The St. Louis Beacon recently noted that Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2) was pulling in campaign donations in a way that is truly “notable for a House first-termer,” and “significantly above the norm among Missouri members of Congress in either party.” Consequently, it stands to reason that Wagner is going to have to prove her worth the folks who have invested in her.
It’s for this reason that it’s worth giving special attention to her response to President Obama’s speech in Warrensburg on Wednesday in which she seized the initiative to go on the warpath for the Keystone XL pipeline, declaring that:
Right now, President Obama can approve the Keystone XL pipeline and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs while ushering in a new era of energy independence.
Of course, unbiased analysis casts doubt on such rosy job numbers (see also here). As for energy independence, a recent report notes that the pipeline will likely result in higher gas prices in the U.S. Last I heard, increasing energy prices wasn’t that good for the economy. It goes without saying that Wagner, a standard-issue GOP climate change denier, isn’t concerned with the economic costs that would result from the negative environmental impact of the pipeline.
Repeating false rhetorical sound-bites, though, is what being Republican is all about, and it shouldn’t really excite much surprise that Ann Wagner’s got that skill down solid. It is interesting, though, that she chose Keystone XL as her pivot-point rather than what seems to be the rather uniform GOP talking points du jour as exemplified by her Missouri colleagues, who en masse seem want to pretend that the President is just talking pretty talk while they’ve somehow been concentrating on the economy inbetween the endless hearings attempting to find or create an administration scandal.
Wagner’s fundraising sources suggest that she may have been doing a little multitasking. Our Ann seems to have figured out that she can go after the president, and at the same time put in a plug for one of those projects favored by the Big Oil interests and energy PAC folks who have funded a big chunk of her sizable war-chest.
Wagner has been promoted as a GOP anti-Akin although her views about many issues that made Todd Akin, well, Todd Akin are not too different. The real difference between Akin and Wagner may be their willingness to dance to the big money tune. There’s a reason that Ann Wagner can pull in the bucks, and an unwashed Tea Party favorite like Ed Martin can’t. I’m betting that a big part of her appeal hinges on her highly connected history within the Missouri and national Republican party – that is to say, the corporatist wing of the party, which we sometimes refer to as the Republican establishment. She may be able to polish up the fringewing base when necessary, but she quite clearly knows who’s polishing what as far as her political career goes. As a result, Wagner won’t miss a chance to signal that she’s going to do her best for the 1 percent who pay her campaign bills. Missouri now has a another GOPer camping out in what has been up until now exclusively Roy Blunt territory.