Friday, February 19, 2010

This is Unity?

The Mount Vernon Statement, released on Wednesday, just before CPAC got rolling, claims to be rallying point around which “all conservatives” can unify. Really. I find that a stretch despite quality signers from Heritage and the Old Guard Conservative Movement. 

If it was really about unifying the conservative movement, something tells me one of its main drafters wouldn’t have cracked into Sarah Palin on the very day of its release. Grover Norquist let loose, “Is Palin running for president? The answer is no. She could have spoken to 10,000 people, but instead she chose to speak to 600 and get paid $100,000. That’s being a spokesperson and making a living, not running for president.” 
Rats! Norquist’s statement was so close to being profoundly unifying. He just missed!

Actually his non sequitur was a very non-subtle indicator of what the statement is really about.
Circling the wagons is the essence of the old boy network. If the swagger of grassroots women of integrity has got you down, no worry, just coalesce around the jerks. High profile leaders like Michelle Malkin and Sarah Palin have done a nifty job of refusing to buy into the corruption of the Right that Grover Norquist and David Keene so flamboyantly represent. To normal people, the idea that our own house ought to be in order before we attack the values of the Left is uncontroversial. Not so for many of the old school leaders of the conservative movement.

And the audacity of trying to lock into George Washington’s legacy is intensely galling. The Mount Vernon Statement argues that “the Constitutional conservatism… reminds economic conservatives that morality is essential to limited government.” Great concept--tell it to Mr. Keene. Our first president was an integrity before all else kind of a leader, nothings like the brass knuckle, whatever it takes, CPAC loyalists.

The Mount Vernon Statement seems to be mostly a way of changing the subject from “the trouble with CPAC…” and making an “all is forgiven” step forward. Nice try. But Mr. Norquist has helpfully let the cat out of the bag on the latest self-congratulatory yelp of establishment conservatives.