RUSH: It was fascinating to me, as I said, to watch this because it hit me upside the head — even though, as I say, I instinctively knew this — that all of the top-tier candidates, because of these questions… See, there’s always a silver lining in everything. There’s always an upside. Some of you might not think of this as an upside or a silver lining, but the genuine moderate as opposed to conservative aspects of three of the top-tier, four of the top-tier candidates were on full-fledged display last night. There was one candidate who did not display any moderateness or liberalism or have any of his past forays into those areas displayed, and that candidate was Fred Thompson. Now, this is not an endorsement. You know, I don’t endorse during primaries. I just point out: These are things I noticed, and I’ve told you during the course of this one campaign year that one of the things that’s bothering me, is I’m a Reagan conservative, and I believe in conservatism. It’s in my soul and it’s in my heart, and I know it is the best way for us to manage our affairs to ensure the most prosperity for the most, to continue our freedom, to protect our country.
Conservatism sees people and sees potential. Liberalism looks at people and sees victims. Liberalism looks at people and sees incompetence, and, ‘We gotta help ’em out and keep ’em forever dependent so we’ll always have power.’ Conservatives don’t want to use the government to empower themselves. They want to get government out of the way to empower other people. So, to me it matters, and we have a campaign now where most of the candidates are not genuine conservatives. They may be saying they are, but in their past they have done some things that are not conservative in any way, shape, manner, or form — and I think a lot of those things are being overlooked even by friends of mine in the conservative media because the obsession is Hillary. ‘Well, we gotta have somebody who can beat Hillary, and we can’t have the perfect candidate,’ and so we gotta make the choice here based on who’s best equipped to win and beat Hillary. I understand that, and whoever the nominee is, I’m going to support them. So don’t misunderstand here. But I don’t like seeing ‘conservatism’ being watered down as the way it’s defined. I don’t want people who are not conservative being said to be representatives of the ‘new conservatism.’ There is no ‘new’ conservatism. There is conservatism, and you either are or you aren’t.
You can be 80%, but it depends on what the other 20% are, and I’m just telling you that last night, it was Huckabee and Rudy and Mitt Romney, because of these questions, who were all faced with the reality — and everybody watching saw it — that they’ve got some governance in their pasts that is not conservative, and this is something that just hit me. While everybody is talking about Fred Thompson, ‘He’s too lazy. He’s too lackadaisical. He doesn’t seem to have whole lot of energy.’ Fine and dandy. I’m not going to argue with people about your perceptions of attitudes and so forth. I will say this. I don’t think anybody would get into this mess running for the presidency, the media and all of these things. You can’t imagine what these people go through. You wouldn’t want to go through it, and I can’t imagine somebody put themselves through it if they really don’t want it.
You know, one of the arguments about Fred Thompson is, ‘Well, I can’t see the fire in his belly.’ Well, he’s got a different personality than the others. We’ll just have to see how all this shakes out. But those are the high points that I took. Now, some of the other questions: We’ve got audio sound bites of all this coming up after the next break. The abortion questioner, the YouTube question last night was a declared Edwards supporter, and also a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan. The Log Cabin Republican questioner (that was two questions on homosexuality last night), the Log Cabin Republican questioner is a declared supporter of Obama! We even had a question about the lead content of toys coming from the ChiComs. None of these questions would have ever been asked of the Democrats, but the toy questioner is a prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers. It was a series of plants, once again. Whether CNN knew it or not, that’s what it was.