The God-Emperor Ascendant puts the fear of himself into the House Republicans:
The Trump effect has landed forcefully on Capitol Hill.
Less than two hours after President-elect Donald Trump criticized House Republicans — in a tweet, of course — for trying to gut an ethics investigative unit on the first day of business in the new Congress, those plans lay in shambles in the Republican conference’s meeting room…. By aiming his social-media fire hose on fellow Republicans — even as he assembles a Cabinet filled with billionaires and insiders — Trump made clear that he intends to continue giving voice to the anti-establishment outsiders who propelled him through the Republican primaries against much more seasoned politicians and to an electoral-college win against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
That may give Trump leverage over those members of the Republican conference who have claimed the “outsider” mantle for the past six years, a period when the most conservative Republicans have gained stature back home by flouting leadership, whether it was John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) as speaker or Ryan for the past 15 months.
These Republicans regularly turned their backs on party leadership and claimed ideological purity in their carefully crafted districts that were bastions of like-minded conservatives. They operated on the assumption that the only likely political penalty was a primary challenge from the right.
Now, their party’s leader wields a Twitter account with 18.5 million followers. As he prepares to enter the Oval Office in little more than two weeks, Trump is far more popular in their districts than they are. He employs as his chief strategist the former leader of Breitbart News, a conservative media outlet that has included among its top targets the skewering of Republicans not deemed suitably conservative.
As a result, the first day of the 115th Congress served as a sort of beta test of how some Republicans will react when Trump sics his media power on them. If the most conservative flank tries to buck Trump on a pricey infrastructure deal, how will they handle the heat from Trump’s Twitter feed? If moderate Republicans try to block his moves on health care, will they withstand the heat if Trump goes to Breitbart to attack them by name?
On Tuesday the answer came fast: Run for cover.
It is good to see Donald Trump putting the bully back in the bully pulpit. Someone needs to keep the corrupt bastards in line.
Want to get re-elected, Congressman? Then you’d damn well better play ball.