Glenn talks with Fred Thompson


Fred Thompson

GLENN: Third most listened to show in all of America. From Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan, third most listened to show. Hello, you sick twisted freak. Welcome to it. Little pig, little pig, let me in. Do you feel like the big bad wolf today saying to the House, I'm going to blow your house down if you let me in? Little pig, little pig, my gosh what did they do last night in the Senate? Oh, I am for a bailout but the wool research and the NASCAR tracks kind of make this feel really dirty. But maybe it's just me. And Sarah Palin, tonight the big debate. Sarah, just go out and be yourself. And if you flub it, if you screw it up, then go back to Alaska and keep working on it and come back. Just don't change. Don't let them win. I swear to you I don't know why people -- I don't know why people run sometimes. I really don't. I think this is why Fred Thompson was kind of like, oh, jeez, really? All right, I really don't want the job but, okay, I'll do it. Fred Thompson is with us now. Hello, Fred, how are you, sir?

SENATOR THOMPSON: Hello, Glenn. Hey, man, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you, okay?

GLENN: (Laughing). Run for your life! Jeez, Fred. Let me ask you this: Could you have voted for this last night?

SENATOR THOMPSON: Look, I'm here today with John McCain's folks and with Sarah Palin and I'm focused on her today and I've got a lot of thoughts about this other but, you know, it's not my place just to give my own personal opinions all day when I'm here on their behalf. I will say that the thing that concerns me the most is not that they've come up with a big bill. It's that there's not been time enough. It takes them six months to change a light bulb up there ordinarily and they were kind of giving a (inaudible) and no hearings and none of that. I'd feel a whole lot better about it if we had some other alternatives that were truly considered and some other experts contacted and gotten their ideas who are coming out now, Isaac and Larry Lindsey and people like that who have a great deal of confidence in, who haven't been talked to about it. I'm just not at all sure, from the outside looking in, but not at all sure that we've explored all the options here.

GLENN: That's the longest answer I've ever heard for, these people are fools. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. I mean, it's working so far. The Dow is down 232 points.

Anyway, so let's talk about Sarah Palin. How do you -- people are saying that the McCain people have boxed her in. I don't know if it's the McCain people as much as it is the media. I think she is so afraid of making mistakes now because everything -- I mean, the question that she had on television the other day, "Where do you get your news, where do you get your news, where do you get your news." What do they think? The Dummy Times? She can read. What difference does that make?

SENATOR THOMPSON: That's all about them.

GLENN: Yeah, how do you not lose your confidence when everyone is trying to kill you?

SENATOR THOMPSON: She has undergone what -- I don't know of anybody else in public life since I've been around has gone through. She's undergone a frenzied attack on her and her family and, you know, everything from having her e-mail hacked into, to criticism of her children and her life and they've descended on Alaska, you know, they got more lawyers up there than they got polar bears now trying to dredge up any kind of scandal that they can on her. They have now taken to -- they got a backlash on that. So now they are using the news media to ridicule her and take these little snippets from these interviews and embarrass her. Anybody who's been in public life, certainly Barack Obama and Joe Biden have had these days, have had these answers, have had these particular moments and so forth and they are just doing whatever they can. The media's got a vested interest in her demise. She was not on their short list. They did not get a chance to vet her beforehand. We know what that means. They were surprised. They don't like surprises. They are not getting the access to her that they want and now they are making her pay a price for it. It always happens that way. You always pay a price, and the American people have to decide whether or not this is fair treatment or this is a double standard, and it obviously is. Joe Biden is protected by the fact that his gaffes are so numerous and on such a regular basis that they just kind of shake their head and smile and say that's just Joe being Joe.

GLENN: Do you remember --

SENATOR THOMPSON: And she says a little something, you know, and the world's coming to an end.

GLENN: Do you remember when Hillary Clinton made the, "You know, I was under sniper fire."

SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, Joe did the same thing.

GLENN: I was just going to ask if you knew about, this amazing story. Where is this story?

SENATOR THOMPSON: Where is the story when he was in Iraq, supposedly he got shot at, his helicopter was supposedly forced down in Afghanistan. None of it happened.



GLENN: And yet --

SENATOR THOMPSON: This top level meeting that our officials had in Iran with Iranian officials didn't happen. He apparently didn't know we get half of our coal from -- half of our electricity from coal plants. He certainly didn't know who was President, you know, when the stock market crash happened. You know, he's made ethnic jokes. And this is the guy with a background, with a plagiarism problem. You would think that that would be relevant to today's media, but they're giving him a pass. They mention it briefly and go on, giving him a pass basically because he's been doing it for 35 years and they're just now catching Sarah Palin a little bit here and there and that's, you know, the day of her debate and that's their idea of equal treatment. I'm tired of her getting beat up with no response and I'm like you. I think, just let her do what she's done. It's not exactly like she's been unsuccessful. She has been successful in everything that she has done, and the only people that she's accountable to love her in overwhelming numbers.

GLENN: It's down I think to, like, what is it? 78% or something like that?

SENATOR THOMPSON: I wish some of these detractors had numbers like that.

GLENN: I know. There's --

SENATOR THOMPSON: Compare that to 9% approval rating in congress.

GLENN: Which Barack Obama are part of and John McCain as well.

SENATOR THOMPSON: All of the experience out.

GLENN: So. Fred, what I'm honestly trying to figure out is these weasels, there's too many of these weasels in Washington just sold their soul to the devil. There are a lot of good people there, but there's a lot of people. We are now paying for the people in the Nineties just doing special favors so they could get elected and reelected and reelected. That's what we're paying for.

SENATOR THOMPSON: And we sit back and watch it happen and reward them too often.

GLENN: Right.

SENATOR THOMPSON: We have ourselves to blame for a lot of this, Glenn. You know, it is the ultimate test of democracy when you learn you've got the keys to your own treasury. Now, what we're doing, we're seeing our financial markets brought down as we speak because people in congress who are now leading the reform effort, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, primarily what they did in protecting reform from Freddie Mae when John McCain was trying to get that changed and all. Now we're looking at an entitlement crisis as we become a more aging population. Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable. We're told that by all the experts. We're seeing the next big crisis play out on a daily basis. We're being told by a few knowledgeable people, neither the politicians, nor the people apparently will have that addressed because it requires some temporary changes. We've simply got to get behind that and make these politicians pay a price for not addressing it and reward the ones who have guts enough to stand up and do it. One of the things McCain doesn't get enough credit for is that when they expanded the entitlement program up there a couple of years ago, he's one of the few conservatives to vote no.

GLENN: Yeah, I will tell you this, that I do believe that he has fought many times against big government. He has fought against earmarks. However, I mean, you're on his dime today. So I'm going to ask you a question about him. I for the life of me don't understand how he could have voted for it when there were earmarks for wooden toy arrows, wool research and say, you know what, if we believe in this package, we do it. I'm a guy who had my arms pulled out of the sockets, for the love of Pete. You do something with honor. But there's no honor in this bill. This is ridiculous.

SENATOR THOMPSON: What they apparently did is take the tax extenders and another bill, totally separate thing, and put it with this because it was "Must-pass" legislation. They do that all the time unfortunately.

GLENN: But why, with the country --

SENATOR THOMPSON: You've got to vote up or down on the whole package.

GLENN: I understand that. But with the country 9-1 against, John McCain standing in front of the capitol building and saying America, this is what they're doing. I believe in the bailout and we need to have a bailout, but I have you on my side. These guys are just going for pork, they're just doing whatever's good for them. You believe in something; I believe in something. You put pressure on them to pass a clean bailout, from three pages to 453? He would have -- it would have been a clear win for him.

SENATOR THOMPSON: I can't speak for him on that because I haven't talked to him about it, but I think it's clear that he got up there and he talked to the people that he needed to talk to and the ones that I haven't and the people whose judgment he relies on. He's been up there a long time, and he concluded that we had to do something and that this was the only thing that was going to be timely enough to do any good, and you had to make those compromises in order to do that. That's the only thing that I can see and, you know, we'll just have to talk to him about that. He's his own best person on that but, you know, he's the last guy, he's the last guy that deserves criticism for not standing up against all odds on things.

GLENN: I know, I know.

SENATOR THOMPSON: That's been his entire career. This gets back to the qualification issue that they mention on Sarah Palin. What's more important? Having the experience doing the wrong thing or being willing to raise a little hell and change things that need to be changed. That's her history. That's her background. That's McCain's background. Compare that to all these other folks on Wall Street and in Washington with all this expertise who we've been relying on. The underlying problem here is that nobody trusts anybody in Washington or Wall Street today and that's the reaction that you're getting. People are sitting back and saying, you know, they may be right, but why should I trust them? I have no reason to trust them.

GLENN: You are exactly right. You are exactly right on that, which goes to this fundamental question. Sarah Palin, somebody coming into this system, and I know she's not -- this isn't just some housewife off the street and say, hey, you're going to be the vice president. I know she has experience and significant experience. She was dealing with corruption in Alaska with the oil industry.

SENATOR THOMPSON: Exactly.

GLENN: And she won. So she's got experience and she's a tough cookie. However, what America likes about her is that she's real and she's connected to people. Is it possible, Senator Fred Thompson, to go to this cesspool and remain true to yourself? Is it probable that you can get into Washington and not be sucked into it and just --

SENATOR THOMPSON: Well, Glenn, I think John has done that. I think John has done that. You'd be surprised at some of those luncheon meetings that we would have up there. I sat next to him on the floor of the Senate for a long time and, you know, the Democrats two or three times a week get together and have their luncheons and plot strategy as to how to defeat Republicans, Republicans do the same thing on the other side of the capitol. You'd be surprised how utterly isolated on some occasions John would be and he would turn out to be right, he would turn out to be doing the right thing but he has been willing to be unpopular and to do the courageous things on occasion after occasion, some of which I've not agreed with him on but he's always been consistent in showing the courage and determination, looking out for the long-term interest of the country. And that's what I tried to do. And that's why I think in my case it's worth a few years of your life but it's not worth your entire life. Because you're not all you can do, until the people determine that there ought to be more people like him, not much is going to happen. And we sit back, I mean, we've got to look ourselves in the mirror. We sit back and we -- all of us spend probably more than is prudent and all of us just let things roll, let the good times roll and the stock market's going up. We ask no questions, and the government is creating Fannie and Freddie and the government is putting everybody in a house whether they can afford one or not. I grew up my life renting, my folks did. And I rented part of my own life. You know, it's not the end of the world if you can't afford it to wait a little bit until you can afford a down payment. But we all go along with all of that. Then it hits the wall and, you know, we're looking for somebody to blame. There are plenty of people that reside in Washington. Wall Street and some of them reside in our own living room.

GLENN: Very good. Fred Thompson, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

SENATOR THOMPSON: Appreciate it.

GLENN: You've got it. Bye-bye.

SENATOR THOMPSON: Thank you.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.