by Rick Manning, contributor to TheHill.com
Sometimes, unexpectedly, the true feelings of a politician and perhaps even the establishment he represents seep out, and it is often stunning.
The Tulsa World reported on one of these few glimpses into the mind of an establishment Republican member of Congress at a forum attended by most of his colleagues, where Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma's 2nd District launched into a non-sequitur response to a question about the Keystone XL pipeline that left jaws dropped to the floor.
Here is what he reportedly said:
"When we look forward to the 2016 election, are we going to be looking for another politician, or are we going to be looking for a leader?
"And before you answer that, are you willing to support a leader who might have a 'D' after their name?"
He continued: "I know the room goes 'oooh' when I say that, but if we elect somebody who divides this country because he's as far to the right as this president [Barack Obama] is to the left ... we're going to still be at an impasse.
"If we don't start looking at our politicians as leaders, as individuals who are going to unite this country, and put this country way before anything else, we're going to be talking about another subject in 2017."
In one short, off-the-cuff statement, Mullin dismisses any conservative candidate for president as not having the leadership qualities necessary to unite the nation while openly contemplating supporting a Democrat whom he presumes has that ability.
Apparently Mullin has been asleep for the past six years as the man who ran as a national uniter, and stood as a symbol that you can rise to the very top of the American political structure regardless of race, has spent the past six years dashing that hope, using his administration to sledgehammer our nation's racial divide.
Mullin has eaten the poisonous fruit that claims that our nation must move inexorably to the left and anyone with the courage to oppose this erosion of liberty cannot lead or unite America.
His analysis that a conservative who stands up against the constant grind against freedom cannot bring the nation together assumes that America rejects the underlying notion of individual liberty that has been its foundation. It is also an admission of his own acceptance of the Marxist historical imperative argument that is posed so often under the guise of the inevitability of government growth and "progress."
Mullin was elected in 2014 to throw sand in the gears of President Obama's fundamental transformation of America. If, as his statement reveals, Mullin accepts that transformation as being the new normal that America should unite around, his constituents should unify around a suitable replacement, and it doesn't matter which political party they represent. After all, unity is the only standard that Mullin believes in, no matter what or whom the people are unifying behind.
Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government.