Rich Galen

A new version of the Monroe Doctrine, perhaps? Raising the countries of Caribbean Basin as well as Central and South America to the social, political and economic level of their counterparts in North America and Western Europe? An overhaul of America's medical and pension systems so we could grow up and grow old knowing that if we lived well and worked hard we would be protected?

A do-over for America's primary and secondary education system? One in which we worry more about teaching children than about babying teachers?

We don't know what the original goals might have been because the goals shifted on September 11, 2001 and the President's principal goal was to "keep us safe." Every day. Every morning when he received the intelligence briefing. The threat report.

The President was not maudlin last night and he has not been during these final weeks of his Presidency. The other night I was honored to have been invited to a reception at the White House which included a photo with the President.

In the decades I have known George W. Bush - back to the days when we (incorrectly) called him "Junior" when his dad was Vice President - he called me Richie.

Until he was elected President. He never called me Richie nor, come to think of it, anything else.

When I was approaching the President for my photograph, introduced by the military aide as "Rich Galen" the President reached over, took my hand and said, "Richie! Thanks for everything you've done."

Back Atchya, Mr. President. Thank you for everything you've done.

You haven't tired. You haven't faltered. You certainly haven't failed.

You've kept us safe.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at