BY JIM HIGHTOWER
“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” .
On his role as president:
“I’m the person who gets to decide, not you” .
“I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best” .
“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” .
“I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions” .
On his Iraq war:
“I’m the commander. … I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation” .
“Mission accomplished” .
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we” .
“I think – tide turning – see, as I remember, I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of – it’s easy to see a tide turn” .
“You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror” .
“I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me” .
“I think I was unprepared for war” .
On the economic decline in 2008:
“The economy is growing; productivity is high; trade is up; people are working.”
“Wait a minute. What did you just say? You’re predicting $4-a-gallon gas? That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.”
“We got plenty of money in Washington. What we need is more priority.”
“This thaw took a while to thaw. It’s going to take a while to unthaw.”
“Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted.”
“I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”
On his grasp of history:
“More than two decades later, it is hard to imagine the Revolutionary War coming out any other way” .
“That’s George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read … three or four books about him last year. Isn’t that interesting?” 
“I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma” .
“One of the things important about history is to remember the true history” .
“And I, unfortunately, have been to too many disasters as president” .
“I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office” .
So long, George!
– Jim Hightower’s columns appear regularly in The Oklahoma Observer