BALTIMORE, Jan. 30 -- "We must marry fiscal and moral renewal in our agenda. We are composed of men and women who are committed to principle -- this is not just a time for challenge; it's a time for opportunity."
So was the clarion call for an end to "business as usual" in Washington from one within the system. Congressman Mike Pence this morning addressed his colleagues from his position as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, which is composed of 110 of the most conservative members of Congress.
Over 60 conservative House members are gathered on a two-day retreat today and tomorrow, on the eve of three seminal events which are happening this week—any one of which could bring about the much-needed halt to liberalism, secularism and plain ole irresponsibility by the largest government institutions that run our lives.
These key events are:
* The vote to confirm Samuel Alito as the newest Supreme Court Justice.
* The election of a new Majority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives to replace the embattled Tom DeLay, who stepped down from the position amidst a plethora of legal challenges and ethical allegations.
* The president's State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
These conservative House members play no role in the Supreme Court confirmation process but have been working diligently to correct the numerous ills which have befallen the nation due to absurd Supreme Court rulings as well as to influence those moral issues which will undoubtedly arise in arguments the Court will hear in the coming years. Chief among these are efforts to roll back a culture of death and protect the unborn where legislatively possible and enshrine in our Constitution the time-honored definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
Of course, foremost among the concerns of all who follow Washington is the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, which has rocked the Hill and the public's confidence in its elected officials. But there's much more at stake here than kicking out the "pay for play" problems and perceptions that have prompted the well-known caricature of politicians as devoid of any ethical moorings.
Sterile policy "reforms" absent reforms of the heart and soul won't do.
What's necessary, Pence noted, is for the conservative House members and the RSC to take the lead on key issues and ethical practices. We're looking at a tough year ahead and challenging times, he said, but if we reform government from the inside-out, we have the powerful opportunity to restore the vision of our Founding Fathers.