Conservatism

Sign the Mount Vernon Statement

By John Andrews "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." So begins the Mount Vernon Statement, an important and timely declaration of principles issued on Feb. 17 by the heads of 16 major conservative organizations. Originating with intellectual leaders on the Right, rather than elected officials and candidates, the statement sets a baseline for thinking patriots in weighing the claims we'll hear from politicians as this 2010 year of decision moves toward election day. If Republicans bring out a new version of the 1994 Contract with America in their hopes for a November sweep against Obama and the Democrats, its worthiness can be measured against this declaration.

The full text is below, taken from their website at TheMountVernonDeclaration.com. By clicking to that site you can also add your name as a signer of the declaration, which I have proudly done.

This manifesto is a worthy descendant from Bill Buckley's famous Sharon Statement of half a century ago, as Greg Schaller points out at '76 Blog. The Sharon Statement and YAF, the Young Americans for Freedom movement which it launched, were formative for me and so many other young conservatives in the turbulent 1960s. Let's hope for an equally profound, powerful, and positive impact from the Mount Vernon Declaration. Here it is...

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 world. They 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.

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 selfevident 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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

February 17, 2010

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, ConservativeHQ.com

Kenneth Blackwell, Coalition for a Conservative Majority

Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring

Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review

Get off the couch

This great country -- and I do mean EXCEPTIONAL -- is in the grips of a domestic enemy. Let's leave aside the politically correct platitudes and politeness for a moment and be honest. The left is the enemy to traditional American values of individual freedom, personal liberty and entrepreneurship.

They want to create a Nanny State, where the government runs your life. Health care is a big piece of this puzzle. Next will come the kind of car you drive, the light bulbs you use and which colleges you can go to. They want to tax and control every breath you take.

And make no mistake about it: the left is now firmly and fully in charge of the U.S. government. There is not a single (as in ONE) moderate or conservative Democrat in the U.S. Senate, and very few in the House. The White House is inhabited by Marxist revolutionaries -- and that includes the guy in the Oval Office.

We are being led by radicals.

That's the truth. And Democrats and Independents (and many so-called "Republicans") who voted for "Hope and Change" may feel hoodwinked, but the reality was there for all to see. The President of the United States is a Saul Alinksy operative with radical friends. That doesn't happen by accident.  Americans liked the cut of the guys jib and the fact that decades of race-guilt could be slayed in a single pull of the voting lever, and so the nation took a leap into the great unknown.

Off a precipice, and into an abyss.

And then insult got added to the injury by putting the likes of Al Franken (hey Minnesota -- politics is not really a JOKE!) in the Senate, giving the left a massive majority and the 60 votes needed to ram home big-time change on a purely partisan basis.

And that's really the main message here: this is a President and a Congress that thinks that a straight party-line vote is democracy in action. There was no pretense of bipartisan accommodation or compromise, only a "shove it down your throat" Chicago-style politics. The left is so certain they are right that they simply don't care what YOU think.

Nice, huh?

We are in for a very rough ride. But it isn't hopeless. We can take back the House in 2010 and put Nancy Pelosi out to pasture. We can defeat Harry Reid in Nevada and give him the good old Tom Daschle treatment.

We can change this in 11 months.

But to do so, you have to get OFF THE COUCH.

You have to start giving -- in money, time and energy -- to Republican candidates.  Money is the life's blood of politics, and to win in 2010, conservatives need to raise cash.   And if you can't contribute money, then volunteer for a candidate.  Stuff envelopes. Walk precincts. Host voter meetings in your living room.

We can't be passive. The enemy is organized, zealous and unbelievably vicious.  We must parry their every thrust.

We can't afford to lose this country for another generation. Please do WHATEVER you can. I am working with a Republican Congressional candidate here in Colorado -- Diggs Brown.  He's a very good man and a solid conservative.

Find someone -- anyone -- who you can support running for Congress in a swing district.  That's the way we can change this -- by putting solid conservatives in office in 2010.

We must do more than complain. We must ACT!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Let's make 2010 the year we TAKE BACK THIS GREAT COUNTRY!!

Let's stop warping words

Rhetoric often manipulates our understanding through bias-laden misuse of language. We all have encountered such examples. "Progressive" suggests innovative, visionary and benevolent. But most "progressive" policies merely regurgitate antiquated notions that were disproved decades ago. A principal contemporary example of outdated "progressive" policy would be the flurry of big-spending, big-government legislation being touted by this Administration, merely repeating the failed economic policies that worsened and prolonged the Great Depression.

Conversely, "conservative" has come to signify stingy and contrary. Actually, there are two distinct forms of conservatism: fiscal and social. Fiscal conservatives believe that spending should be restrained, not over-taxing the public, especially during this economic downturn. Conservative fiscal restraint limits government spending just as people must limit their home budgets. Social conservatives believe in traditional interpersonal values, such as integrity and responsibility.

"Benefits" implies improvement. Properly used, the word denotes the favorable outcome for which we must commit some expenditure of time and resources. When used by the government, though, some people expect the proverbial "free lunch" free for them, paid by someone else.

"Government-funded" has no meaning whatsoever. At any level, no government has any money except ours. Taxes and debt are the only sources of government funding. That is, WE pay for "government-funded" projects. If a politician promises to deliver yet more benefits (see above) at no additional cost, that money must then be taken from some already-funded program.

Impassioned rhetoric should instantly signal the need for wariness, carefully assaying the logic and validity of the speaker's or writer's words. Bias-laden buzz-words especially trigger our alarm bells, protecting us from their misleading damage.

Frank Rich: proof positive that the left doesn't get it

Frank Rich, the former NY Times drama critic turned left-wing opinion guru, has today written an opinion piece which provides a great window into how liberals view the world. Not surprisingly, they believe that only right-wing fascist nut-jobs are crazy enough to oppose their enlightened policies and programs. There is no rational, intellectual basis for why conservatives do anything -- except to roll the clock back to the dark days of back alley abortions and segregation.  Its a caricature worthy of a comic book. Rich sees the uproar over the New York 23rd Congressional district race as a sign that the Republicans are in a civil war between "reasonable moderate Republicans" and right-wing conservative ideologues of the Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin school. And, predictably, he believes that it will show the nation that the Republican Party is lurching rightward, to a place of armed militias where "angry white men" stalk innocent women, children and minorities. Rich sees what has happened in New York as a "gift" to the Democrats -- and says that the Republican infighting will be "a gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats through 2010, and perhaps beyond." This view, of course, reflects a belief widely shared among liberals that the "rest of America" doesn't share the basic values that have spurred the pro-Doug Hoffman movement -- limited government, low taxes, and fealty to the Constitution.

According to Rich, such beliefs are "wacky and paranoid":

"The battle for upstate New York confirms just how swiftly the right has devolved into a wacky, paranoid cult that is as eager to eat its own as it is to destroy Obama. The movement’s undisputed leaders, Palin and Beck, neither of whom has what Palin once called the “actual responsibilities” of public office, would gladly see the Republican Party die on the cross of right-wing ideological purity. Over the short term, at least, their wish could come true."

This is typical left-wing spin. The Republican Party in upstate New York hand selected a liberal Republican who fully supports the Obama stimulus and is both pro-choice and pro gay marriage -- a candidate who is clearly out of step with the conservative demographics of the district. The uproar was created not because of a cabal of "wacky cultists" but because conservatives want a candidate who is not on the Obama socialist bandwagon. That's hardly a radical position. Rich makes it seem -- as liberals often do -- that if you aren't for abortion-on-demand and deficit busting spending you are some right-wing zealot. They are so certain of the moral rightness of their positions that anyone who disagrees is crazy, stupid or both. It is the height of arrogance.

"The more rightists who win G.O.P. primaries, the greater the Democrats’ prospects next year. But the electoral math is less interesting than the pathology of this movement. Its antecedent can be found in the early 1960s, when radical-right hysteria carried some of the same traits we’re seeing now: seething rage, fear of minorities, maniacal contempt for government, and a Freudian tendency to mimic the excesses of political foes. Writing in 1964 of that era’s equivalent to today’s tea party cells, the historian Richard Hofstadter observed that the John Birch Society’s “ruthless prosecution” of its own ideological war often mimicked the tactics of its Communist enemies.

The same could be said of Beck, Palin and their acolytes. Though they constantly liken the president to various totalitarian dictators, it is they who are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode. They drove out Arlen Specter, and now want to “melt Snowe” (as the blog Red State put it). The same Republicans who once deplored Democrats for refusing to let an anti-abortion dissident, Gov. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, speak at the 1992 Clinton convention now routinely banish any dissenters in their own camp."

Rich's misread of what is going on here is just staggering. Fortunately for conservatives, Rich's view of the summer tea parties and the conservative awakening is typical of the liberal establishment, which believes that its 2008 election victory marked a fundamental shift in America's politics from center-right to center-left.

The Democrats just don't get what has happened in the 9 months since Obama took office and began his naked power grab. The mood of the country has changed -- and the Congressional race in New York is a reflection of the level of frustration that conservatives have over what is taking place in this country. The more dismissive Rich is, the better it will be for those who want to take back the country in 2010 and 2012. Its a freight train coming, and the left remains deaf and blind to it.

Shhhh...let's not tell them the truth, ok?

CUT scores JBC's Lambert at 100%

The Colorado Union of Taxpayers, a non-partisan group advocating for taxpayers, has released its 2009 CUT Ratings of the Legislature, announcing Taxpayer Champions and Guardians, those Legislators voting most often in favor of the taxpayer. Earning Senate Champions with scores of 97% were Republican Senators Dave Schultheis and Bill Cadman, Colorado Springs.

House Champion Representative Kent Lambert, Colorado Springs, scored 100%. Lambert was named by Minority Leader Mike May on Sunday to fill the Joint Budget Committee seat left vacant by Rep. Don Marostica's recent appoint to Gov. Ritter's cabinet.

Senator Kevin Lundberg, Berthoud, scored 91% ranking him Senate Guardian. House Guardians are Representatives Cory Gardner, Yuma, candidate for US Congress, and Jerry Sonnenberg, Sterling, with scores of 90%.

Nine Senators tied for big losers earning 3.13%, while Representative Su Ryden is the House loser at 0%. Governor Ritter scored 9%.

Another "F" for the Legislature. The Legislature continues to pass bills which re-distribute dollars to special interest groups, increase fees, raid cash funds, eliminate spending caps, and attack your liberty!

Says CUT President, Marty Neilson, "The Colorado budget crisis which we hear about at every turn, is a budget for 2009/2010 that is 2.6% higher than the prior year! What crisis? In an economic downturn when Colorado citizens must tighten their belts, government must be expected to do the same."

"TABOR, the taxpayers' bill of rights, continues to win support from Colorado voters and can be credited for protecting Colorado from the real budget woes being exprienced in California."

The Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) is a non-partisan taxpayer activist group whose mission is to help educate the public as to the dangers of excessive taxation, regulation, and government spending, thereby encouraging the reduction of taxes, regulations, and government spending.

Visit www.coloradotaxpayer.org for the full 2009 Ratings Report.