Never let it be said that George W. Bush has become a "Man without a Country." They LOVED him in Albania. But otherwise in Europe, the president was a Man without a Continent.

Over here, absence didn't exactly made the heart grow fonder either.

While there is nothing in the immigration legislation that prevents President Bush from getting back into the U.S., that's about the only comfort he can take. While he was gone, the congressional mice were playing on both sides of the aisle. They were chasing their tails over immigration ... actually more like hamsters running on that hamster treadmill that is the United States Senate. By week's end the bill was pretty much stuck in quicksand.

More damning was the decision by the administration to pull the plug on Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace. Not that anyone had anything against him personally, you understand, but Gen. Pace has the misfortune of being associated with the Bush Iraq war ... and even worse, with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld may be gone, but he sure as hell is not forgotten. This is a man who was once called a "rock star," but now he's a heavy stone who sinks anyone ever tied to him.

His successor, Robert Gates, is showing that he is a pragmatist, someone who is adept at reading the handwriting on the wall. And this handwriting read "Renominate Gen. Pace and we'll seek answers about Iraq." With that, the general was four-star toast.

Coming up ... Democrats will try and burn the attorney general. It could once again be more than the president can, uh, stomach.

But he'll always have Albania.