February 17th, 2010
05:12 PM ET
8 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. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    I'm talking about YOU, SocialismBad and not_a_dem_anymore. Yes, YOU!

    February 17, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. FJM

    The worst of the worst, telling everyone how it's done. This ought to be interesting. More old washed up white guys with tired solutions.

    February 17, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. RTB

    These Conservative windbags crack me up. When they are out of power they hide behind anything symbolizing the American Ideals.

    When they are in power they systematically rape and pillage the country like a bunch of drunken religious fanatics.

    We are in the mess we are in because of these Hypocritical Gas Bags.

    February 17, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    February 17, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Michael from Ventura

    All they have is slogans and smear tactics.....Where's the solutions, and why weren't you screaming about it when it was happening under a republican administration? We know why......

    February 17, 2010 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Bob in VA

    LOL Ed Meese? Grover Norquist? Give me a break.

    February 17, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Ben

    rdepontb – You don't get it do you?

    The majority of "We" the people have decided we don't want Obama's healthcare mess.

    "We" the people voted Bob McDonnell, Chris Christie, and Scott Browen into office.

    Haven't you been paying attention?

    February 17, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. W l Jones

    My Great Great grand mothers an fathers turn over in theirs :"COTTON FIELD GRAVES" wishing they had any kind of government that they could plead their case. Now you have some people want to take the country back to that dark part of our history. It want happen so live with what you have now and feel bless.

    February 17, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    1960? Just goes to show these guys live like they want time to run backwards. And what was going on in 1960 that they resorted to such an inane manifesto? Think it through. It was right after the period involving the McCarthy Hearings when "communism" and "socialism" were buzz words...when we had added "In God We Trust" to our money in a symbolic gesture acclaiming ourselves holy warriors in the war against the "godless pinkos." And then...there was that whole civil rights thing that was picking up speed. Yeah...1960 sounds just about right for where most of these conservatives are stuck in their thinking.

    February 17, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. aware

    Get it together with the tea party movement of forget it! 🙂

    February 17, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Jeff

    So...limited government, but yet the government has to affirm "family values" that the select few want to have as law? Wow, no hypocrasy there...I also love that they want a limited role of government, and to adhere to the Constitution, but where in the Constitution does it say anything about the type of economy one should have? Where does it say we have to have a free market versus any other system? It doesn't say anything about the economy, which means arguing for a free market based upon limited constitutionalism is bull and baseless rhetoric.

    February 17, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. j

    When are Liberals and Progressives going to start shouting from the rooftops? These tea baggers and other conservatives are making a lot of noise for such a SMALL percentage of the population.

    When is the Progressive voice going to be as loud?

    February 17, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. GOP = "I hoe he fails"

    What's their views on social security and medicare?

    What's there views on the 14th ammendment which gurantees equal marriage for gays?

    What's their views on the all the wars started by Republican President's without a declairation from Congress?

    What's their views on abortion? The SCOTUS says that's a right to privacy issue?

    February 17, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. jayindenver

    "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."

    OK Newt, please show me exactly where in the Constitution it mentions any of the things stated above.

    *crickets chirping*

    Thought so. More "conservative" BS from a man who was forced from his Speaker's post in disgrace. Keep serving 'em up, we'll keep knocking 'em down. Have a nice day.

    February 17, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. sara

    OMG! Follow the money trail, robbed from the ignorant! So NOW they want fiscal responsibility? Didn't they just caused our financial system to collapse? CNN you Need to stop!

    February 17, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA


    February 17, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Wisconsonite - Vote for Consumer Protection Regulation of the Financial Industry

    These fools are trying to take over the country and the rest of us SANE people had better get our act together to stop them before we wake up and it's too late!

    February 17, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Ray in Nashville

    Wow. I wonder what constitution they are refering to? The one I know says that the people came together to form this union in order "to establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..."

    The one I know establishes freedom of religion, but does not place the country under the rule of religion. The one I know does not place the people at the mercy of big business and corporate greed. The one I know establishes a form of government based on representation of the people and, to this date, we have had free and fair elections every two years. The one I know even grants our elected representatives the power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States..." Sadly, the one I know even allows congress to "borrow money on the credit of the United States."

    It's clear that these people are simply those that have been out voted and are sore losers. They wish to confuse the issue by claiming a mission to take us back, not to a true reading of the constitution, but simply to a time when they were the ones leading the country in whatever direction they thought was best, not for the well being of the country, but for the well being of themselves.

    February 17, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Mike

    If the Heritage Foundation is involved then all is good. The Heritage Foundation strongly supports the Constitution and will give anyone who joins a free copy of the constitution. If you want to be informed and drive the liberal panty wearing bed wetting liberals, then the Heritage Foundation gives you the facts the liberals do not want you to hear.

    February 17, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |

    The last expiring gasp of the wealthy, white, racist, conservative "old boys' club," and they're not going to go quietly.

    February 17, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Mitch

    They should rename this to the 'Cry Baby Manifesto'. Just because America rejected the GOP in 2008 doesn't mean that the conservative movement now has to hijack it to get their voice heard.

    They don't want to respect democracy, why should we respect this group of whiner and cry babies. Where were you when GWB and friends decimated the constitution?????

    February 17, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. sam

    Its funny becase FOX NEWS doesnt have any story on this event!!
    Are they scared to be associated with the TP???

    February 17, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Mitch

    Will they also bring back the Salem witch hunts? How about McCarthy hearings to 'weed out' liberals, free thinkers and anyone who disagrees with their outdated and narrow minded views of America?

    This maniacal manifesto is the precursor to 1984. The conservative movement is becoming America's Nazi movement of the 1920's and 30's.

    February 17, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. Cynt

    Another movement. LOL these people are jumping on any bandwagon to try and undermind the adminstraion in the White House. well you unpatriotic bunch good luck with that LOL

    February 17, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    Less regulation? You mean let the banks and insurance companies wealthier on the backs of working people? Who are these people? Wealthy old white men?

    February 17, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
1 2 3 4