McMullin on same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court

Several of my friends appear enamored with Evan McMullin, the newly announced presidential candidate. I would like to bring to readers’ attention this article from the National Review, which includes these paragraphs.

After I scoured Evan McMullin’s Facebook page, I went to his website, wherein he says he’s very pro-life, but the only policy he commits to is no taxpayer financing of abortion; he boasts of support for adoption; and he commits to virtually nothing concrete on any issue, much less religious liberty, trying, I suppose, to be a unifier through vagueness, as many consultants would no doubt advise. This may or may not help you win (I think not, in this instance, as voters are onto this game), but it definitely makes it almost impossible to have a victory worth winning, as the GOP majorities in Congress have proved time and time again.

A few days later, consistent with his desire to be the new face of the Republican party that existing Washington GOP power players are longing for, McMullin was asked by Mark Halperin about gay marriage: “As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but I respect the decision of the Court, and I think it’s time to move on,” McMullin said, according to Lifesite News.

When Halperin asked if a President McMullin would at least appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Obergefell decision, he replied, “I wouldn’t.”

He could have evaded. He could have said he would look for constitutionalists like Justice Scalia. But he didn’t. He instead said its time to accept that the Left gets to decide what is in our Constitution and move on.

No one who cares about or understands constitutional conservatism would answer that way.

Readers can make their own decisions about McMullin, but he is definitely not getting my vote.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

42 thoughts on “McMullin on same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court

  1. Geoff,

    A couple of quick points. I’m not jumping on the McMullin bandwagon, but I think these points can help explain a few things.

    1. There has always been a very large strain in the GOP that accepts judicial supremacy. For example, Republicans have, despite serious reservations, largely accepted the various Supreme Court opinions that validated FDR’s New Deal legislation. The allure of stare decisis, or precedent, is extremely powerful. And traditionally, the Republican Party has always been far more willing to accept judicial fiat than the Democratic Party. This ties in with the GOP usually being the law and order party, and the party more closely in tune with constitutional principles. (The idea of judicial supremacy itself can reasonably be debated, and I’m not questioning the fact that it is not necessarily a correct belief. After all, the Constitution set up three equal branches of government — not two equal and then one all-powerful one, but that’s what we’ve become. Hence the SCOTUS wars.)

    2. No candidate is perfect. Yet, we all seem to want to find one. We’re looking for something that just doesn’t exist. Imperfection being the order of the day, all that any of us are doing is simply holding our noses as we vote for these venal, corruption power-seekers. That’s it. Nothing more or less. That’s the reality.

    3. I was going to stop with two points, but I’ll add a third. As much as I think the Obergefell opinion was erroneous, we’ve always crossed the Rubicon culturally. The culture drives everything. There is just no way that we’re ever going to put gay marriage back into the genie bottle. I hate to sound fatalist, but orthodox Christians have totally lost the culture. And now, the fight is gearing up to protect our legal rights. We’re fighting a rearguard action to be able to keep our jobs and tax-exempt status for our churches. We’re going to fight a huge battle in the future on homeschooling as our public schools continue to implode. We need to focus on the skirmishes that we can win. We didn’t take the fight against traditional values seriously enough until it was totally too late. I agree with Rod Dreher’s blogging on these points. All across the country, there are lawyers laying the foundation for a continued, sustained assault on traditional Christian opinion and practice. And for anyone that doesn’t believe me, you’re going to have egg on your face a decade from now. Because stuff is about to get real for committed believers of Jesus Christ.

    So, I’d give McMullin a break. He’s not going to fight a battle he can’t win. I don’t blame him. (Full disclosure: I don’t live anywhere near Utah, and I don’t plan on voting for a dude because he happens to be NotTrump.)

  2. Michael W Towns says: “give McMullin a break. He’s not going to fight a battle he can’t win. I don’t blame him” or he could be lying like any good politician does just to get votes, or maybe he really feels that way. I’m with Geoff I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and believe his own words.

  3. Michael Towns, good points, but I think it is telling how people respond to questions on judges, and his response is disappointing. As the story says, he could have at least shown some interest in appointing judges who will follow the Constitution, but he didn’t even give us that. So, I’ll stick with my original opinion while pointing out that he can still be more sane than Trump and Hillary and still be a wasted vote.

    If you are going to be #neverTrump and #neverHillary, voting for Gary Johnson or Darrell Castle seems a much better decision.

  4. Gary Johnson has a better chance. I listened to McMullin on Glenn Beck, and was not impressed He answered all the questions with 10th amendment, and did not know what the third amendment is, nor had he heard the name Von Mises (Austrian economics). Not yet ready for primetime.

  5. McMullin seems a lot like a Clinton plant to me. Hillary knows that Utah is a possible target. If she can peel off enough Mormon votes she might be able to win in Utah. So magically a well-financed unknown Mormon with no real record gets in and all of the sudden garners a huge amount of attention? That is way too much of a coincidence for me.

  6. Looks like I’m back to leaving the presidential slot blank on my ballot.

    But the conspiratorial thinking that makes anyone who might take votes away from Trump a Clintonian plant is really, really tiresome.

  7. Oh, so what if he didn’t know the Third Amendment. There has never been a constitutional case on it in the history of the republic. 😉

  8. “But the conspiratorial thinking that makes anyone who might take votes away from Trump a Clintonian plant is really, really tiresome.”

    If it makes you feel better, I am thinking more and more that Trump is a Clinton plant. I mean, is he trying to lose on purpose? 🙂

  9. Michael has an important point. This presidential election is a disaster. But it is a reflection of the culture war that has turned bad for religionists. Attempting to develop a tactic for dealing with the election is nothing compared to the strategy we need to develop to handle the next two decades.


  10. I’m with Geoff that Trump appears to be a Hillary plant that was much more successful than the Left’s wildest hopes. Even still, I don’t think they’ve worked out what they would do if he actually won, which is why he appears to be intent on losing.

  11. Michael, the third amendment question is a good one to see just how well someone knows the Bill of Rights. Everyone knows the 2nd amendment, and can give a nifty answer. Well studied should know the bill of rights, and there isn’t a 12th article in the Constitution, as Trump thinks there is. For any Libertarian or small government proponent, a study in Austrian economics is a must. McMullin may believe he can stop ISIS, but we also need to stop the bankruptcy of the USA.

  12. I once ran for a student body office, not because I wanted to win, but I wanted to see what it was like “from the inside” and thus have a better idea of how to win the next year [actually, after going through the whole process, I decided it was mostly a shame anyway, and gave up].

    I wonder if McMullin is doing something similar. He knows he can’t really win, but he’ll be prepared to either run again, or become some future candidates top consultant.

  13. Only in a political year this crazy would so many of the friends I respect feel they can vote for a guy who has never held political office and has no significant executive experience. McMullin may be testing the waters for a future run for Congress or the Senate or even for a state legislative position, all of which are more appropriate goals for him.

  14. Michael, agree completely with what you said. That said my worries about McMullin arise more because of questions about his past. Gateway Pundit raised some interesting questions about him. I’d add that’s not exactly the best of sources. It’s very pro-Trump and tends to exaggerate quite regularly. However in this case I think the questions are quite legitimate. I think McMullin’s come out of nowhere and isn’t really prepared for all this. He’s clearly running as a protest vote after Johnson inexplicably turned out to be largely a liberal rather than a libertarian and ran largely going after Clinton votes rather the GOP voters. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that Romney is largely behind McMullin. Recall that before Johnson started putting his foot in his mouth it was widely reported Romney would endorse him. After the religious liberty issues along with a few other huge problems on things like abortion I suspect Romney thought twice.

    Anyway, while I doubt McMullin has a chance of winning, I’d like to see these explained before saying I’d vote for him.

    To Geoff, I’d simply say that for a protest vote my standard is quite a bit lower if I’m confident he won’t win the state. I’m mainly voting to express dissatisfaction with my choices. And let’s be honest. This year the choices are horrific. I thought ’08 was bad with McCain/Palin. This is orders of magnitude worse than that.

  15. I’d add to those who see this all due to a culture war that has turned bad. Sorry, the culture war was lost a long time ago. I think it was apparent at the time that prop-8 was at best a rearguard action that was ultimately doomed even if it won the referendum. The tide had shifted by 2004.

    However I think we are giving up if we think we’ve lost all the culture war. Yes the young overwhelmingly oppose most cultural conservatives on gay issues and certain broad sex issues. However on other issues like abortion we’re holding the line much better. (Not perfect, there’s been some drop, but it’s debatable how to read that) On guns I think conservatives still largely are winning. I could go on.

    About the only one that might be up is drug policy, but that’s never been an univocal position on the right. (As far back as the 80’s William F. Buckley was opposing the war on drugs) Once you exclude drug policy only sex has really been lost. Most of the other policies we’re doing well on.

    The real issue was how talk radio and a certain component of the conservative media showed they were largely con-artists more concerned about a buck than really establishing conservatism. They’ve long pushed the party in difficult directions with far too many conservatives doing their bidding. But especially this cycle with Trump I think it’s become clear how big a problem they are. How anyone can respect people like Hannity escapes me.

    It’s not just the conservative press though. A lot of PACs have proven to be little more than con-artists taking most donations to fill their pockets rather than help with the conservative movement. So there’s a lot we need to do, but the reason Trump is where he is has more to do with these problems in conservative media and leadership than a big cultural shift. The GOP broadly speaking has become corrupt. Hopefully this will shake things up so it can get back on its feet. (Otherwise I suspect many will move to form a new party)

  16. Clark’s last comment caused me to remember and dig up a comment I made at this web site in 2007:

    “I used to think that a Clinton nomination would be countered by the Republicans figuring they could put up any lame candidate they wanted and still win, and so they would! With a contest between Senator Clinton and an unappealing Republican, an independent candidate much more credible then Ross Perot would jump in, someone who would at least obtain electoral votes and might just become president. This crack in a century and a half of Republican/Democratic control of our government was an appealing fantasy.”

    The “lame candidate” I had in mind then was Jeb Bush; my imagination of how lazily far down the Republican party could go was insufficient. An interesting thing to me now is that no significant figure has stepped forward as a third alternative. It shows just how entrenched the two established parties are, even with nominees like these.

  17. JM: Trunp _is_ the third party candidate. He’s not a republican. He just hijacked the republican party as his vehicle, since that was a more sure way to the presidency than as a third party.

    Trump is going to win with at least 60% of the pop vote. He only needs 80% of the republcian vote, and he’s likely to get 20% of the democrat vote, plus most all of the independents.

    This week Trump has started his shift to sounding reasonable and serious, just as Scott Adams predicted. His “third act” starts now.

    I want “i told you so” rights on this….. Trump will win big in November.

    Every time republican leaders and “elites” dis Trump, he gers more Dem and independent voters.

    He’s already organizing observers to counter the only Dem hope to win: massive fraud by people bussed from precinct to precinct. (Hint, its not ID fraud, it’s address fraud with multiple registrations all in different precincts, using fake apt numbers in high rises, and people mutli-registering usig addresses of their same-last-name relatives in other precincts.

  18. Bookslinger is correct. Whatever that will mean for the future of the US, this November it will be a Trumpslide.

    McMullin is pretty uninterested in actually conserving anything. In other words he perfectly represents the conservative movement, which has neither a philosophy nor an ideology. As Buckley and Kirk originally defined it, it’s only a mindset. In practice, it turned out to precisely track the progressive movement, but behind it by 10 years.

  19. “In practice, it turned out to precisely track the progressive movement, but behind it by 10 years.”

    I’ve said for years, that Dems and Repubs are just the left and right rails of the same track leading to the same destination. Though I’d say the time difference is 20 years.

    Trump is a genius. The reason he hasn’t adopted the republican party’s traditional standpoints and mannerisms is that traditional staid republicans generally LOSE, or at least will lose even more with the generational shift towards the left. So his strategy has been to draw voters from the center and all the democrats except for the very doctrinaire.

    In other words, he’s not going to win with just or merely republican or conservative voters! No one can now. There aren’t enough of them/us now to win a national election. He’s going to win with independents and blue collar middle class democrats (ie, Reagan democrats), and a lot of middle class African Americans who have lost jobs to off-shoring and immigrants. Blue collar African Americans HATE Obama’s open border unlimited immigration policies. All Trump needs of the republicans is a sufficient base who are voting against Clinton.

    The VERY things that Trump says/does that are making you middle and upper-middle class conservative and otherwise-Republican guys say you can’t “in good conscience” vote for trump are garnering him several TIMES more independent/democrat voters!

    Go ahead, walk away, Geoff and Clark. (Rhetorically speaking. I still love you!) Offending guys like you brings Trump several times as many crossover voters. He’s a genius! Or as Adams calls him a Master Hypnotist/Persuader.

    Of course it doesn’t show in the polls yet, because dems and independent voters will publicly lie so as to appear politically correct. But in the privacy of the voting booth, they know that Trump is more right than wrong. Trump is calling BS on politcal corectness.

    Oh, and the female vote. Trump’s testosterone level blew away Jeb and Marco. CRuz outlasted the other challengers because he had more b.., er, testosterone than them.

    Clinton comes across as a harridan/hag/shrew. Her veep is a beta male. There is no testosterone on the ticket.

    That subset of women who vote with their uterus/ovaries (the ones who are not doctrinaire) are going to vote for Trump.

  20. Reading all your comments I get all scriptural in my mind, like “Let the dead ‘elect’ their dead”. “When the voice of the people choose evil then the nation is ripe for destruction.”

  21. Kareen, I’m pretty sure the Clintons are evil. But Trump is a toss-up. I’ll take a might-be evil over a known evil.

    Trump is no Reagan. but even Reagan gave us a few bad things: de-regulating the S&L’s which led to their being looted, and collapse; the RICO act that has asset-forfeiture without due process; and though his policies casued economic growth and revenue growth, he couldn’t hold the line against vastly increased spending by Congress.

    W gave us medicare part D, and sunk a trillion or more dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I don’t know that Trump is evil, but at least he’s somewhat of a capitalist. Clinton is a hard-core statist. So I’m choosing the lesser of two evils.

  22. It’s absolutely fascinating to me how many of my Mormon friends are jumping on the McMullin bandwagon. The guy has no executive experience and is not even very conservative, except on foreign policy, where he appears to want to invade every country possible. In the old days, it was not “conservative” to want to start unnecessary wars, but apparently these days it is bombs away!!!

    Trump is horrible, Hillary is even more horrible, Johnson is not a libertarian, and McMullin is the “conservative alternative” who is not even a conservative. Darrell Castle appears to be the only guy left standing. (Having said that, I may still vote for Johnson or not vote at all or write in Ron Paul — still undecided).

  23. Clark –
    That Gateway Pundit article is not just “exaggerated” – it’s quite stupid. You say the questions are “legitimate”, but they really aren’t.

    Some basic internet searching will find rather easy answers for most of them. I’ll reproduce I comment I made on another thread:

    That link on McMullin’s apparent “lies”/”contradictory resume” is over the top and seems to be done somewhat in bad faith. Nearly every complaint has a very easy explanation of some sort, most of which have been answered in various interviews. For example, that link asks “McMullin says he graduated from BYU in 2001 but joined the CIA in 1999?”

    In this interview here: McMullin says “So I started working for the Central Intelligence Agency while I was at Brigham Young University. I would do a semester there and a semester back in Washington.”

    Nearly every other issue that article has with likely could have a simple explanation based on the fact a resume is not a detailed life explanation but a brief mention of high points relevant to whatever job you want.

  24. Geoff,

    Oddly enough, the one conspiracy theory about Clintonian plants that I give any credence to is that Trump himself is a Clintonian plant.

  25. Bookslinger, I think Scott Adams is more or less spouting BS on this and have long thought that. I’ve noticed of late he’s trying to explain why Trump isn’t following his predictions by saying Clinton learned the power of persuasion and is using those techniques. The reality is that the play is following nearly exactly what many of us predicted in January. Trump has no self-control. It’s amazing when he manages a few days of following scripts without self-destructive behaviors. The reality is that he is controlled by an insatiable need to react to the any slight in such a way that Clinton is continually successfully trolling Trump. So today we now get yet an other campaign manager. This one the person running Breitbart. However the basic problem is that the candidate remains himself.

    The evidence that Trump is a genius rather than what he appears – someone dishonest in business with a repeated pattern of failure who says bombastic things with little or no self control – seems dubious. I keep waiting for some sign of this Machiavellian master. But I think what we see is what we get. Trump got this far in the GOP due to well justified frustration by the base with the GOP leadership. This lead them to pick Trump due to wanting someone angry like them and projecting their desires upon him. Unfortunate their pick is a huckster.

  26. Ivan, I thought I noted that the Gateway Pundit site wasn’t exactly legit. I agree with most you say. I do think though that he’s been inconsistent in his resume.

  27. (Whoops hit enter before done)

    I think what’s misleading is portraying an undergraduate internship as being a CIA agent. That would be like me, when I interned at Los Alamos, portraying myself like a full-time scientist at Los Alamos.

    The place that seems confusing is his mission. He was born in 76 so I assume he went on a mission around ’95 which would line up with his graduating BYU in 2001 (assuming a few semesters off for internships). But he says he did a mission in 2001 in Brazil. But that’s during the period he claims to be working for the CIA.

    I’m completely fine with innocuous problems here. However for someone running for President you’d expect these things to get done right in the introduction. It just comes off as him misrepresenting his CIA career. Again, he portrays himself as a “CIA Operative,” What does he mean by operative? I can completely believe he did an internship with the CIA and did some kind of work with them. At the time I was there the CIA did a reasonable amount of recruiting at BYU. It’s more how he’s portraying his job at the CIA that I think needs explained.

    Again, probably some of these things like the Wikipedia page and his Linked In summary just are exaggerated or wrong. But running for President is the big times and it’s not a good sign these ducks aren’t in a row. (Although compared to Trump’s bio this seems fine)

  28. I agree McMullin does not seem ready for the big leagues of serious presidential contender yet (and I am fairly sure he won’t get my vote), but the Gateway post comes across and being in done in bad faith. As I speculated before, I wonder if there is some other motive (great to put on a resume if you want to become a top advisor to some future candidate).

  29. Ivan, I fully agree. Gateway Pundit has completely been in the pro-trump camp. I linked to it just to illustrate some of the inconsistencies. The Hewitt interview you linked to was very helpful (I’d not seen it before) and explained some of the issues.

    As for who I vote for, it’ll depend upon how much Trump is leading (if at all) in Utah.

  30. Interesting post and thread. I am personally interested to see if McMullin is able to surround himself with capable people. I haven’t seen quite enough about him to really make an educated decision, but as it stands now, it seems easier for me to vote for him than either Hillary or Trump. Maybe because my vote is what I like to call a “statement vote” because California will almost certainly go Hillary, so if I don’t vote for Trump, I can make a statement with who I do vote for and it’s not just another vote for Hillary.
    That being said, it is an interesting comment on our society/country today that we have elected two of the most unfavorable candidates to choose from in recent history. What does this mean?
    1)The media thrives on conflict. It brings viewers and more commentators with things to comment on for our 24-hour news (infotainment) channels, which means more conflicts=more money.
    2)There is an increased distance between the establishment and the common man. An issue here, how do we tap into that without being divisive like the current candidates?
    3) Are the candidates really any worse than many past candidates or is the media just portraying them this way (#1). It seems like the media protected the public from immoral and philandering ways of many presidents in the past, but not so much now. (I am not personally decided on this point, I haven’t researched enough, but I thought a question worth asking)
    4) Should we shield candidates a bit more from all the conflict and negative personal issues? At this point, one of the two (who are each distasteful to large groups of people) will most likely be our president. Maybe we should try to give the respect that office deserves and leave our arguments to more policy issues.
    5) Is the general public so uninterested in real policy discussion that (4) is impossible?
    6) Is it possible to have a new party that could actually produce a viable candidate in addition to Republicans and Democrats, or would that necessitate the death of one of the parties (probably Republicans)

    Many thoughts on a crazy election that have been touched upon in this thread.

  31. I should note that he said explicitly that he’s a strict originalist and would appoint originalist judges. I don’t know the details of the Obergefell decision comments he made. (I’ve not heard the context for his comments) I suspect he means not making it a litmus test. I think this is right if only because I think that already even if Obergefell was overturned there are more than enough votes to do it via the legislature. The views of people in America have shifted quickly. We can disagree with them but I think we have too look politically at which battles we can win and which ones we can’t. Gay marriage is fait accompli. If you want to change it you have to change the views of the masses. Making it a litmus test for the courts would actually undermine that I suspect.

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