I’m sure by now you’ve seen all the hoopla over the Mount Vernon Statement, signed by 80 or so influential conservatives. It’s great rhetoric, of course, and I agree with most of the principles stated in the declaration. It begins:
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.
Hey, I’m all for limited government based on the rule of law. I’m all for true religious freedom and economic opportunity. Who isn’t? Frankly, a lot of the signers of that declaration aren’t.
This declaration is signed by Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, which has just recently publicly announced that it is in favor of putting gays in prison or in forced rehabilitation. How does that theocratic wet dream square with limited government and true religious freedom. Answer: It doesn’t.
How many of the signers of that declaration are in favor of enforcing the rule of law and prosecuting Bush and Cheney for torture? Hell, how many of them did not support Bush completely in his pursuit of torture?
How many, for that matter, opposed Bush’s assertion that he had the authority to arrest American citizens and hold them indefinitely without access to an attorney or charging them with any crime? How many of them were opposed to Bush’s warrantless wiretap policy that shredded (and continues to shred) the 4th Amendment?
I count exactly one signer to the document that took a public stand against Bush on those issues — Richard Viguerie, who was part of the American Freedom Agenda that took a public stand against them and supported. That’s it. Every single other person who signed that declaration in favor of “limited government” that stuck to its constitutional boundaries, as far as I can tell, was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Bush administration when it utterly ignored the constitution on issue after issue.
And Viguerie can’t seem to figure out what the hell he thinks about it. On Feb. 15, he told the Washington Times:
Not all prominent conservatives are on board.
“This is embarrassing,” activist and longtime direct-mail advertiser Richard Viguerie told The Washington Times. “If the people in the leadership of the conservative movement are going to put out pablum like this, the tea party people are going to make them seem irrelevant. And the tea party people are going to march to the forefront.”
Yet he signed that “embarrassing” document and two days later he told OneNewsNow:
Among those in attendance will be Richard Viguerie, the chairman of Conservative HQ.com, who believes the conservative movement “got seriously off track during the big government days of George Bush, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay.” This document, Viguerie says, is designed to unite conservatives.
“This is an attempt to draft a document that conservatives — whether they’re Tea Party conservatives or social or economic or foreign policy conservatives — can get behind and begin the process of reclaiming the Republican Party for small-government conservatives,” Viguerie explains.
This whole thing is a joke. The rhetoric is great but the actions simply don’t live up to it.