From opening the Drudge Report, or watching Fox News the past few weeks, it is obvious that the conservative-leaning outlets with massive audiences don’t believe their people care about this bill. They care about the Democrats’ investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia running out of steam. They care about the normal things they care about: crimes immigrants commit, and what the liberals are doing.
And Trump has a sense of what they do care about. Instead of working the phones, steadying nervous legislators, or using the bully pulipit for health reform, he spent some of the crucial time before a final Senate vote tweeting about how Mika Brzezinski rang in the new year by bleeding from her face at his private Florida club. Finally! A new lead image for Drudge.
At least for now, while they have an easily distracted man in the Oval Office, and a Congress that is committed to the usual Republican priorities — tax cuts! — the populist Right is happy enough to see the president use the vast power and prestige of his office to fight the media. It’s a vision of the presidency that’s little more than Sean Hannity’s job, with a few executive orders and judicial appointments on top. Trump is, as much as he can, setting aside the whole responsibility of governance in order to prioritize the Right’s feud with what it sees as the real throne of power, the media. Instead of capturing the media, the presidency channels the Right’s rage at it.