Two years ago, Republican John Fleming, a Minden-area physician and the owner of a string of Subway sandwich restaurants, narrowly beat Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche, a Democrat, to become the next Congressman representing Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District. Fleming won the seat by a margin of only 356 votes.
Although Fleming’s victory ensured the seat remained Republican, the nail-bittingly close victory demonstrated the district’s true competitiveness, which is often overlooked by political pundits and prognosticators. Indeed, some have suggested that Carmouche could have won the seat, had his campaign not taken such an aggressively conservative stance on social issues, a stance that likely alienated both libertarians and progressives.
After two years, Congressman Fleming has already established a record and a reputation as a far right ideologue. He quickly jumped aboard Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s TEA Party Caucus. He believes that the President of the United States is “undermining this country’s national defense, on purpose.“ Just last week, Fleming made national news after he said this to the Republican Women of Bossier:
We have two competing world views here and there is no way we can reach across the aisle. One is going to have to win. We are either going to go down the socialist road and become like Western Europe and create, I guess really a godless society. Or we’re going to continue down the other pathway where we believe in freedom of speech, individual liberties and that we remain a Christian nation. So we’re going to have to win that battle; we’re going to have to solve that argument before we can once again reach across and work together on things.
Apparently, Representative Fleming believes in freedom of speech but doesn’t hold much esteem for freedom of religion. To borrow a phrase from Governor Bobby Jindal, this isn’t just politics; it’s “spiritual warfare.” Fleming refuses to even cooperate with people “across the aisle” until the Christian right decisively wins the “battle” and, once and for all, ensures that America remains “a Christian nation.” Unless and until we do that, there’s only one other alternative in Fleming’s mind: socialism and godlessness.
It was a bone-headed but revealing remark, particularly from a Congressman who beat his Democratic opponent by only 356 votes. Clearly, Representative Fleming believes he can coast to reelection by mimicking Glenn Beck and brandishing his own religious bonafides.
There’s only one problem.