It looks like the tide may be turning.
The GOP-majority Congress that wouldn't buck the president until you-know-what freezes over seems to be getting a little frosty.
We see it with the support Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker is garnering with his proposal to get a congressional vote on President Donald Trump's tariff plans.
We see it in Tennessee senatorial hopefuls' responses: As expected, Democrat and former Gov. Phil Bredesen calls the tariffs "troubling," but even Republican candidate Rep. Marsha Blackburn is trying to find a comfortable way to straddle the fence. Blackburn, who until now has tried to wrap herself in Trump, says she's "not a fan" of the tariffs but calls them "part of a negotiation." Republican gubernatorial candidate Diane Black still seems to be Velcroing herself to the president.
We see it in Washington with Sen. Mitch McConnell's ever-so-slight nod to let Corker's tariff bill get a vote if it's attached as an amendment to another bill Congress must take a vote on every year. That keeps McConnell off the hook. He won't have to allow or quash it as a stand-alone bill.
We see it with House Speaker Paul Ryan's promise Thursday that House Republicans would draft legislation on immigration, even the Dreamers, for a floor vote in the coming weeks, setting up a showdown on one of Congress' thorniest political issues just as the midterm campaigns reach fever pitch.
We also see quite clearly what it is that finally is galvanizing the spineless wonders we call lawmakers:
A new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll finds that, by a whopping 25-point margin, voters say they're more likely to back a congressional candidate who promises to serve as a check on President Donald Trump.
Wow. And that's in spite of six in 10 of those same voters giving Trump credit for their improving economic satisfaction.
Here's the breakdown. By a margin of 48-23, voters are more likely to support a congressional candidate who promises to be a check on Trump. Further, by a 53-31 margin, they are less likely — repeat, less likely by 22 percentage points — to vote for a candidate who has supported Trump's positions more than 90 percent of the time.
As a bottom line, the poll finds that Democrats lead among registered voters nationally in the House generic ballot matchup by 50 percent to 40 percent.
Well, well, well.
It's been awhile back, but we do recall our 3rd Congressional District Rep. Chuck Fleischmann telling editors and reporters at the Chattanooga Times Free Press that if Trump proved highly unpopular, he would feel comfortable running on his own record. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Fleischmann has voted in line with Trump's position 98.7 percent of the time — more than any other Tennessee representative.
Not that it matters much here in quite-red Tennessee. But the numbers do get more striking when you look at how they break down in all of the House districts that the Cook Political Report designates as competitive. (Hint: We're not one of those states, but it's a long time until November.)
By 52-19, voters in competitive House districts are more likely to support a congressional candidate who promises to be a check on Trump. And by 55-28, voters in competitive House districts are more likely to support a congressional candidate who has opposed Trump most of the time.
The Washington Post notes that this poll's other findings show Democrats enjoy a large enthusiasm gap: 63 percent are extremely interested in the midterms, while only 47 percent of Republicans have such an interest.
Other polls have shown that voters know Donald Trump is corrupt and a serial liar. They know he has a destructive bent. They may not yet know the details of the Russia probe, but they think investigators are legitimately looking into important allegations, and they think it will probably produce revelations of wrongdoing. Most importantly, most voters think Trump is trying to obstruct the probe, and they want a check on that and on Trump's my-way-or-the-highway authoritarian tendencies.
Americans are not impressed with Trump's arrogance. They don't think it's right to rip immigrant children from their parents' arms. They don't think it's right for Trump's Cabinet members to use government office to take plush vacations, charter flights, seek special consideration for franchises or order outrageously expensive office remodels on our dimes.
Voters may be overly trusting of government, but they aren't stupid.
It looks like at least some Congress members — and candidates — are noticing.