Welcome back to Washington, sorry about that Blair House situation. But how about the airplane Laura and I sent you, pretty nice, yes?
It's been a remarkable eight years for me. My staff tells me I have left a great legacy. It's all there in those talking points they gave me for my round of exit interviews with the various news organizations.
I thought I would take time away from reading books to offer you some advice. You know, I did read 95 books last year, just ask my book club buddy Karl Rove. That's a pretty amazing accomplishment considering I had so many important issues competing for my time, like the economy, the Iraq War, Russia and Georgia, the annual turkey pardon and my 10pm bedtime. That's lights out at 10pm. A president has to get his rest.
Now as good a legacy as I have as president, I have learned a few lessons I'd like to pass on to you. You know, in the spirit of bipartisanship and all that.
When it comes to the economy, don't get too involved. Let your treasury people handle it. We had record economic growth for seven years and I was totally hands-off. Only recently have problems befallen our great nation, but that was not my fault. It was due to decisions made a decade ago, before I took office. Meanwhile, keep an ear to the ground for someone named Madoff, as in he "made off" with my money, because I hear he's a real fraud.
Give your vice president plenty of running room, especially if you trust him. It always worked real well between Dick Cheney and me. You know, bad cop and good cop. By the way, check to see if Joe Biden hunts.
Be strong on terrorism. Because of my leadership terrorists have not attacked the U.S. since September 11, 2001. Yes terrorism has dramatically increased around the world, but I can only be president of one country at a time. One of the reasons for my success is we have killed or captured all the top Al-Qaeda terrorists. Yep, we really stuck it to them. Using my aggressive approach you should be able to capture bin Laden and al-Zawarhi. I have teed it up for you.
And don't be afraid to suspend individual rights in this country. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson did just that and history has smiled down on them too!
Watch out for those guys in intelligence. They only tell you what you want to hear. Those WMD's were supposed to be a slam dunk. Well, the good news is we got Saddam and liberated Iraq from his tyrannical rule. And now, just five years later, things are so safe for everyone in Iraq that al-Qaeda has moved its training bases there.
Support the democratically elected president in Afghanistan because he's a good guy. Sure his government is somewhat corrupt, but cut him some slack. I mean look at Blagojevich for God's sake. He is more corrupt than any Afghani, and Illinois seems to be doing just fine. No matter, the Afghan economy has been great, even after you take out those booming opium dollars.
Continue to garner worldwide respect by providing food aid for natural disaster relief; I have led in this area. On a related note, should you encounter a disaster in the United States, such as a hurricane, make sure you have someone qualified running disaster relief. Unfortunately, my staff misled me on this a few years ago. But I acted decisively and got rid of those who were responsible for the mistakes.
Don't hesitate to take plenty of down time. It will help you think more clearly, at least that's what it did for me. The results speak for themselves. Maybe we'll have you down to Crawford after you get settled in.
I'd give you more insight but I want to make sure Laura has plenty of material for the new book she is writing. She will soon be the big breadwinner in our family, if you get my drift.
But here are a few simple principles I followed and can share with you.
1. Never apologize.
2. Never look back, only look in front of you.
3. Don't pay attention to your critics.
4. Reward those who tell you what you want to hear.
5. If they are wrong immediately turn on them.
6. Don't ask questions, don't be curious, it may make you look uninformed.
7. Never have any regrets.
8. Never say you're sorry.
It's called survival of the fittest, or politics as usual.
When you are sworn in, to quote Colin Powell in a different context, "you will own it." It will be your recession, your housing crisis, your banking collapse, your do-nothing Congress, your Israeli crisis, your Russian resurgence, your international disaster, your Katrina clean-up.
What do you mean you can't do miracles? That's not what the world thinks. Good luck!
Of course, I checked out a long time ago. But let me leave you with these final words:
Mission accomplished, I'm out of here!
President George Bush