GOP Rep. Ann Wagner seems to be getting all hot and bothered by the fact that constituents who want to talk to her collectively in an open venue, one that is not stage-managed to avoid real give-and-take – something in which she has never, during her entire tenure, participated – aren’t quieting down, but keep getting in her face. Hence, her latest email newsletter’s opening salvo:
While there is tremendous focus on the work Congress does in Washington D.C., the time I spend in the district assisting my constituents is equally, if not more, significant. In addition to listening to your concerns and having a presence in the community, my district office provides extremely valuable services. …
Try to control your laughter.
I don’t doubt that Wagner’s staff perform their routine duties involving constituent requests adequately. I would expect nothing else. But trying to take credit for their efforts and pretending that it amounts to “listening to your concerns”? Yeah sure. And I just saw a flying pig take off from my backyard.
We’ve noticed how carefully Wagner has been listening to us over the past few years. We’ve deluged her with letters begging her not to take away our healthcare, we’ve trekked to her office time and again, to let her know how much we need her to hear us.
And what outcome have we gotten?
Wagner called a diverse group of folks trying to preserve their healthcare “radical leftists” who wanted to do her bodily harm – a big leap based on the fact that, since she wouldn’t come to us, several of us went to her home and church and, at a respectful distance, monitored by police, tried to engage her in dialogue.
Tetchy Ann claimed we “leftists” were threatening her life when some of her desperate constituents drew the outline of bodies in her driveway, symbolizing those of us who would likely die if the House Trumpcare bill prevailed. An extreme measure, perhaps, but can you blame people when they can’t manage to get the attention of their representative any other way than by big (or biggish) symbolic gestures?
Evidently believing that she could stifle constituent voices through such public whining, Wagner not only voted for the House’s mean-minded Trumpcare bill, but appeared giddily yodeling “freedom” after the foul deed was done.
When discussing the putative “harassment” she received, Wagner told one radio interviewer that ” she’s willing to sit down and discuss any concerns in a civil manner,” a claim which, based on past experience, many of her constituents doubt. But there’s an easy way for her to prove that she’s telling the truth – and it isn’t to be found in the cloying prose of her email PR newsletters. If Wagner wants folks in the 2nd district to believe her story about “listening” to the whole range of her constituents rather than just a few supporters, she can come to a real town hall – a venue where her responses could be publicly shared with the media and those unable to approach her during occasional, private, office visits, the content of which can always be swept under the rug.
Since Wagner’s been unwilling thus far to schedule such a town hall, her constituents have, once again, decided to start the ball rolling. She’s been invited to a Town Hall meeting on Aug. 24 – which will take place at the St. Charles County Center with or without her august presence.
If Wagner’s smart – and wants to be re-elected – she’ll surprise everybody and attend. Otherwise we’ll know just how important she thinks our needs really are, newsletter protestations to the contrary be damned. Or, alternatively and just as damning, we’ll finally understand that our delicate Annie is incapable of ever dealing forthrightly with the range of opinion that characterizes her district.
Wagner needs to learn that if you want to take the credit, you need to do the deed – not just talk about it.