Ronald Reagan the actor once famously screamed on screen "Where's the rest of me?!" after waking in a hospital to discover that a sadistic surgeon had amputated both of his legs. My guess is that Ronald Reagan the national leader would express similar horror at what is happening to his beloved conservative movement as some in its ranks seek to sever from its agenda the priority "the Gipper" consistently gave to the national security.
One need look no further than the various functions held in the Washington area last week to see why Mr. Reagan would be so alarmed. On Wednesday, I joined a group of prominent conservatives assembled for the purpose of unveiling a document dubbed "the Mount Vernon Statement." It was intended to emulate an earlier articulation of the principles that unite the Right, issued fifty years ago at the Sharon, Connecticut home of William F. Buckley, Jr.
It was noteworthy that, during the press event where the new statement was released, Colin Hanna of the remarkable organization Let Freedom Ring read passages from the previous one. The latter spoke of "eternal truths" to be affirmed, including: "That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies; that the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties; that the United States should stress victory over, rather than co-existance with, this menace; and that American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: Does it serve the just interests of the United States?"
By contrast, the Mt. Vernon document made no mention at all of today's totalitarian ideology - what authoritative Islam calls Shariah - or the threat it poses to America, let alone declare that victory should be our purpose in dealing with this menace. To be sure, there were passing references to the Founders' "secur[ing] national independence," "warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere" and the proposition that "energetic but responsible government is the key to America's safety and leadership role in the world." Thin gruel by comparison with Sharon's statement, and woefully short of the sort of express commitment to "peace through strength" Mr. Reagan exemplified and practiced.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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