McMullin v. Lee | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

McMullin v. Lee 

Taking a Gander: When decency confronts treason.

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How does a reptile differ from a mammal? Beside the fact that mammals typically give birth to live young and have the ability to supply milk to their babies, there's another defining characteristic.

Mammals are warm blooded, keeping their bodies within the narrow temperature range that allows their tissues, systems and organs to continue functioning. Reptiles—like snakes, lizards, crocodiles, chameleons, and gila monsters—are cooled and heated by the surrounding conditions, allowing wide variations in their body temperatures.

There you go: You're now practically an expert on the difference between endothermic and ectothermic creatures.

Apparently, there's a metaphor here.

When I look at Utah Sen. Mike Lee, there's no question into which classification he falls. He is definitely a reptile—prevailing ambient temperatures seem to switch him back and forth from choir-boy patriot to a creature who is capable of doing grave damage to the most essential pillars of our American democracy.

As the Trump election-fraud lie heated up, and other disloyal Americans believed that there really might be a way to overturn the 2020 election, Lee warmed to the idea that Biden's election could be undone. That's factual. Lee offered Trump his (incredible) legal brain and made it clear that he was onboard as an advisor to advance Trump's treasonous objective.

On November 7, 2020, in a text to then-chief of staff Mark Meadows, Lee committed his help to Trump: "We the undersigned offer our unequivocal support for you to exhaust every legal and constitutional remedy at your disposal to restore Americans faith in our elections." He and his GOP co-signers were very careful to say the words, "legal and constitutional," but Lee's behavior was not that of a loyal American. He also told Meadows, "If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path."

There's nothing legal or constitutional about "alternative electors."

But when it was clear that there would be no viable route by which Trump could remain in power, Lee simply cooled down, slowed his metabolism, peered into his mirror and neatly groomed his scales. He had no choice. Only then did he concede that Biden's win was legitimate.

His color changed; his temperature cooled. He fidgeted with his CTR ring and assumed the look of a re-baptized patriot.

If you've been watching local TV, you've noticed that Mike Lee is scared. He's desperately trying to hold on to his Senate seat. Having previously seen himself as the obvious choice in the November elections, he's now confronted with a looming threat to his incumbent security. Recent Deseret News polls have shown some ominous writing on the wall. He knows that it won't be a slam-dunk. With only, perhaps, a 5-point difference between him and independent challenger Evan McMullin, Lee's body temperature is once again rising.

Lee has launched a flurry of expensive, misleading ads, all alleging that McMullin is "in it for himself" and attempting to damage the reputation of his challenger, while also doing Lee's own, typical routine of self-aggrandizement—presenting himself as some kind of noble patriot and an official interpreter of the Constitution, while betraying his apparent belief that it's OK to undermine America's election system. It certainly makes one wonder about his ultimate loyalties.

Can Lee really be that clueless? You can't find anyone more egocentric and, Mike—no matter what he says—can't erase the patent treason of his activities after Biden won the presidency. If he'd ever had any credibility before, Lee deep-sixed it when he spat on the Constitution and threw his support to the one, gigantic lie from the slimiest man who'd ever occupied the Oval Office.

Mike is certainly familiar with the age-old wisdom: Birds of a feather flock together. Simply put, if he chooses to place his loyalties with slime, his own skin is essentially a sausage casing, holding all that goo together.

Utahns should note that their other Republican senator isn't supporting Lee's re-election. Despite 48 other GOP senators expressing their support or endorsements of Lee—Mitt Romney has, once again, shown some objectivity and backbone, rejecting partisan blindness and trying to find a graceful way out of the fray. While Romney has noted that both Lee and McMullin are his friends, his failure to endorse Lee should raise a red flag with Utahns.

The coming November midterms are a chance for patriotic Americans to toss out legislators who chose brown-nosing Trump over their own oaths to the Constitution.

When it's time to vote, remember that Mike Lee's sense of decency and morality changes with the current climate. He has dishonored his vows, both as an attorney and as a senator. He's shown the crocodile within.

So, it seems, Utahns need to use the same caution as the Aussies in the outback: Don't get too close to the water's edge. You simply can't trust a croc.

The author is a retired novelist, columnist and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog

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