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Rush Limbaugh, Clarence Thomas and other well-known conservatives owe Jack Bauer a debt of gratitude; not just for constantly saving the world, but for providing these bores with entertainment on a weekly basis.

At the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, these gentlemen gave thanks for the hit FOX show, 24. The Heritage Foundation hosted a forum with a panel that featured homeland security experts, the co-creators of the show and three of the show’s stars to purportedly. The topic at hand?

“America’s Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction, or Does it Matter?” Soon enough, however, the event became a love-fest.

In the front row sat Supreme Court Justice Thomas. Among others in attendence, he listened to Rush gush.

“I am literally in awe of the creativity of the brains behind the program,” said conservative talk radio icon Limbaugh, who moderated the panel. “The vice president’s a huge fan. Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld’s a huge fan.”

Since its debut a few weeks after 9/11, 24 has managed not only to climb to the top of the ratings, but to build a serious conservative fan base that reaches the highest echelons of the U.S. government. We’re sure watching it is NOT the hard work President Bush often refers to.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff did note that the show had some differences with his reality.

“I do not have an ops center like CTU,” he said. But the general themes of the show are real. “The characters are presented with difficult choices, choices about taking violent and drastic action against a threat and weighing that against the consequence of not taking the action and the destruction that might otherwise ensue.”

Limbaugh said he hadn’t seen the show until someone gave him the DVDs of the first two seasons. On a flight to Dubai, he and former vice presidential aide Mary Matalin watched 18 hours of the show consecutively.

That’s comforting to hear. Hopefully, the government will soon send Bauer into Iraq and put an end to this nonsense.