“So long,” sang Woody Guthrie, “it’s been good to know you.”
I’m humming that tune as George W., rides off into the sunset — just an old cowpoke headed back home to his Texas spread. No, he’s not headed to that hokey ranchette in Crawford that Karl Rove insisted he buy in 1999 to spiff up his image as a “Western guy” running for president. (Bush’s “ranch,” by the way, is so hokey that he has no livestock on it! He literally is all hat, no cattle.) Instead, George is retiring to a posh $2 million house in one of Dallas’ wealthiest cul-de-sacs, where he’ll fit in quite comfortably with such upscale neighbors as T. Boone Pickens and Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks.
Of course, most Americans don’t care where he goes, as long as he’s gone. But I have to concede that, as a columnist who got a lot of mileage out of him, it was good to know him. It’s going to seem strange to have a president who is able to speak in complete sentences, containing verbs and everything. Where’s the fun in that?
So, already feeling nostalgic for the steady flow of gaffes and goofs from Bush’s mouth to our ears, it seems appropriate to send him off with a retrospective of some of his best insights, in his own words:
On what an outraged public should do in response to the 9/11 attacks on our country:
“Go shopping” (2001).
On his role as president:
“I’m the person who gets to decide, not you” (2002).
“I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best” (2006).
“I really appreciate the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce for giving me an opportunity to explain why I have made some of the decisions I have made. My job is a decision-making job. And as a result, I make a lot of decisions” (2007).
“I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions” (2009).
Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to read Jim Hightower’s column in your hometown paper.