George W. Bush leaves the Capitol via helicopter Tuesday.

George W. Bush leaves the Capitol via helicopter Tuesday.

Former President George W. Bush left Washington, D.C., and is now back in Texas.

And the nation breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Tonight Bush addressed more than 20,000 supporters at a homecoming event held in his honor in Midland, Texas. Attendees reportedly included Bush’s chief political adviser and “brain,” Karl Rove, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and former adviser Karen Hughes.

“We are back in the state of Texas and we are here to stay,” Bush said.

Quick, somebody put a giant impenetrable dome over the Lone Star State to make sure he keeps his promise.

With that said, I have two compliments for Bush as he rides off into the sunset leaving quite a mess for our new president to clean up. First, I’m glad he didn’t issue a bunch of last-minute pardons like Bill Clinton did before he left office. That means former vice presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby will not have his record expunged, and former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, media mogul Conrad Black and former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens still have to serve time for their crimes.

Secondly, I liked the gesture Bush made toward his successor, Barack Obama, before boarding the helicopter that flew the 43rd president to Texas. As Obama turned to shake Bush’s hand, Bush saluted Obama, the new commander-in-chief of our country. It was a brief but touching moment that made me smile – and I’m surprised I’ve heard nobody comment about it.

Sometimes Bush does the right thing. Too bad he didn’t do it more often. Maybe then our country wouldn’t be facing so many challenges as he leaves office.