Background on the Mt. Vernon Statement by Time, February 17…

[O]n the eve of the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington, more than 80 conservative leaders gathered on the grounds of George Washington’s former VA estate to unveil a manifesto reaffirming the movement’s beliefs.
The “Mount Vernon Statement,” as they have dubbed the document, seeks to tether conservatism to constitutional principles at a time when Republicans and many independents have become outraged over what they view as governmental overreach. Its authors, a group of boldface names and Beltway veterans who have been among the movement’s leaders for decades, have been working for months to hash out language that satisfies the party’s often fractious factions….

Mt. Vernon Statement, Mees.pngI like the Mt. Vernon Statement for 4 reasons.

  • 1st, it binds the beliefs of old guard conservatives with the Tea Party new guard, giving us common ground, “a cohesive set of values and beliefs that have tied us together,” according to David Keene of the American Conservative Union, host of CPAC.
  • 2nd, it binds fiscal, social, and security conservatism. I particularly liked this section of the manifesto:

A Constitutional conservatism unites all conservatives through the natural fusion provided by American principles. It reminds economic conservatives that morality is essential to limited government, social conservatives that unlimited government is a threat to moral self-government, and national security conservatives that energetic but responsible government is the key to America’s safety and leadership role in the world.

          Fiscal conservatives are often not social conservatives (although it’s usually
          not the other way around. Some go so far as to treat social conservatism
          with contempt. This document reminds them there is a moral underpinning
          to fiscal conservatism. And it reminds social conservatives that big
          government (for instance, socialized healthcare) actually hurts, not helps.
three-legged stool, 3-legged stool, conservatism.jpg

  • 3rd, it equalizes social conservatism with fiscal and security conservatism. Altogether they comprise the conservative 3-legged stool. I’m sick, as I’m sure all pro-lifers are, of the constant minimization of our issue, for instance, even this morning in Politico, where the topic was CPAC:

Ascendant are groups that focus on fiscal issues like reducing government spending and taxation, which last year drove tens of thousands of new conservative activists to the streets and town halls in protest of big spending initiatives backed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. Groups that concentrate on social issues like abortion and same sex marriage have been relegated to a lower profile, as to some extent have those focusing on national security.

          I’m not at CPAC, so I don’t know if this is true. If it’s not, Politico is simply
          seeing things the way MSM likes to see things. If it is, it’s understandable
          that a hot button issue might take preeminence at CPAC, but that should not
          be to say social issues aren’t equally important. A reminder to both: It is the
          pro-life issue that threw the biggest monkeywrench in the Democrats’
          healthcare plan.

  • 4th, it separates conservatism from the Republican Party. As Colin Hanna said on Fox & Friends this morning, the GOP would be a “natural beneficiary of this effort,” but the Mt. Vernon Statement reorients the dynamics of our relationship. Tony Perkins said on Fox yesterday that for too long the fortunes of conservatism have been tied to the whims of Republicans in charge. No more. Quoting Keene from the Time piece again:

Republicans are carrying the burden and the baggage of the last time they were in power. People remember that. They have to be very careful about being consistent this time around if they want these people to rally to their cause electorally.

[Photo of former Attorney General Edwin Meese III signing the Mt. Vernon Statement, which he orchestrated, via the Associated Press]

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