-of-the-above approach to energy to which even the new moderate Mitt pays lip-service. Far from waging the “war on coal” that Wagner invokes, under Obama coal mining has expanded – to the dismay of many of his supporters. It is true that the Obama EPA has moved to regulate the toxic byproducts of coal-sourced energy – and as an exile from the clean ocean winds of the California coast who is now trapped in a city that can’t manage to meet minimal EPA standards, I, and every asthma-afflicted, lung cancer-ridden denizen of St. Louis, say more power to them.

I’m sure that Wagner performed as expected. The purpose of such set pieces, after all, is simply to disguise the artificial nature of the Republican political project. Given the emptiness of GOP policy proposals, and the fact-free assertions about what has transpired over the past fourteen years, such stage business seems to be in constant demand. Fortunately, there are numerous Republican actors in the political theatre who specialize in delivering their well-rehearsed lines right on cue. Looks like Missouri’s going to send one of them to the House of Representatives.