When this boy of ours George W talks about "leaving no child behind," maybe you heard him, talks about it a lot, you might think, oh, that's just some slogan cooked up by a speechwriter and honed in focus groups in Paramus. Especially given the way he says it. Kinda stilted. Not the natural orator his old man is. Better at the one-on-one. But it's not true, about the speechwriter. Here's what is true: he gets that from his mother and me.

You see, "leave no child behind" is what you might call the Bush family motto. Always has been. Back when W. and Jeb were little boys, one of them was always a little slower than the other. Not so good at reading or knowing about stuff. Won't say which one. Wouldn't be right. It was W. And so I said to Barbara, you know, maybe we should leave him behind. Go camping one day, far, far into the woods, and then when he's out digging up mushrooms, don't know why he was always searching for mushrooms, just pack up and leave. Keep the good one. But Barbara wouldn't hear of it. "Leave no child behind," she reminded me. The original compassionate conservative. So we kept them both.

As years went on our commitment to keeping no child left behind only increased. Now, some parents might have said, okay, with the drinking and the girlfriends, some of them liberals, and the slacking off, no drugs, though, never saw drugs or dope of any kind, don't know how that story got started, but with the rest, maybe we should, you know, cut him loose. Dead weight on the family. Never entered my mind, of course, but some parents, it might have. But I said, no. Called in some favors. Got him a job. And another one. And the National Guard thing. Didn't even have to show up. Then his own business. Small one. Why? Didn't want to leave him behind. After all, we always knew someday Jeb's going to be in the White House and an embarrassing brother would be an embarrassment. Look at Roger Clinton. Or Billy Carter. Couldn't have that.

And then suddenly, and this is the moral, where this story's going, W. is making it on his own. So our job is over, right? Mine and Barbara's? Well now, if you're a parent out there, you know that's one job that's never over. I'm still making sure he's not left behind. Finding him advisors, a vice president, the whole bit. Barbara's going to decorate the East Wing for him.

And that's why we say to America, join George W in his promise to leave no child behind. Even him.

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