Supporters of The Mount Vernon Statement are calling it the “definitive statement” regarding the central principles of the conservative movement, claiming that it represents a “significant moment as social, fiscal, and national security conservatives come together to declare the importance of partnering to defend our nation’s founding principles.”
The statement itself is pretty underwhelming, but if you want to get a sense of just how utterly meaningless it is, just note that its unveiling was timed to coincide with the beginning of the annual CPAC conference tomorrow … where, as Newt Gingrich explains, “the Tea Party Patriots will unveil a grassroots-generated, crowd-sourced, bottom-up call for real economic, conservative and government reform.”
The Tea Party document is called “The Contract From America” and starting tomorrow, activists will be allowed to vote to narrow down a list of 22 ideas “down to ten solutions for real change … which will comprise the Contract From America, will be unveiled at the next round of nationwide Tea Parties on April 15.”
Take a look at the 22 ideas from which activists can choose:
DEMAND A BALANCED BUDGET: Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike.
STOP THE TAX HIKES: Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.
COMMIT TO REAL GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY: Every bill, in its final form, will be made public seven days before any vote can be taken and all government expenditures authorized by any bill will be easily accessible on the Internet before the money is spent.
PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION: Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does.
PASS REAL HEALTHCARE REFORM: Greatly improve affordability of health insurance by permitting all Americans access to all health insurance plans sold anywhere in the United States through the purchase of insurance across state lines and allow small businesses and associations to pool together across state lines to buy insurance.
ENACT FUNDAMENTAL TAX REFORM: Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the Internal Revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words — the length of the original Constitution.
END RUNAWAY GOVERNMENT SPENDING: Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth.
LET US SAVE: Allow all Americans to opt out of Social Security and Medicare and instead put those same payroll taxes in a personal account they own, control, and can leave to whomever they choose.
PROTECT INTERNET FREEDOM: No regulation or tax on the Internet.
GIVE PARENTS MORE CHOICES IN THE EDUCATION OF THEIR CHILDREN: Improve American education by reforming the broken federal role through eliminating ineffective and wasteful programs, giving parents more choices from pre-school to high school, and improving the affordability of higher education.
PASS AN ‘ALL OF THE ABOVE’ ENERGY POLICY: Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition.
PROTECT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: Prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from using funds to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in any form, including requiring “localism” or “diversity” quotas.
RESTORE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY & CONSTITUTIONALLY LIMITED GOVERNMENT: Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states.
PROTECT PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS: Block state and local governments that receive federal grants from exercising eminent domain over private property for the primary purpose of economic development or enhancement of tax revenues.
REJECT CAP & TRADE: Prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures.
STOP THE PORK: Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the process is fully transparent, including requiring a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark.
NO CZAR REGULATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION: All “lawmaking” regulations must be affirmatively approved by Congress and signed into law by the president, as the Constitution requires for all laws.
AUDIT THE FED: Begin an audit of the Federal Reserve System.
NO MORE BAILOUTS: The federal government should not bail out private companies and should immediately begin divesting itself of its stake in the private companies it owns from recent bailouts.
STOP CAREER POLITICIANS & CURB LOBBYIST POWER: Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require Congressional term limits. No person shall be elected to the Senate more than twice or to the House of Representatives more than four times.
SUNSET REGULATIONS: All regulations will be “sunset” after ten years unless renewed by Congressional vote.
LET US WATCH: Broadcast all non-security meetings and votes on C-SPAN and the Internet.
Do you see anything in that list that would appeal to the concerns of social conservatives? Maybe the provision about giving parents more choice in the education of the children, but that is it. And, more than likely, that won’t make the cut to be included among the final ten.
So, while some conservatives are busy hailing the Mount Vernon Statement as a grand manifesto that will unite the movement, other conservatives are hailing the Contract From America as a grand declaration of the movement’s basic agenda, even though it contains no mention of any issues important to social conservatives.
The conservative movement is so united at the moment that they have dueling documents designed to declare their unity.