More than 80 big-shot conservative leaders and grass-roots activists, moving to seize the momentum in the movement, have drawn up a manifesto aimed at linking the new trends of center-right politics to the roots of conservatism first proposed in 1960 by William F. Buckley Jr.
Some 50 years after conservatives cobbled together the Sharon Statement, named for Buckley's hometown where he penned it, the new gang led by former Attorney General Ed Meese is proposing a Mount Vernon Statement aimed at rewriting the movement's principles. Some excerpts of the document to be released Wednesday have been provided to Whispers:
—"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 new statement is being timed to influence this week's Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. Here's the lowdown on Wednesday's Mount Vernon Statement release ceremony:
CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT LEADERS TO ISSUE "THE MOUNT VERNON STATEMENT," DEFINING CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES, BELIEFS AND VALUES
Fifty Years After The Sharon Statement Helped Launch The Conservative Movement, Today's Leaders Will Unveil And Sign Declaration Of Leadership
WHAT: A Who's Who of the conservative movement's leaders will unveil and sign the Mount Vernon Statement: a document defining the movement's principles, beliefs and values in light of the challenges facing the country and the need for Constitutional Conservatism since the Obama administration came to power. The unveiling and signing of the Mount Vernon Statement comes on the eve of CPAC, the largest annual gathering of conservative activists from across the country.
WHO: The proceedings will be led by former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, senior statesman of the conservative movement. He will be joined by more than 80 national grassroots conservative leaders representing tens of millions of conservative activists including: Edwin Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation; 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; Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America; 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 and Kathryn J. Lopez, National Review and many others.
BACKGROUND: The Sharon Statement, signed at the home of William F. Buckley, Jr., in Sharon, Connecticut in September 1960, helped launch and define the conservative movement that led to the recruitment, development and election of numerous conservative leaders who have held positions in public office and public trust at all stations from town councils to President of the United States. The Sharon Statement can be viewed here. The Mount Vernon Statement will be signed by conservative leaders who represent all major elements of the conservative movment—economic, social and national security.