As you probably know, George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, was the keynote speaker at this year's Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum.
He was thoughtful and insightful, which surprised some people.
He told a story about introducing his dog, Barney, to Vladimir Putin. Later, in Moscow, Putin introduced Bush to a huge hound and said, "Bigger, faster, stronger than Barney." That was an invaluable glimpse into the psyche of Russian leaders, Bush said.
"Power is subversive and addictive," Bush said. "You fall in love with it. It's a false god."
He said he'd taken up oil painting, which he called a "mystical retreat" and something that's opened his eyes to the world. On a recent trip to the coast of Maine, he noticed four shades of blue in the ocean instead of just one. "Colors are different to me now," he said.
Bush was also sure of himself, which didn't surprise anybody.
Speaking to criticism of his administration, he said there was "no such thing as accurate short-term history." He said that his book, "Decision Points," served "to provide data points for when objective historians finally show up."
He called the No Child Left Behind Act "one of the best pieces of civil rights legislation we've had in a long time."
Most of all, he was funny.
In fact, many in the audience wondered at times if George Bush wasn't actually impersonating Will Ferrell impersonating George Bush.
He recalled the day of his inauguration: "I'd won the same election like five times." He said he struggled with his first command decision: Choosing a rug for the Oval Office.
During the question-and-answer session, he gave a rambling answer to a question about Syria, then asked the moderator, "What was the damn question?"
Of Condoleezza Rice, his former Secretary of State and a new member at Augusta National Golf Club, he said, "I'm kind of warming up to her. Need a fourth, Condi?"
This year, I've had the privilege of hearing luncheon addresses from President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and neither will ever top Bush as an after-dinner speaker. They talked smoothly, looked sharp and had lots of ideas.
Sure, both men are running for president, one of them defending a record and the other attacking it, and maybe one day they'll act more natural and be more candid.
But watch "Journeys with George," a 2000 campaign documentary by, of all people, Nancy Pelosi's daughter, and you'll see Dubya wandering the aisle of the press plane cracking jokes and extolling the qualities of Cheetos.
On Tuesday night, while Republicans 400 miles away were giving televised speeches and trying to sound important, that same guy was in the Columbus Convention & Trade Center cracking jokes and telling stories.
He just had a whole bunch of new material.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org