Today Digby observed that:
As the polls tighten in the last few days of the presidential election campaign, it’s interesting to see the reluctant GOP establishment start scurrying back into Donald Trump’s fold. Apparently, prominent Republicans are all making the bet that Trump will at least come close enough to make it necessary to back him, lest they be blamed for his failure.
We can now add to the number of GOP pols coming home to Trump and the new realities of the Republican Party our own GOP Rep. Ann Wagner (Dist. 2). A month ago she was quite clear that she wouldn’t touch the “the predatory and reprehensible” Donald Trump with the proverbial ten foot stick, and that she had no recourse other than to “withdraw my endorsement and call for Governor Pence to take the lead so we can defeat Hillary Clinton.”
Now that Pence has failed to heed the call to glory, she’s evidently had second thoughts. Although that’s not the way she tells it. After asking to go on the air to “clarify” her position, she told local conservative radio host Jamie Allman that:
“I have always been voting for Donald Trump, and I will do that next Tuesday, and I encourage everyone listening to vote for Trump as well,” Wagner said of the Republican nominee.
“You know, Jamie, and I don’t know why there has been some, perhaps some confusion here, but since last May, after Donald Trump released his list of Supreme Court justices I made it clear that I am voting for Donald Trump. I want an entire ticket sweep up and down. I would never be voting for Hillary Clinton. We need to stop this criminal enterprise and it is the only way, only way we are going to have a corruption-free White House.”
Several interesting points here:
First: Wagner is trying to obfuscate her earlier, very clear-cut repudiation of Donald Trump. Which leads one to ask how sanctimonious GOPers like Wagner can lie regularly with impunity and then call Hillary Clinton, who has racked up a pretty clean record for honesty if you bother to look at the facts, a liar.
Second: Wagner’s voting for a man who, speaking of criminal enterprises, may well be facing numerous indictments for fraud, bribery, and sexual assault. There are strong intimations that he’s in cahoots in some way, financial or otherwise, with Russia’s Putin. His business dealings open him to numerous looming conflicts of interest, both in the U.S. and abroad, from which he has indicated he has no intention of extricating himself. It’s just too rich to hear Wagner declare that she’s voting for a man implicated in not one but many potentially criminal scandals because she wants to stop a Clinton “criminal enterprise,” by which she means, I would guess, the demonstrably misleading spin surrounding Clinton’s use of a personal email server and the almost comically flimsy allegations about the Clinton Foundation, all very small potatoes indeed when compared to the record of Wagner’s newly reaffirmed choice for president.
Third: Wagner falls back on the argument that a vote for Trump is a vote to give conservatives the Supreme Justices they want. Such a supreme court would undoubtedly turn the flirtation between conservative constitutional interpretation and corporate hegemony into a torrid romance, giving birth to a fully empowered right-wing oligarchy in the U.S. It could also put the kibosh on abortion along with other feminist and minority aspirations – which is the real “get” for most of the folks Wagner is trying to appease with her about-face.
One wonders if Wagner’s most recent change of heart has anything to do with the fact that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the local paper of record, has just endorsed her opponent, Democrat Bill Otto? Does that endorsement reinforce fears that her hold on her redefined, more moderate second district isn’t as strong as it needs to be? Does she feel forced to turn back to Trumpsters for support? Or did she get more vitriolic GOP flak for turning on The Donald than she was expecting. Digby ably characterizes the dilemma that Trump poses for pols like Wagner:
It’s been a tough time for Republican officials and elite conservative pundits, and that’s understandable. They’ve just discovered that their voters have a different interpretation of conservatism than they thought they did.