David Franke on the Mount Vernon Statement

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An old-guard Republican activist since the 1960s, David Franke doesn't have much faith in this week's Mount Vernon Statement. Though it was an event meant to unify and galvanize conservatives, Franke says it shows the GOP is still "stuck in the Sixties." Republican leaders, he says, are still fighting battles from half a century ago and have yet to address the real problem hindering the party: the Bush legacy.

There is not the slightest hint or acknowledgement that conservatives had any part in this undermining or redefining. Nothing about people posing as conservatives being responsible for a brutal empire that straddles the world, the bankrupting of the nation to pay for this empire, the justification of torture at home and abroad, an imperial presidency, the evisceration of the Tenth Amendment, you name it. [...]

Anyone with an ounce of political savvy can figure out that this is not an indictment of changes brought about by Bush and Cheney, but by that scoundrel Barack Hussein Obama. And there’s a reason why the signers of the Mount Vernon Statement are silent today about the decapitation of the Constitution in the Bush/Cheney era – almost 100 percent of them supported Bush and Cheney with their votes in 2000, 2004, and (by proxy McCain) 2008. Even if they uttered some criticisms from time to time, they ended up voting for the Republican every time because – horrors – otherwise a Democrat would win.

In short, they put allegiance to party above allegiance to the Constitution they claim to serve. And because they cannot acknowledge this, the Mount Vernon Statement has to be seen as just another partisan battle cry, not a statement of “conservative beliefs, values and principles.”

So what should Republicans do? "[R]eflect on what George Washington had to say about political parties and partisanship," Franke advises. Whether he's right or wrong, he's taken an in-depth, historical view of the Republican Party and the conservative movement that few others seemed to have considered.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.