Democrats may, at this moment, be in the first year of a replica performance of that of the GOP congress over the course of the Obama administration. Which is to say, spending every second of time complaining about the president, and absolutely zero time creating any substantive alternative policies of their own. I have no idea whether that's the case. The point though is this: if that's where the party is, they have a huge added advantage in the fact that the current president can't even seem to maintain a cordial relationship with his own party. For now anyway, they can just sit back and watch it all burn. This week's Trump panic power rankings start with the Big Kahuna himself...
1. Donald Trump
Trump’s his own worst enemy this week. He appears to be headed for a substantive policy showdown (not his specialty) with the House on a key provision of his own party’s tax reform bill, which could well be his last chance at passing a signature piece of legislation in his first year in office. And yet, he still can’t let go of the NFL or getting into back-and-forths with gold star parents and spouses. BTW, he still isn’t enforcing the Russia sanctions congress made him sign into law, and has not given a reason for not doing so.
2. Senators Bob Corker and 3. Jeff Flake
Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been feuding with Trump for weeks now, and it seems to be having a bit of a snowball effect. Just hours after saying Trump would be remembered for “the debasement of our nation,” fellow conservative Republican Flake went ahead and gave a Carman-esque “screw you guys, I’m going home” speech announcing that he would be running for re-election and urging his fellow Republicans to voice in public the displeasure with Trump they voice so often in private. He called Trump “dangerous to our democracy.”
4. Kevin Brady
Trump, desperate to have anything he can claim as a tangible middle-class benefit to his tax overhaul aspirations, has come up with the idea that, no, dug deep, strained his mental capacity to its breaking point, and come up with, “no, I won’t allow them to mess with your 401k.” Representative Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, will make no such promise for his version of the overhaul. If you’re counting, that’s four consecutive members of Trump’s own party giving him headaches.
5. Senator John McCain
A maverick at twilight. This was his reaction when asked by the ladies of The view if he is afraid of Trump:
Asked if he was scared of Trump's threat to fight back against him, @SenJohnMcCain laughs. "I mentioned that I had faced greater challenges" pic.twitter.com/FYxsbNqdJd
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 23, 2017
6. George W. Bush
And here’s a fifth—without naming Trump, Bush gave a speech slamming him, to great fanfare. The fact that Trump is making people nostalgic for W and turning him into some revered old lion of American politics has to be his most impressive accomplishment to date.
7. General John Kelly
The supposed adult in the room was dragged into the gold star family debate when Trump used the memory of Kelly’s son (who died in Afghanistan) as a means of attacking Barack Obama. Kelly remained calm and supportive of his boss, but you have to think he’ll remember that one down the line.
8. Robert Mueller and 9. Paul Manafort
One is working very diligently, with a large team of bright legal minds, on making what appears to be an airtight money-laundering case against Trump’s one-time campaign manager. The other is Trump’s one-time campaign manager, a man with no official position in the administration and a family, who could potentially implicate so very many humans that work in and around the White House as presently constituted.
10. Jeff Sessions
At some point, someone, somewhere in Congress is going to consult a competent legal authority as the legality of Sessions’s simultaneous refusal to answer questions under oath and refusal to claim executive privilege. Spoiler alert: it’s not legal. Irony alert: Sessions is the ranking law enforcement officer in the land.