Conservatism, for Party Over Country


Old-guard conservative David Franke, who was there when the 1960 movement-defining "Sharon Statement" was issued, finds yesterday's "Mount Vernon Statement" intended to do the same for the movement today lacking:

The great failure of the Mount Vernon Statement is not any literary shortcoming, but rather its utter failure to learn anything from the past 50 years, and to accept any responsibility for what has gone wrong over the past 50 years.

The Mount Vernon Statement reads like a document stuck in the Sixties: "America's principles have been undermined and redefined in our culture, our universities and our politics." There is not the slightest hint or acknowledgement that conservatives had any part in this undermining or redefining. Nothing about people posing as conservatives being responsible for a brutal empire that straddles the world, the bankrupting of the nation to pay for this empire, the justification of torture at home and abroad, an imperial presidency, the evisceration of the Tenth Amendment, you name it. Apparently only liberals have committed these crimes against the spirit and the letter of the Constitution.

Granted, documents like the Sharon Statement and the Mount Vernon Statement don't usually name names, so we shouldn't expect to see Bush and Cheney singled out for indictment in the latter. But there are disparaging references like "some insist that America must change" and "this idea of change." Gee, whom could they be talking about? Anyone with an ounce of political savvy can figure out that this is not an indictment of changes brought about by Bush and Cheney, but by that scoundrel Barack Hussein Obama.

And there's a reason why the signers of the Mount Vernon Statement are silent today about the decapitation of the Constitution in the Bush/Cheney era – almost 100 percent of them supported Bush and Cheney with their votes in 2000, 2004, and (by proxy McCain) 2008. Even if they uttered some criticisms from time to time, they ended up voting for the Republican every time because – horrors – otherwise a Democrat would win.

In short, they put allegiance to party above allegiance to the Constitution they claim to serve. And because they cannot acknowledge this, the Mount Vernon Statement has to be seen as just another partisan battle cry, not a statement of "conservative beliefs, values and principles."

Jacob Sullum and Jesse Walker were also unimpressed with the Mt. Vernon Statement at Reason Online yesterday.