Last night was a picture in contrasts. Mitt Romney was last night’s pinata. Everyone painted a bullseye on Mitt’s chest before they emptied both barrels at him. McCain and Rudy got criticized for their immigration policies. Huckabee for his foreign policy. (It goes without saying that Ron Paul got hit hard for being from another solar system.)

At the other end of the spectrum, Fred Thompson didn’t have a glove laid on him. There’s a good reason for that: His policies and beliefs are rock solid and unassailable.

No GOP presidential candidate will argue that the federal government’s role shouldn’t be limited to the things that the Constitution explicitly assigns to the federal government. People aren’t going to pick holes in Fred’s foreign policies, either, because he wants to stay on offense against the jihadists while bringing all of our tools to bear on the sitution. Also, his credibility skyrockets when he talks about serving on the Intelligence Committee and having met with world leaders, including Gen. Musharraf.

Implicit in his talking about what principles he’d govern by is the fact that he’ll appoint strict constructionist judges. Anyone that thinks that the federal government shouldn’t worry about oil company profits isn’t someone that’ll pick judges in the mold of Sandra Day O’Connor or David Souter.

Nobody doubts that a President Thompson would nominate judges like Samuel Alito, John Roberts and Antonin Scalia. That’s music to movement conservatives’ ears. That’s like getting marching orders into the sanity wars, sometimes referred to as the culture wars.

Implicit in his reply to the oil companies’ profits was that he believes in the free market system. That also shined through when he talked about the health care industry. His answer that free markets were the only way to hold costs down while maintaining quality had economists everywhere cheering.

I wrote here that Fred owned the stage last night. The reason he owned it is because (a) nobody laid a glove on him and (b) he pointed out the flaws in the other candidates’ positions.

That’s what happens when you’re the most intelligent, most conservative candidate on stage.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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