The Fall and Fall of Evan McMullin

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 December 16, 2016|
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Thought the #NeverTrump fiasco was kaput now that the election is over? Think again.

Though many Never Trumpers have abandoned the field and are cautiously optimistic in light of Donald Trump’s post-election actions, others cling tenaciously to their cause. Evan McMullin, the presidential candidate seemingly fabricated by Bill Kristol in a laboratory, remains steadfast in  his quixotic quest to become the Torquemada of True Conservatism.

In case you have forgotten who McMullin is (though you and most other Americans might find it impossible to forget someone you never really knew), he worked for the CIA for 10 years overseas, followed by a stint at Goldman Sachs, and then spent a few years as a House staffer until earlier this summer. He was flattered into running for president by the same brain trust that hatched a failed scheme to recruit David French, a relatively obscure writer and lawyer at National Review, for the purpose of thwarting Trump and electing Hillary Clinton. French, however, was self-respecting enough to understand when he was being taken for a fool; McMullin, not so much.

To no one’s surprise, McMullin’s candidacy was largely a sideshow, aimed at providing cover for movement conservatism in the event of the “inevitable” loss these gurus were convinced was coming for Trump.. His campaign was straight out of a Christopher Buckley novel; though he evidently wasn’t in the on the joke. Self-awareness is not one of McMullin’s strong suits, to say the least.

McMullin ran on the platform that if only Americans would invoke the principles of the Declaration of Independence enough, and apply them to the whole world with verve, we could solve our national problems. Never mind the hard work of connecting principles to policies that serve the common good. Statesmanship is for chumps. Simple sophistry will suffice to bind our nation’s wounds. The rednecks in Appalachia just need to quit their incessant yapping about their trials and travails and read their trusty pocket Constitutions everyday. That’ll do the trick.

At this point, McMullin has resigned himself to being a Twitter warrior, calling out Trump for everything under the sun.

McMullin has castigated Trump’s pick of former Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon as his chief strategist, calling Bannon a “white supremacist darling” and an “anti-Semite.” Bannon, along with Trump appointees Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions, are “antagonistic to religious and other minorities.” The writers at left-wing fever swamps like Salon and the Daily Kos couldn’t have said it better! Though these charges are absolutely baseless, that hasn’t dissuaded McMullin from spreading every bit of lurid anti-Trump propaganda he can dream up. Evidently, this is what “principled conservatism” has come to be. Fair play and honest assessment of character be damned.

As for Trump, McMullin has called him an “autocrat” who wants to erode our democratic institutions so that he can “wield power” and establish an “international kleptocracy.” Those who make such charges seem to be unaware of the despotism perpetuated by the unaccountable bureaucrats who run the administrative state—the same bureaucrats Trump has promised to rein in. As William McGurn notes in the Wall Street Journal,

What’s striking here is that the same folks who see in Mr. Trump a Mussolini in waiting are blind to the soft despotism that has already taken root in our government. This is the unelected and increasingly assertive class that populates our federal bureaucracies and substitutes rule by regulation for the rule of law. The result? Over the Obama years, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reckons, Washington has averaged 35 regulations for every law.

McMullin, of course, has nothing at all to say about this political reality. Instead, he evidently thinks that throwing around some meaningless evocations of “liberty” and “equality” is sufficient.

McMullin has also succumbed to Putin fever, seeing foreign agents of the Kremlin lurking in every corner. Most conservatives—including many NeverTrumpers—have understood the CIA-originated “reports” of Russian interference in the election allegedly on Trump’s behalf to be a rehash of an old charge. Even if evidence supported Russian ties to the hack of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, among others, no evidence suggests the hack (as opposed to the true information the hack exposed) influenced the election. Yet McMullin has gone on a tirade straight out of the Cold War, buying the report and the spin about it without exhibiting the least bit of curiosity about the timing or the findings.

McMullin accused Trump of “purposefully dismantling barriers that protect our nation from dangerous Russian subversion.” In a particularly egregious display of malice, McMullin claimed that “Donald Trump is not a loyal American.” I understand that some Americans are appalled at Trump’s election. But calling Trump a traitor to his country is beyond the pale. If he had any real regard for the truth, McMullin would be ashamed of himself.

In any event, such reports shouldn’t be taken at face value. As an ex-CIA officer, McMullin—of all people—should know this. Why would this report re-surface now, ahead of the Electoral College meeting on Monday, and when it’s been known for some time that such hacking was taking place? (And as John Hinderaker of PowerLine notes, the White House and other executive office computer systems were hacked a couple years ago with little national outcry to speak of.)

Does the CIA, an agency that’s gotten so many things wrong over the years, have direct evidence that proves Russia hacked the emails and that they did so in order to help Trump win? And even if there were proof of Russia’s involvement and intent, would this “proof” be dispositive evidence that Russia influenced American voters as opposed to, say, Hillary Clinton’s character and actions? The Washington Post’s own account begrudgingly admits that they don’t have direct evidence to back up these claims:

The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered. For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees.

(The idea that a lack of direct evidence is only a “minor” detail is laughable.)

And why did the FBI conclude months ago that the RNC—which another leak reported by the New York Times said was hacked as well—in fact was never hacked? If the emails supposedly handed Trump the election, why did Mike Rogers, the head of the NSA, and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) conclude only a few short weeks ago that the hacking did not influence the outcome of the election?

Surely, much more needs to be known to assess what’s really happened. That Russia and other countries try to influence United States policy and elections through espionage (and that the U.S. does the same to other countries) should not shock anyone. Nations have interests and they do what they can to promote them. But the claim that Russia “hacked our elections” (whatever that means) and that such “hacks” were the determining factor in Trump’s victory just doesn’t hold any water.

Instead, this claim should be viewed as part of a much larger campaign to delegitimize Trump’s presidency before it even begins. The fact that  Clinton’s 2016 campaign was the worst in modern American history apparently eludes liberals. They remain undeterred, feverishly spinning outlandish theories by which Hillary can be installed as president. Not demonstrating any interest in why their party took yet another shellacking from voters, they are now pointing the finger at anyone and anything (e.g., the Russians, racism, fake news, sexism, dumb voters, etc.) but themselves for their complete and utter incompetence. And yet according to Evan McMullin, Trump is the one sabotaging democratic norms.

Predictably, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s nomination to be the next secretary of state has drawn McMullin’s ire. Tillerson has a working relationship with Vladmir Putin, along with many other heads of state, because of his international business dealings in the oil and gas industry. He received an important-sounding award, the Russian Order of Friendship, in 2013 from Putin. (Other “agents of Russia” who have won the award include former Cleveland Cavaliers basketball coach David Blatt and, posthumously, the American pianist Van Cliburn.) McMullin has argued that Tillerson is a useful patsy for Trump, because he won’t stop Trump’s “alignment with Putin.” (“Alignment” seems to be his term for when someone doesn’t want to start World War III with Russia at the slightest provocation.) But James Baker, Robert Gates, Condoleezza Rice, and Stephen Hadley applauded the appointment, with Gates calling Tillerson “a person of great integrity whose only goal in office would be to protect and advance the interests of the United States.” So are Baker, Gates, Rice, and Hadley also among Putin’s flunkies?

McMullin’s flailing about is entertaining, but it is also a stark reminder of the failures of the conservative movement. Speeches filled with high-flown rhetoric about principles are not enough. And a conservatism that takes its moral bearings from identity politics is worthless. We should be thankful that voters had the sense to stay away from such foolish grandstanding. And we should continue to pray that their minds remain as clear as they were on Election Day.

About the Author:

Mike Sabo
Mike Sabo is a Mt. Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a recent graduate of the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. He and his wife live in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • JClarke

    I suppose ending the importation of extremist Muslims from Somalia and other Islamic hellhole war zones equals being “antagonistic to religious and other minorities”. Allowing fellow Americans to suffer further from the pitfalls of diversity of the Islamic variety is true “principled conservatism” I guess. Principled conservatism is now a meaningless phrase. Evan McMillan and his followers have put in their lot with the global elites, Center-Right-Left establishment, Chamber of Commerce business elite, Military-Security-Tech-Industrial-Complex etc. against us in normal American. McMullin’s 15 minutes of fame are long up.

    • ricocat1

      Evan McMULLIN is so insignificant that you (in your first mention of his name), and millions of others, don’t even bother to learn to spell his name correctly. Perhaps McMuffin is an appropriate spelling for such an irrelevant clown.

  • Severn

    Even if evidence supported Russian ties to the hack of the Democratic
    National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, among
    others, no evidence suggests the hack (as opposed to the true information the hack exposed) influenced the election.

    There’s no evidence that the DNC was hacked by anyone. The best evidence suggests that the emails were leaked by a disgruntled DNC insider.

    • JClarke

      Seth Rich? I’m thinking Seth Rich was the courier for the DNC leaker. The guy who was shot in the back in D. C. in an unsolved murder. It was supposedly a ‘robbery’ but none of his valuable belongings were taken. Wouldn’t put this past the Clinton Crime Family.

  • Peter63

    There seem to me to be two categories of NeverTrump ‘conservatives’: (1) the professional pundits who write for publications and appear as often as they can on broadcasting media; and (2) individuals –
    perhaps quite few and far between (who knows?) – in the general public.

    As regards the latter, they strike me as belonging to that minority in any society which always finds the supremely irrelevant truths to brandish in any situation. For instance, if someone be convicted of being a hate-driven mass-murderer and sentenced either to death or life imprisonment, the Habitually Obtuse declare loudly that that individual is a human being (true) and that all of us need forgiveness (true) and that forgiveness is of the essence of Christianity (true) – and therefore the felon should be released:
    perverse wrong deduction.

    Donald Trump is not a conservative pure and simple, far from it. He is no Barry Goldwater nor William F. Buckley Jr. Yet he is the first presidential candidate in any party or none in 28 years to offer actually to do some conservative things which are most urgently necessary and of the first importance. All the other candidates have either from the start gone with the flow demanded by the Big Money and Political Class/Mainstream Media/Administrative State racket; or buckled the moment they were attacked and challenged.

    Trump offers to conserve the historic American nation from being so diluted by mass immigration of Third World people that it loses its best traditions; and he offers to preserve the Constitution as intended by the Founding Fathers. This is evinced by his talk of building The Wall and doubling down on it when venomously attaced from all sides by the Big Money and Political Class/MainstreamMedia/Administrative
    State apparatus. Had Hillary won, the following would have been destroyed, probably for ever: the historic American nation, the Constitution, and any further chance of Real Conservatism making a
    comeback.

    As to the first category of NeverTrump ‘conservatives’: Jonah Goldberg, David French, Charles Krauthammer &c, even to some degree Ben Shapiro – their motives seem to me still less admirable than the perversity of the Habitually Obtuse members of society.

    I strongly suspect the NeverTrump ‘conservative’ pundits have been seeking to defend their paid roles and self-importance as professional commentators and justifying their failure to hammer the Republican Party with giant force and zeal all these years gone by for its selling-out of the United States and its best traditions. If since the retirement of Ronald Reagan they had poured onto the Republican Party establishment 20% of the red-hot criticism with which they have basted Mr Trump these past 18 months they would have served the republic well.

    Instead they have been part of the Problem and Trump coming along as antidote exposes them for their (effectual) part in the general Sell-Out.

    He is the small boy who has piped up ‘The Emperor has no clothes at all!’ and they show for the courtiers who were pretending all these years gone by that the monarch – the Uniparty – was clad in robes of amazing preternatural gossamer-fine fabric.

    • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

      Excellent analysis. Your third-from-last paragraph reminds me of another column I read here on Amgreatness–essentially a parody on NRO’s “The Conservative case for [insert pet Liberal cause]. I’m sure Goldberg or Schoolmarm French already had one ready to go on Nov. 9th entitled “The Conservative case for Hillary.”

    • “perhaps quite few and far between (who knows?) – in the general public.”

      There appears to be a colony of them at the allegedly conservative site Ricochet.

  • HarleyYost

    I’m beginning to think the CIA is a BS job for fakers, liars, cheats and scoundrels. First that socialite wannabe Valerie Plame was supposedly “outed” as a CIA operative. Then there’s this joker McMullin. And now we’ve got a group of lawless political hacks in the CIA leaking to the left-wing media but refusing to answer to the people’s respresentatives.

    The CIA sounds like a swamp in need of draining.

    • Haga Akane

      I have a friend who worked for the CIA. He (obviously) didn’t go into great detail about what he did, but it involved reading newspapers, magazines and some classified documents and writing reports. He also told me about 99.999% of the CIA workforce did this kind of work or something else similarly mundane.

      I don’t share this to knock agents of “The Company”; I concede this is important work and they’re pretty good at it. But folks do need to keep these issues in perspective.

    • iopiopiop

      as in

      • iopiopiop✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

        gobin

  • psrieth

    I was reading this thinking “boy this writer knows his stuff” – I get to the end and OF COURSE it is a fellow Hillsdale alumnus.

    The reason I don’t worry about the NeverTrumpers is because of President Donald J Trump (I’m tired of the “Elect” part).

    It is so wonderful that HE is in charge. I trust he knows the score.

    • ricocat1

      I always refer to him as PRESIDENT Donald J. Trump because I enjoy upsetting liberals.

  • ricocat1

    Evan McMuffin was irrelevant during the 2016 presidential election and is doomed to forever remain irrelevant during the entire eight years of the Donald Trump presidency.

  • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

    Evan McMullin is the embodiment of cuckery. Clueless in his Leftism draped in amulet words like “Equality” and “Constitutionalism,” weak, creepy and pettily vicious, he was the last petard that the #Never crowd lobbed at the Trump Train, only to see it blow up in their faces. Now this eternal nobody is trying to slither from under the rock of his irrelevance to ankle-bite Trump and his agenda.

    One of the best outcomes of this election (I know, it’s getting really hard to pick!) is the fact that sunlight has finally been shone on the traitors in our midst–from the globalist poodleticians with an “R” after their names to the stale intellighentsia fluffing them up (NRO is a great place to get examples). Speaking of NRO, for a laugh it is worth going there and seeing how Jonah Goldberg is finally coming to the realization that the #Nevertrump movement is yesterday’s news. And to think they pay this guy to write.

    • Peter63

      100 upvotes. I do agree that ‘one of the best outcomes of this election…is the fact that sunlight has finally been shone on the traitors’ -YES!!

    • Haga Akane

      Hey, how do you get a “check deplorable” after your Disqus name? I want one too!

      • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

        Copy mine, then go to your profile and paste it after your name.

        • Haga Akane ✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

          Thanks!

    • Tkopfens

      WOW! you nailed it!

  • Dan Schwartz

    Without Evan McMullin siphoning off 53,076 votes, Trump would have beaten Hillary there, too. http://electionresults.sos.state.mn.us/Results/President/100?officeInElectionId=10733

  • Dave Edwards

    For someone is irrelevant, you are sure spending a lot of time on him. Move on, kid.

    • colleenaplin

      If you read the article and try to understand it (if you are capable) you would figure out it addresses a lot more than just McMullin.

      • Dave Edwards

        How rude! If he wants to address these other issues, he should have instead of focusing on this loser.

        • colleenaplin

          Why are you going on about “rude” when your comment referred to someone as “kid”? Did you not understand that your comment was being responded to in kind, at the level you set? Probably not.

          I repeat: you have not read the article and understood it, particularly regarding the deficiencies (and shallowness) of the “movement conservative” construct which is the real problem, along with people who allow themselves to think a certain way instead of being more open minded. That’s what the target is here. Evan McMullin is just a symptom of the cancer, which we are working on reversing.

        • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

          Sorry, pal, but you were the rude one. McMullin, though irrelevant, was a symptom of how far the #NT crowd (read: GOP establishment) was going to sabotage this election. The fact that he is now on the TV circuit as an anti-Trump talking head makes him very much fair game for articles such as these.

    • Sven von Ovenburg
  • Epaminondas
  • Party of Lincoln

    If this isn’t conclusive proof that “American Greatness” is nothing more than a shill blog for Donald Trump, as if we needed any more such proof, this is it.

    The casual dismissal of Putin’s intervention in the election, which at least “American Greatness” has the decency not to deny, is itself beyond the pale. We cannot know the effect of Putin’s hacking into the DNC’s computers — my view is that Hillary deserved to lose and that Trump was the lesser of the two evils and that Putin’s hacks/leaks didn’t tip the election in the end — but grave concern should at least be expressed here that a Russian dictator saw in Trump the right man for the job of being President of the United States.

    Lest anyone believes that Putin is just a misunderstood leader — after all, Trump has praised Putin as a “strong leader”, so why wouldn’t Trump’s sycophants here believe it? — let’s take a look at Commentary magazine’s catalogue of Putin’s crimes:

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/uncategorized/vladimir-putin-war-criminal/

    Just to take one example that’s conveniently overlooked at “American Greatness”, it is accepted as fact in the West that the Kremlin ordered the strike against the Malaysian Airlines plane over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 on board. And there is more, much more.

    It will be interesting to see which side “American Greatness” takes when Trump recommends to Congress that sanctions on Russia be eased or even lifted altogether.

    One must ask why Putin chose Trump as his “useful idiot”.

    • colleenaplin

      We can have an investigation into the “Russian intervention”, via. Congress when all three of Brennan, Clapper, and Comey are prepared to co-operate and be fully transparent. How short your memory must be if you cannot even recall that there was a no-show after the House requested a briefing. This was unacceptable.

      Your faux outrage and shallow talking points are just that. Everyone knows the hysteria last week was about trying to create a snowball to influence the Meeting of the Electors tomorrow (even most NeverTrumpers accept this is what it was about). There was nothing formally submitted by Brennan/Clapper/Comey as a unified package of evidence. Indeed there was no new evidence found since the election, it was all largely a narrative driven by WaPo/NYT (in tandem with Brennan).

      If Dems were genuinely interested in a peaceful transition right now the landscape would be very different. Once Trump is inaugurated we can look into all of this in a calm systematic manner, without politicization by the likes of Brennan. Why you can’t/won’t see this is why you are the type who has backed losers who don’t have the first clue regarding big picture and strategy, always losing out to Dems, who do not play nice and civilized.

      • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

        Let’s not feed the troll, Colleen. 🙂

        • colleenaplin

          Some people seem scared about the emergence of this site. I don’t blame them 🙂

      • JoshInca

        Brennan and Clapper are both self admitted admitted perjurers, no serious person, let alone a Congresscritter, should trust anything either say.

    • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

      I’m starting to think you are a troll. Prove a negative, just like you’re de facto asking us to prove there wasn’t Russian hacking. As for being a “useful idiot,” well… you seem to gobble up talking points with some gusto, friend.

      I’m being honest here about you being a troll. You’re here, on a pro-Trump site, calling us sycophants and playing contrarian for the sake of it, veiling your trollitude in kitschy turns of phrases like “lest anyone believes” (it’s “believe,” subjunctive, BTW).

      Troll.

    • Sven von Ovenburg

      Why is Putin such a Boogieman?

      Did he Holocaust some NeoCons or something?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4a943a526f753aebf845ab649ac08d4edfe7f730388057ea3936ee6a6319f35d.jpg

    • Wesley Young

      “One must ask why Putin chose Trump as his “useful idiot”.”
      Because you weren’t available? They might think your pathetic post is great stuff over at huffpo, but we hold posters to a higher standard here.
      No one here thinks Putin is a boy scout. But we’ve known that all along, ever since Romney said that Russia was our biggest opponent and obama claimed the 80’s called wanting their Cold war back. Russia invaded Georgia in August of 2008. In March of 2009, obama and hillary gave Russia a “reset” button that condoned Russia’s actions. All through obama term in office, he and hillary enabled Putin to invade the Crimea and the Ukraine. The Ukraine America vowed to protect if they gave up their nukes. That’s another ally obama and hillary stabbed in the back. obama and hillary destroyed the stability in the ME and NA, pushing their erstwhile ally Assad into the arms of Putin. hillary made millions and billy $500 thousands when hillary facilitated the sale of 20% of our uranium reserves to Russia. hillary also received millions for helping to transfer our hi-tech to Russia. obama and hillary have been aware of the decades of Russian hacking, us and everyone else. Dozens of government agencies have been hacked by the Russians since obama took office, and he did nothing. When Trump said he would wait to see the outcome before accepting the election, obama and hillary railed against him saying no one could affect our elections and Trump was a traitor for bringing it up. All this and you have the gall to claim it’s Trump who is in bed with Putin. hillary lost, but the left wants to overturn our rule of law. They have to demonize and vilify Trump and his supporters to justify their despicable actions. They want to deligitimize Trump for their own nefarious ends and you’re willing to do and say anything to achieve your ends. All your actions and words only demean you and set the precendents that will be used against you further on down the road.

      • TravisJSays

        Sen Tom Cotton made the point this morning: POLICY-wise, President Trump is tougher on Russia and Putin than Obama ever was. Trump is making our military stronger, drilling and supporting US oil production and Natgas exports to Europe, and the sanctions are still in place. President Trump’s team wont let any nation, including Russia, roll the US. Obama did that repeatedly.

    • Severn

      There is zero evidence that Russia “intervened in our election”, or that it hacked the DNC’s computer.

      The DNC emails were leaked by a DNC insider.

      let’s take a look at Commentary magazine’s catalogue of Putin’s crimes

      Why would anybody believe anything written in Commentary, the self-styled Jewish propaganda sheet?

    • silencedogoodreturns

      Jonah! Is that you?

  • Wesley Young

    Evan McMuffin and Mickey Finn were part of a hair brained scheme lifted from the Dixiecrats of 1948. It didn’t work then and it hasn’t worked now. There were hundreds of establishment repubs who supported Hillary over Trump. They did it because they take their orders from the plutocrats rather than their constituents. They opposed Trump as a primary candidate and a general election candidate. They will continue to oppose him once he becomes President. The plutocracy wants to see Trump fail, through opposing his agenda and impeaching him if necessary. The Congress want him to betray his supporters just as they have.

  • jack dobson

    People casually mention we have “17 intelligence agencies” before they spin the latest lie/conspiracy theory as to how Trump was elected. The seventeen includes the CIA, which along with the State Department is the most corrupt and incompetent of them all. Couldn’t we shutter the CIA and others and come up with something consolidated that…works? If D.C. can have anything that works any longer, it surely should be intelligence gathering. The Islamist-friendly CIA, which missed the rise of ISIS and months before the fall of the USSR predicted the Russian economy would surpass ours, only does domestic political meddling somewhat not ineptly.
    I’ll lay down some cards here, too. McMullin is the face of the evil that is the Administrative State, the Dark State, that has corrupted our republic. He is more symptom than disease, but his “service” never was to the United States but to the corrosive aspects of capital and the deranged globalist utopians. In other words, he ultimately is a traitor our nation state and his fall into squalid disrepute is satisfying to watch. He can fall more as there is no bottom in the cesspool in which he swims.

  • Sean✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

    His head looks like a penis, ’nuff said.

  • JoshInca

    You forgot to mention McMullen getting in touch with his inner progressive and denouncing republican voters as racist xenophobes.