Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Wednesday, February 17, 2010



A group of more than 80 conservative leaders plan to sign a document on Wednesday that signals a retrenchment to "founding principles." It was scheduled to be signed today, Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at 2:30 PM.

Here are the stated principles with my remarks inserted in red.

The Mount Vernon Statement

Constitutional Conservatism: A Statement for the 21st Century

We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.

These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people. They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the worldThey are our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere.

[The US Constitution allows for the promise of a just nation, the problem is that “we the people” haven’t always lived up to that lofty goal. We have stumbled enough times so that I don’t think we should be bragging about being a “just nation unlike any other in the world.” Other nations have made horrid mistakes, as we have, and we have striven to right the wrongs that have caused our Native Americans, African-American, Japanese-American, Chinese-American, Gay and Lesbian Americans as well as many religious minorities pain and suffering. To ignore this truth and pretend that this country, at many times in the past and even in the present, did not betray the Constitution, which the Mount Vernon Statement reveres, is to ignore our history and continue to live in a Edenic fantasy that never existed.]

Each one of these founding ideas is presently under sustained attack. In recent decades, America’s principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics. The self-evident truths of 1776 have been supplanted by the notion that no such truths exist. The federal government today ignores the limits of the Constitution, which is increasingly dismissed as obsolete and irrelevant.

[Those are accusations which are not defined in this vague-sounding document. Which ideas exactly are under a “sustained attack?” What principles have been undermined and redefined? And where were these concerned conservatives during the last administration? Did they just come to see these sustained attacks, which they themselves said have been ongoing for decades, now that Mr. Obama is president? Which universities are undermining and redefining our Constitutional principles? Could they possibly mean Oral Roberts University where interracial dating among student was once prohibited, for example?]

Some insist that America must change, cast off the old and put on the new. But where would this lead — forward or backward, up or down? Isn’t this idea of change an empty promise or even a dangerous deception?

[This seems a strange paragraph. Thomas Jefferson himself believed that this country would flourish and be at its best as an agrarian society, where land-owning white men would be the ideal citizens to govern it. He could not have foreseen the Industrial Revolution or any of the other changes that have come to this country since his time. A wise populace learns to deal with change while holding onto its ideals. We’ve not always done this wisely, but as Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”]

The change we urgently need, a change consistent with the American ideal, is not movement away from but toward our founding principles. At this important time, we need a restatement of Constitutional conservatism grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

[It seems to me that most of the important changes in our history have come as a result of liberal thinking i.e. the abolitionists, the suffragists, the labor union movement, the Civil Rights movement, the Gay and Lesbian movement, to name a few. Those achievements in justice are a result of Constitutional liberalism “grounded in the priceless principle of ordered liberty….”]

The conservatism of the Declaration asserts self-evident truths based on the laws of nature and nature’s God. It defends life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It traces authority to the consent of the governed. It recognizes man’s self-interest but also his capacity for virtue.

[Nowhere in the Constitution is nature’s “God” mentioned, nor is any god’s laws used as a basis for our Constitution. The Constitution expressly begins with “We The People…“ Nowhere does it say “Under God’s Law, We The People…“]

The conservatism of the Constitution limits government’s powers but ensures that government performs its proper job effectively. It refines popular will through the filter of representation. It provides checks and balances through the several branches of government and a federal republic

[Not always. See the gridlock and intransigency of the out-of-power minority political party. The popular will of the people is not being served so long as the minority party uses senatorial tradition and not Constitutional laws to thwart the will of the people.]

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.

[There will NEVER be “morality” in any sort of government so long at the institutions of that government are drenched in money from special interests and multi-national corporations in order to forward their agendas, and not the people’s. Corporate money is the real threat to moral self-government.

A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.

It applies the principle of limited government based on the
rule of law to every proposal.

It honors the central place of individual liberty in American
politics and life.

It encourages free enterprise, the individual entrepreneur, and
economic reforms grounded in market solutions

It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom
and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end.

It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood,
community, and faith.

If we are to succeed in the critical political and policy battles ahead, we must be certain of our purpose.

We must begin by retaking and resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles.

[This last part implies that only conservatives believe in the rule of law, individual liberty, free enterprise, freedom, being against tyrants and for family, neighborhood and faith. That’s absurd on its face. Conservatives don’t own those principles. It seems to me like a grab at grandstanding theatrics for these conservatives to come together now--a little over one year into Mr. Obama’s still young presidency--and produce this manifesto. Where were they while the Bush Administration was trammeling their Conservative principles? If, as they themselves state, this has been going on for decades, why have they chosen this time and during this particular presidency to assert these principles in this statement?  It is curious.]


Professor Darren Hutchinson of "Dissenting Justice" has a post up about the Mount Vernon Statement.


libhom said...

The extreme right certainly is bustling with anti intellectual activity these days.

libhom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
libhom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
libhom said...

Please delete the triplicate comments. There was a problem with the connection to your site.

libhom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Arthurstone said...

The whole gang signed off on the 'statement'.


The Founding Fathers would be embarrassed by those who claim to be their descendants. Hard to scrape up a more tiresome bunch of non-entities, useless gasbags and demagogues.

Edwin Meese, former U.S. Attorney General under President Reagan

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America

Edwin Feulner, Jr., president of the Heritage Foundation

Lee Edwards, Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at the Heritage Foundation, was present at the Sharon Statement signing.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council

Becky Norton Dunlop, president of the Council for National Policy

Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center

Alfred Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator

David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union

David McIntosh, co-founder of the Federalist Society

T. Kenneth Cribb, former domestic policy adviser to President Reagan

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform

William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government

Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness

Richard Viguerie, Chairman,

Kenneth Blackwell, Coalition for a Conservative Majority

Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring

Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review

TAO said...

From the Contract With America, to the new CPAC Contract FROM America to now "The Mount Vernon Statement"

Its just one Photo Op to another....

I remember Grover Norquist and his excitment at having a REAL CONSERVATIVE in the White House with the election of George Bush back in 2000...

Its just one thing after another with this bunch....making promises they never keep...

TRUTH 101 said...

Back in the days of Reagan the righties were issued a list of key words to use. Among these words were, freedom. Family. America. Flag.God. Jesus. Values. Patriotism. It was time for an update of the right wing codeword list so "Constitution" was added.

It sounds all American and words mean more to the bigots, homophobes and idots that make up the base of the republican party so why not add Constitution?

the ghost of mt vernon said...

seems like conservatives agonize over Constitutional purity only when they're out of power

while Bush and Cheney approved of torture in the name of the American people and in violation of the Constitution, the conservatives were happy to have their collective heads in the sand


Infidel753 said...

What principles have been undermined and redefined?

They mean the courts are now acting like gays and atheists have Constitutional rights.

Most of this document is intentionally vague. It's written to send coded signals to the bigots and theocrats -- "we're your kind of people" -- while retaining plausible deniability for the sake of moderate voters.

MrNola1414 said...

All these Glenn Beck and Rush Ditto heads are driving our nation into the ground. They only see what they want to see. Scary as hell how off the deep end the GOP types have become. It's really a clown car of radicals now. I hope Dem's, Pelosi, and Obama stop with any charity or desire for bi-partisanship. Go forth and make these loosers look as stupid as they are! Fight back people, fight back!