The division within the House GOP caucus has won scorn from the media and liberals, but at least Republicans aren't “lemmings” taking orders like Democrats following the path of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, an influential House Republican claims.

Tennessee's Diane Black told a Ripon Society gathering that Republicans are urged to represent their districts, not march in lockstep with their leaders, in the ongoing spending fight.

Addressing the division in the GOP conference over the current Obamacare and budget fight, she said that Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders encourage members to “represent the district,” even if it results in a clash over policy.

She told a story of her experiences with Democrats who in private express support for GOP positions but change once in front of TV cameras.

“The Democrats will follow like lemmings,” she said. “I can get them behind closed doors and say, ‘What do you think about this Social Security disability insurance, which by the way that fund goes defunct in 2016, we’ve got three years to fix it.’ They’ll say, ‘It’s horrible, we’ve got to do something about it.’ And then we walk out of the back room and we get before the cameras, and I say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.’ He is saying something totally different than what he just said back there because they do follow like lemmings. And we, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent, we are really individual thinkers in our conference and our leader doesn’t say, ‘You are going to do that.’ They allow us to represent our district.”

Her comments came about 44 minutes into the above video.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at