Thursday, December 1, 2011

MO-02: Ed Martin and Ann Wagner Attack Each Other Though Discredited Right-Wing Blogs

This is too funny. Ed Martin and Ann Wagner are all nicey nicey when they participate in debates and campaign events related to the GOP primary in Missouri's Second Congressional District. Martin, if you recall, even asked Wagner to sign a pledge to avoid personal attacks and focus on the issues. Of course, what that means for Martin is to use anonymous attacks and smears from supportive bloggers to attack his opponents, which is what he would do anyway.

Martin's campaign apparently sent an attack over to Tucker's Carlson's trashy site, The Daily Caller, claiming that Enterprise Rent-a-Car is trying to buy a seat in Congress via Wagner. The Caller claims that Wagner's husband, Raymond, is, "Enterprise’s government and public affairs vice president and a registered lobbyist." They further point out that Wagner has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from Enterprise or Enterprise-related employees. Finally, for added effect, the author of the Daily Caller post linked to a Wall Street Journal article claiming Enterprise was among different rental car groups that had specifically asked for a bailout from the government.

In response to the Daily Caller carrying out a Team Martin hit job, Team Wagner responded with a post from Jim "Gateway Pundit" Hoft on the equally disreputable blog Big Journalism. Shockingly, for perhaps the first time in his long career, Hoft manages to locate a couple of actual facts to support his case. It turns out that the day after the Wall Street Journal article came out, the Post-Dispatch reported that Enterprise did not want any bailout money, specifically citing the WSJ report as incorrect. So, once again, we see an apparent example of Ed Martin's campaign pushing bogus charges to smear his opponents.

As for the other stuff, Team Martin might have a point. It's true, as Hoft says, that Wagner's husband resigned from being a registered lobbyist for Enterprise when her campaign started. But that technicality means very little; our government is full of examples of revolving door politics where lobbyists quit their day jobs to work for the government crafting rules to promote the industries they just left. So it's hard to imagine that Wagner would not do the bidding of Enterprise in congress, given her fundraising network through the company and her husband's close connections, at least if she follows the example of most other congresspeople.

Also, this has seemingly turned into a battle between the tea party members who have been successful (in publicity terms) and those that haven't. Jim Hoft and Dana Loesch have apparently taken sides with Wagner, and appear to be hoping to increase their influence on the national Republican party by abandoning Ed Martin and cozying up to a very connected fundraiser and political player. On the other hand, tea partiers who have comparatively not been very successful (Jonathan Burns, Ben Evans, Darin Morley, Bill Hennessy) are sticking with Martin out of loyalty and a false belief that Martin actually represents conservative values. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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