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.
This year, Fleming’s Democratic opponent is a well-respected and well-known Methodist minister, David Melville. Reverend Melville, incidentally, is married to the sister of former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, a Republican, and he’s spent the last few months building a broad-based, bipartisan campaign, a campaign that champions the notion of reaching “across the aisle.”
Obviously, Representative Fleming doesn’t believe in Reverend Melville’s idea of working across the aisle. Right before he dove into a rant about socialism and godlessness, Fleming said this:
He’s (Melville’s) going to say, you know, we need to get along better. We need to work and we need to stretch across the aisle. We have two competing world views here, and there is no way that we’re going to reach across the aisle. One is going to have to win. We’re either going to have to go down the socialist road and become like Western Europe and create, I guess, really a godless society, an atheist society, or we’re going to continue down the other pathway where we believe in freedom of speech, individual liberties, and we remain a Christian nation.
Two competing world views: The Republican TEA party enthusiast who believes that our country should fight an ideological civil war along religious lines in order to ensure that we “remain a Christian nation” and, of course, the Methodist minister who, because he believes in cooperation and working together, is actually promoting “socialism” and “godlessness.”
Thankfully, unlike Fleming, Melville isn’t questioning anyone else’s patriotism or religion. As my friends at The Daily Kingfish point out, Melville’s running a positive campaign. To be sure, he recognizes that challenging Fleming is no easy task. But it’s certainly made easier every time Fleming shoots himself in the foot and exposes himself as a divisive, contentious ideologue who would rather engage in cultural and spiritual warfare than actually represent the best interests of the people of the Great State of Louisiana.
I, for one, believe that David Melville can win this election, and I hope that his campaign can remain positive, though they shouldn’t be afraid of being critical. Voters should be reminded of the decision that they face, and they should understand the clear differences between Melville and Fleming. Pointing out those differences will only work to Melville’s advantage.
Thanks for a great article. I hope it gets people (from both sides of the aisle) talking about this critical race!
Please help us beat Fleming by contributing.
So, we have a Christian preacher running against an incumbent who wants to re-affirm our nation as a christian one. What’s the problem? Do you really think that being nice to the liberal pagans across the aisle is going to somehow change them. It’s bad enough that we have so many lawyers in congress. The last thing that we need is to have a bunch of preachers in congress. Oh, or is this is some sort of divine calling? I have heard that excuse whenever a preacher leaves one church to take a higher paying position at another. Give me a break. I’d rather keep an ex-naval officer and business man in office fighting for the soul of this nation than send one who makes a living preying on the fearful and week minded sheep in his flock. What’s a blogger from Alexandria doing writing about this race anyway. I think that Rodney Alexander is his congressman. Could it be that he thinks that the good Reverand will be sucessful at stealing even more of our money by way of increased taxes so it can be distributed to those who are deemed more deserving than we who earn it?
As John pointed out, I am from Alexandria, so I really have no idea about anything going on in Louisiana’s Fourth Congressional District. Apparently, they’re struggling against an onslaught of “liberal pagans,” and their preachers are all opportunistic money-grubbers who prey on the fearful and the weak-minded. (And I guess that is what he believes Reverend Melville to be).
So let me get this out in the open: The e-mail address that “John” left in the above comment traces back to John Escude, the President of the Caddo Parish Commission. Mr. Escude is a Republican who was elected three years ago.
If the above comment was, in fact, written by Commissioner Escude, then I hope he will have the courage and integrity to publicly stand behind his words. And if it wasn’t written by Commissioner Escude and if he is the victim of a hoax, then I stand ready and willing to help him figure out if someone else is blogging under his personal e-mail address.
This was in fact my blog…Mr. Melville is a good man. I have met and spoken to him. My comments on lawyers and preachers were sarcastic humor and nothing more. As the father of a daughter in law school and a former seminary student myself, I guess that I let the irony of the situation get the best of me. I prefer working businessmen and women as our elected officials. Most of them actually create things, and have more of a feel for us “average” Joe’s, such as your congressman, Alexander. We obviously have different views as to the direction that our country is heading. That is our right. Dr. Fleming has been a vocal opponent of this administrations policies. Is is not better to go down screaming than to quietly be slaughtered? When you have people like Pelosi and Reid saying that they do not care what the people of this country think, that they are not patriotic, or that they will ram legislation down our throats how are we to believe that you can even discuss the issues let alone seek common ground. You mentioned my party affiliation. Yes, I am a Republican, a Jeffersonian-Republican. “he who governs least, governs best”. I’ll stand by that until the end… By the way, I was born in Alexandria @ Cabrini and attended St Rita’s until my family moved. We all have things in common just different ideas. Peace to all….
Thank you, Commissioner Escude, for claiming ownership. With all due respect to you, I didn’t pick up on any hint of sarcasm, even if it was your intention, and frankly, I find your statement that implied Reverend Melville was somehow “preying on the fearful and weak-minded sheep in his flock” to be offensive, particularly from an elected official. Unlike you, I’ve never met Reverend Melville. I don’t know him personally. And even though you are a native-born Alexandrian, regretfully, I’ve never met you either. (My father was also born at Cabrini; I was born at Rapides).
Commissioner Ecude, as much as I earnestly appreciate your candor, I think your remarks about Rev. Melville and the members of his congregation were out-of-line and beyond the pale.
Although we may disagree politically, you seem to be a forthright guy, which I respect. I hope that you will consider issuing an apology, because I doubt anyone took your comments to be sarcasm or satire. Best of luck to you, sir.
It is mighty funny that John spews this venom against a man of GOD like Mr. Melville. Normally, folks like John break their necks to go sit at their feet to get their endorsements during campaign time. I wonder how crazy John will think the ministers of Broadmoor are next year at election time.
You really make it appear so easy with your presentation but I to find this topic to be actually something that I believe I might never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very huge for me. I am taking a look forward to your subsequent post, I?ll attempt to get the hang of it!