February 17th, 2010
05:12 PM ET
4 years ago

A rally cry from 'Mount Vernon'

Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform signs the Mount Vernon Statement Wednesday.
Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform signs the Mount Vernon Statement Wednesday.

(CNN) – A new push group rallying around the cause of "Constitutional Conservatism" unveiled a political manifesto on Wednesday to advocate for limited government and free enterprise.

The "Mount Vernon Statement" was launched by 18 establishment conservatives such as former Attorney General Ed Meese, movement elder Richard Viguerie and anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist.

The group also includes leaders of the Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council and American Conservative Union, among others. It plans a press event on Wednesday afternoon in Alexandria, Va.

The release of the Mount Vernon statement, which is modeled on a conservative call-to-arms issued in 1960, comes ahead of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference meeting – a three-day gathering set to begin on Thursday.

Read the Mount Vernon Statement below.

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 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 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.

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.


Filed under: 2010
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Mickey

    You idiots better be careful what you ask for...you just may get it.

    Then who are you going to blame it on?

    "may God forgive them, for they know not what they do"

    February 17, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Steve

    When do the people who are not conservatives and not liberals get together to talk? Thats the covention I want to go to.

    February 17, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. katiec

    Whatever happened to their ten step plan?
    Guess they need additional guidlines to keep their hypocrasy straight. What a bunch of incapable, insincere, egotistical losers.

    February 17, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Drew

    These people is whack. Who do you think provide more support for the poor people who are on welfare, section 8 and free housing. People stop acting like you are on this planet alone and get with the program and start helping this President get some much need things done and then you can see how aligned you are with some of his plans.

    February 17, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. katiec

    What a bunch of poppycock.
    After almost destroying our country and continuing on with their destruction, they have the nerve to try and make the American people they care about us and our country.
    Have never before seen such a bunch of hypocrital, lying, self serving politicians.

    February 17, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. not_a_dem_anymore

    this is a great statement – it restates what the Constitution is and where we as Americans have went astray.

    February 17, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Conservative Voice

    THANK YOU! Where do I join?

    February 17, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Thankful for our Military

    100% Agree, we need to get back to our founding principles

    February 17, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. SocialismBad

    WHAT??!! No list of government entitlements for everybody at "no cost"??!!! How will half of America survive?

    The answer to our problems was written over two hundred years ago by our Founding Fathers. We just stopped reading it and following it..

    February 17, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. REG in AZ

    Moderate Conservatism is fine but hiding a concentration on benefit for Special Interests and a select few, like in 2001-2008, behind the label of 'consevatism' is the past abomination of gross dishonesty, run away greed and self-indulgence that brought this country to its knees. We really need to be careful when becoming critical of the Democrats efforts and then readily accepting the rationalizations to effectively return to 'more of the same'.

    February 17, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. getthefacts

    Anything to get their 15 mins of fame and more money. They call it a grassroots effort. I call it an excuse to blame the gov't while increasing greed and fame!

    February 17, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Who said the Mayans were wrong?

    These groups are the real enemy of the American peoples freedom,they not only want to run the country,they want to run the World with" One World Government".Grover Norquist is scarier than Bin Laden.

    February 17, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. patNY

    Gee, while they're at it, why don't they bring back the stocks and buckled hats of the days of the pilgrims! What a bunch of scared nit wits!

    February 17, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. not_a_dem_anymore

    this white collar, high earning, agnostic, suburban, social moderate, voter supports this statement.

    February 17, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Socialism...keeping police/fire stations, roads, justice system and the military out of the hands of Capitalists

    Yes, we need less government and more free enterprise! No more regulations through anti-trust laws, labor safety laws, child labor laws, consumer protection laws, minum wage, licensure for physicians / laywers / electricians / chiropracters / nurses / social workers / accountants. The free market will work it all out.

    If someone wants to perform heart surgery out of his basement let him! If he is no good the free market will take care of him. And if the free market leads towards a particular industry becoming a monopoly than it must be the best thing. The free market is infalible!

    And no more government run judicial systems investigating consumer safety. Our police and courts should be run by various privately owned institutions.

    Yay Capitalism!

    February 17, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. rdepontb

    Just who is in this self-appointed "we" group? I thought we had a Constitutionally derived system in place already-the electoral laws and process, which gives individuals the right to vote.

    If the "we" group intends to maintain national defense, cross-state labor and transportation laws, and basic human freedoms of faith and welfare in total, who do "they" see as paying the freight?

    If the "we" group wants to retake the high ground, what is their informed position on the will of the voting public? Are they to overturn the public's interests that rendered elected officials into office? By who's Godly authority??

    Please, folks. We have a wonderful system, and we know not all players are playing with the broad public interest. Let's fix those folks and utilize the positive-the high ground-that our nation has already achieveed.

    February 17, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Tony

    Free enterprise has really done us a lot of good. Monopolies, corporations running our government, record profits with high unemployment.....I'm all for free enterprise to a limit. But this is ridiculous.

    February 17, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. jbakaregit

    Limited/small government = government that can't oversee what Wall Street is doing
    Less taxes = less taxes for the rich (thereby increasing the tax burden on middle class & the poor)
    Individual liberty? How does that square with telling a woman what she can and can't do with her body?

    This is the same packaged failure that began with Reagan and crashed with Bush 2. Bush cut taxes for the rich (trickle-down economics), not the middle class & poor who needed them (Obama cut taxes for this group in the recovery act). Bush launced two unpaid wars, thereby crippling further crippling our economy. Bush gutted agencies (limited government) that oversee Wall Street & deregulated morgage laws (limited government) that led to the crash. Bush 2 initiated torture, which is against the domestic and international law.

    The economic conservatism they talk about is conserving the wealth in the top 2% - period. The Bush 2 years proved that. They have no record of economic accomplishment, no record of balancing the budget (Clinton did that).

    They had their chance to put their "conservative principles" into practice. America got an 8 year helping of "compassionate conservatism" by Bush 2. Our country saw the results and responded by kicking them out of office. Now that Obama is cleaning up what they broke, they have suddenly seen the light and want America do finish what they started. It isn't going to happen.

    February 17, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Scott in Atlanta

    Everyone wants to talk about the Founding Fathers... Well read about them... How one thought Christianity was dispicable and dangerous. Another hated government all together. While still another was a criminal. And the list goes on.

    So are you really looking for what the Founder Father's were looking for, or do you just want to go back to ONLY White, male, land-owners running everything?

    February 17, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Publico

    How about "The Mega-Ironic Statement". These people all stand for no regulation of business, military meddling in other nation's business and stagnation of the country by trying to maintain the status quo. They are the same people who brought us the near economic meltdown because of their greed and now they attack the administration for spending money for trying to prop up the economy after the banks and AIG got through stuffing their pockets. Where are their complaints against the country spending 10 billion dollars a month on a phony war since 2003? Do you think that maybe that has something to do with the deficit. We are in very dangerous times when, instead of bowing their heads in shame, these people are coming back to try for a second helping of whatever they can grab. America beware of simplistic slogans. Follow the money and you will see what this is all about, and it is not the good of the American people.

    February 17, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Ben

    getthefacts – "They call it a grassroots effort. I call it an excuse to blame the gov't while increasing greed and fame!"

    Wrong as usual. Can you honestly tell me that wanting to keep more of what you earn is a bad thing? Since when do I owe people who won't work for it more of my hard-earned money? Get it straight: It's got nothing to do with greed.

    February 17, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Fritz

    Remember kids: free enterprise can mean cashing out your benefits, leaving you jobless, or just plain cutting your wage-slave pay check when the enterprise goes bust.

    The only difference between a small business and a big business is how blatantly they can screw you over.

    February 17, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Ole Turley

    Have you seen the mark of President Obama, on Vice President Biden forehead ???????

    February 17, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. Jim

    Ah, the myth of the Founding Fathers and their infinite wisdom. Surely they knew what was best for us, 200+ years later.

    All things considered, the Constitution is an impressive accomplishment, but its hardly perfection or super-human wisdom.

    February 17, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Ben

    @ Socialism...keeping police/fire stations, roads, justice system and the military out of the hands of Capitalists

    As usual you miss the point entirely. Nobody is suggesting doing away with any of those regulations. What we have a huge problem with is too much taxing and spending by the government.

    Liberals always blame Capitalism when Capitalism has nothing to do with the problem. Wake up.

    February 17, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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