WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and the Democrats were on the brink of pushing through sprawling legislation with an eyepopping, $1.9 trillion price tag.
But many Republican politicians and conservative commentators had other priorities in recent days. A passionate defense of Dr. Seuss. Serious questions about the future of Mr. Potato Head. Intense scrutiny of Meghan Markle.
The conservatives’ relentless focus on culture wars rather than the new president highlights both their strategy for regaining power in Washington and their challenge in doing so. Unlike previous Democratic leaders, Biden himself simply isn’t proving to be an easy target or animating figure for the GOP base, prompting Republicans to turn to the kind of cultural issues the party has used to cast Democrats as elitist and out of touch with average Americans.
“There’s just not the antipathy to Biden like there was Obama. He just doesn’t drive conservative outrage,” said Alex Conant, a longtime GOP operative, who worked for the Republican National Committee in 2009 as they labored to undermine then-President Barack Obama.
“They never talk about Biden. It’s amazing,” Conant said of the conservative news media. “I think Fox covered Dr. Seuss more than Biden’s stimulus bill in the week leading up to the vote.”
The challenge is a continuation of the 2020 campaign, when then-President Trump struggled…