Edit ModuleShow Tags

The unbearable arrogance of the ungrateful plumber

Markwayne Mullin in Washington

Markwayne Mullin

Oklahoma’s 2nd District Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin, long before characterizing his House of Representatives gig as a grind for which he believes his constituents should be grateful he undertakes (more on that in a moment), has always been something of a sanctimonious, unconscionable hypocrite.

Remember this?

So I’m in Crystal City and I’m buying my groceries … and I noticed everybody was giving that card. They had these huge baskets, and I realized it was the first of the month. But then I’m looking over, and there’s a couple beside me. This guy was built like a brick house. I mean he had muscles all over him. He was in a little tank top and pair of shorts and really nice Nike shoes. And she was standing there, and she was all in shape and she looked like she had just come from a fitness program. She was in the spandex, and you know, they were both physically fit. And they go up in front of me and they pay with that card. Fraud. Absolute, 100 percent, all it is is fraud … it’s all over the place. And there you go, to the fact that we shouldn’t be supporting those who won’t work. They’re spending their money

That was the representative in 2013, deciding that the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) was a total fraud because one woman standing next to him at a grocery store looked like “she had just come from a fitness program” and the guy she was with “had muscles all over him.”

Such are the Kreskin-like socioeconomic insights from a man, a plumber by trade, who can take a quick look at quads and pecs and decide if the bearer of such tonality and muscularity is able to work.

Mullin got just about everything wrong:

SNAP eligibility rules require that participants be at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Level. Recent studies show that 44% of all SNAP participants are children (age 18 or younger), with almost two-thirds of SNAP children living in single-parent households. In total, 76% of SNAP benefits go towards households with children, 11.9% go to households with disabled persons, and 10% go to households with senior citizens.

To Mullin, though, if you need nutrition assistance, you must act and look like it—emaciated, contrite, like Oliver Twist meekly asking, “Please sir, I want some more”—before he approves of you eating. 

And use the small baskets, you leeches.

Mullin, the owner of a Mullin Plumbing (still, though he’s in his third term in congress), can’t shake the lure of the trucks of the Red Rooter.

The Office of Congressional Ethics said in its report that Mullin may have violated House rules and federal law by accepting more than $600,000 in earned income, well above the $27,000 limit for House members; and the office said Mullin may have violated House rules by appearing in broadcast ads promoting the company and in a home improvement show.

Mullin was so appalled that his integrity was being questioned by investigators that he supported those legislators who criticized and wanted to do away with—wait for it—the investigators.

House Republicans, overriding their top leaders, voted on Monday to significantly curtail the power of an independent ethics office set up in 2008 in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.


Back to our show. 

Mullin, as many of you know, sprung a leak last month when he told constituents during a town hall meeting that he, not they, pays his salary and, if truth be told, doesn’t even like the damn job.

“You say you pay for me to do this? That’s bullcrap. I pay for myself,” Rep. Markwayne Mullin told constituents at a town hall in Jay, Oklahoma. “I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.”

For the love of a discharge hose, really? 

“This is a service for me, not a career,” he said. “I thank God this is not how I make my living.”

This is why you thank God?

The job, which he mocks, pays him $174,000 per year—an amount he apparently considers chump change. So, I have two questions:

1) Why take the job? 

2) Can we have the money back?

The institution he belittles, the congress he condescends to frequent, and the funding mechanisms against which he rails (read: Obama’s stimulus package) also saved his company from the septic tank.

Markwayne Mullin, who has made reigning in federal spending a centerpiece of his campaign, said he  … was unaware a federal program he has criticized was the source of the money.


“We didn’t know,” Mullin told the AP in a telephone interview. “We send out bids every day. We’ve got 120 employees we’ve got to keep busy. We got paid for doing the work through the Cherokee Nation. We worked for the Cherokee Nation.”

Didn’t know? Whatever, dude. On behalf of taxpayers, you’re welcome, by the way.

There are a lot of things he didn’t know. 

“This country isn’t ran [sic] by just one individual, it’s ran [sic] by four branches, but three branches that are in control of this. As long as those three branches control it, then we all have to figure out how to negotiate. Not all of us is [sic] going to get 100% of what we want, but we should do what’s right.”


But wait, he does want 100 percent.

“If we want to put prayer back in our schools, our communities have to stand up; the churches have to stand up; the parents have to stand up. They have got to say, ‘No, we want it in our schools.’ We’re going to do what we want to do because it’s our schools. It’s our public schools.”

de Tocqueville weeps.

Mullin, like his colleague 1st District Representative Jim Bridenstine, has always danced with the GOP fringe and savored the burnt crust of their misshapen and odd-tasting American pie. To wit, when asked by some lunatic named the “Birther Queen” about his thoughts on President Obama’s legitimacy after the 2012 campaign, Mullin had a big sad.

“I believe what you’re saying and I don’t support this president whatsoever. But, ma’am, we lost November 6th. We had the opportunity to get another president in there ... We had four years to take care of that. Our country’s facing some serious issues. If the rest of the American people thought that was a big enough issue, which I thought it probably would’ve been. Who would’ve thought we would ever actually be questioning if we had a natural-born president being president? Who would’ve ever thought that we’d actually be there? ... So when I say we lost the argument, we lost that argument. Now let’s move on to some other issues. I believe it’s still there, but my God if we didn’t prove it the first four years, what do you think the chances are now?”

“I believe what you’re saying …”

Mullin is the embodiment of legislators who think their role is to ridicule the very notion of governance, who perpetuate lies and fears and misinformation because it sells and snugly fits into a callow, incurious worldview, of legislators who hate politics. Look at his website, mullinforcongress.com. He’s been in congress going on six years and is still reminding people he’s not a politician. He deals in bromides and bombast, then hides behind his own pissy ignorance and … wait for it.

“Recent blog posts and media reports claiming Congressman Mullin has filed for re-election are inaccurate,” Mike Stopp said in a written statement. “These false reports appear to have been generated by a routine filing with the Federal Election Commission. Congressman Mullin and his family are continuing to pray about this important decision.”

So what do you call it when a politician trots out God to inoculate himself from criticism and to appear modest, humble, and holier than thou? 


For more from Barry, read his article on TPS superintendent Deborah Gist.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from this author 

Running through the rope

My conversation with Mayor Bynum, pt. 5

Lapdog and pony show

Reps. Hern and Mullin serve the president

How Trump got his Oklahoma girl

The GOP fulfills a vision

Revolution by template

The University of Tulsa’s sleight of hand

Identity crisis

The University of Tulsa’s ‘reimagining’ touches a nerve