Meeting The Man

These are days of darkness for the Republican party and the nation, and my selfie with Evan McMullin reflects that unfortunate fact. Also, of course, the bad lighting at the Americana restaurant on Locust Street last night.

But I was privileged to meet that humble patriot yesterday evening. Evan, for those who don't know, worked for the CIA part-time in college, and full-time afterward, eventually becoming a clandestine anti-terrorism operative in the Middle East. 9/11 prompted his decision to go full time. So he went to war against al Quaeda and ISIS and the enemies of our country and of freedom.

When he left the CIA, he went to Wharton Business School (the one Donald Trump lied about having graduated from with honors) and went into finance. He later worked for the United Nations helping refugees and for the Republican caucus in the United States House of Representatives, working first as its advisor on national security and later as its policy director. When the Republican party disgraced itself by nominating Donald Trump, Evan- like me, and many others- hoped that some present or past member of Congress or governor or former presidential candidate would step up to carry the banner of genuine Republicanism and conservatism against that phony and the equally dishonest and unfit harridan the Democrats nominated, But none did,

At last, he was asked to run himself. He said he considered it his duty. He could not stand by and watch the country he loved and had served so faithfully be put at risk by allowing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to go unchallenged.

He had worked in the Middle East, he said, against authoritarian tyrants just like Donald Trump, and recognized the type. He forthrightly addressed the most valid argument those who plan to vote for Trump have: the assertion that Trump is more likely than Hillary to appoint originalist justices who would interpret the Constitution as written rather than re-write it as they thought it should have been written. And he was blunt about why he believed the argument didn't hold water. And I agree with him.

He'd seen Trump's type before, he said. Yes, Trump had promised at one point to appoint Supreme Court nominees from a list submitted by The Federalist. good candidates all. Yet just the other day reports began to circulate that he planned to appoint financier and Trump crony Peter Theil, who isn't even a lawyer. And during the debates, he put forward his own radical, pro-abortion sister as an example of the kind of justice he'd appoint!

Donald Trump, Evan pointed out, simply can't be trusted to keep his word about anything. He lies like other people breathe, and his beliefs change with the circumstances. Within the past twelve months, Trump has reversed himself on virtually every issue. He doesn't fulfill his contracts or pay his bills; he even stiffed those young cheerleaders who performed at that rally of his in Florida during the primaries. He who inveighs against illegal immigrants hires them- and then declines to pay them. He pushes small businesses to the brink of bankruptcy by forcing them to settle for pennies on the dollar on debts he could easily afford to pay. He breaks promises without a second thought. He has no honor. What he has is an overwhelming will to power. Those who say that while we know what Hillary would do, we don't know what Trump would do are right, Evan said last night. The problem is the overwhelming likelihood based on his track record that what he would do would be worse than anything Hillary would ever do, and worse even than we imagine.

If Trump becomes president, McMullin said (and again, from what I know of the man I fully agree with him), he will appoint whomever the whim of the moment might dictate to the Court- and once he's made the appointment, will simply ignore the Supreme Court and run roughshod over both the Court and Congress. His contempt for the Constitution is absolute. Evan McMullin reads Donald Trump exactly as I do: as the greatest threat to our American Constitutional democracy in our history and the most dangerous man ever nominated by a major party for the presidency.

The lives of Evan's colleges in the CIA might well have been endangered by Hillary Clinton's carelessness with classified materials.  He exercised considerable restraint, I thought, in not addressing how American lives were endangered and in fact lost by her mishandling of the Benghazi crisis.They would also be endangered by Trump's manifest ignorance, egotism, unwillingness to listen, and recklessness. Neither Trump nor Clinton,  he has pointed out in the past, could even get a security clearance if they had not been nominated by our major parties to be president! Yet both were receiving routine briefings on our nation's most vital secrets, and one of them was about to gain the apex of American power, invested with a degree of trust of which neither is worthy. He could not stand by and watch that happen, Evan said last night. And that's why he's running.

Nor is national security the only category in which Evan McMullin shines when compared to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (Gary Johnson, who is Hillary's clone on social policies and Trump's in his irresponsible and isolationist foreign policy, radical Jill Stein and tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist Darryl Castle of the Constitution Party do not even merit consideration). This graduate of Wharton is an economist as well as an expert in keeping us safe.  His grasp on economics is impressive. The Chinese, he points out, want to compete with us economically. They are in fact very good at imitating and "ripping off" the ideas of others. But what they can't do is what Americans do better than anyone else does, or ever has: innovate.

Innovation, McMullin said, is the key to our prospering in the new century. It's the key to bringing the economy out of its doldrums and putting Americans back to work. In order to grow the economy, we need to be doing things that make the economy grow by taking advantage of our greatest neglected strength as a nation. Our future is in new technologies and new developments in old ones. We are currently going broke simply paying the interest on the national debt, he pointed out. We cannot- dare not- simply continue on our present path. Bold new steps are needed not simply to keep pace with what we owe to others, but to supercharge the economy and make America solvent again.

One of the people at the gathering asked him about the space program. He pointed out that that is precisely one of the places where Americans have excelled in the past- and have virtually ceased to even try. No wonder unemployment is so high in the states where the aerospace industry once brought prosperity! I pointed out that the Mercury and Gemini and Apollo programs created whole new industries, employed huge numbers of precisely the people who have been hurt most by the economic downturn of 2008, stimulated countless spinoff industries and technologies which employed vastly more- and despite complaints from the Left and others who are ill-informed on the subject that we had far more pressing needs for the money we spend on it here at home, generated exponentially more money for the Federal government in new taxes due to the growth it stimulated in the economy than we spent on it!

And so, we just quit!

Evan McMullin understands that simplistic ideas about soaking the rich while spending huge amounts on new entitlements will only dig us deeper into our economic hole. What is needed, as President Bush tried so disastrously articulate during the 2000 campaign, is not to decrease the size of the slice some people get from the pie so that others can get bigger slices. What we need is to make the pie bigger, so that everybody's slice grows! And we need to do that by innovating, by trying new things, by pushing the envelope, by developing new technologies and ways of doing things- by doing the things Americans do best and do better than anybody in history ever has done.

This is a very smart man- far smarter than Trump, probably smarter than Hillary and certainly healthier psychologically than either of them. In a debate, he would demolish them both (he's challenged Johnson and Stein and Castle to an "undercard debate;" it will be interesting to see whether they accept). Unlike Trump, he knows what he's talking about when he discusses national security. And unlike Hillary, it comes first with him.

He admits that the odds are long. His campaign manager told me last night that he expects voters to have a chance to vote for Evan in somewhere around 40 to 43 of the fifty states despite his late start. But in some states, he'll be a write-in candidate. He freely admits that he has no path to 270 electoral votes. His strategy is to deadlock the Electoral College and throw the election into the House of Representatives- where, as the only one of the three top finishers in electoral votes who is fit to hold the office, members of the House from both parties who know personally will have a chance to put country ahead of party and make the right choice.

Very honestly I think the odds are even longer than he does. But that's not the point. This election has confronted us with a choice between two major party nominees who are both categorically unworthy and unfit to sit in the Oval Office. The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, "When confronted with making a choice between two evils, don't." The lesser of two evils, as someone once said, is still evil.

But in this election, we are not merely confronted with choosing, as we sometimes have in the past, the lesser of two evils. The options we are presented with are not simply evil. They are both unacceptable.

They are both unthinkable. It's not just that neither of them is worthy of the office they both seek.Both are unfit for it. Either would be a threat to America's security and well-being. Hillary, at the very least, would endanger the Constitution through the appointments she would make to the Supreme Court, even if she proved a more competent President than she was a Secretary of State. Trump promises a foreign policy which would abandon America's responsibilities in the world,  dishonor our alliances and treaties the way he dishonors contracts, and threaten not only our national security but world peace.He proposes a protectionist economic policy that would devastate our economy and plunge us back into the Great Recession.

When faced with the options of being tortured to death, being hanged, or trying to escape, no sane person chooses the second because it hurts less than the first. One tries to escape, no matter how long the odds. And as long the odds might be against electing Evan McMullin- the only current  candidate for president who is frankly qualified or worthy to occupy the Oval Office- those odds are no excuse for not daring them in order to save our nation and the future of our children from even the better of two inadmissible alternatives, no matter which we each may perceive that better bad option to be.

Comments

TheDreadedWoodenSpoon said…
Excellent article, well thought out. They are (Clinton and Trump) both unthinkable. Thank God for Evan McMullin. #StandUpWithEvan www.evanmcmullin.com
Thanks. Agreed: Thank God for Evan!