The Turkey Pardon: Metaphor for the Entire Obama Presidency

Normally, I wouldn’t have much to say about a Presidential turkey pardon.  I mean…. Who really cares?

But this morning, I happened to see a video of President George W. Bush pardoning the Thanksgiving turkeys during his final year in the White House.  Then, a counterpoint:  I heard President Obama’s turkey pardon on the car radio.

The difference in these two pardons was a metaphor for the stark difference in their presidencies.  One is self-absorbed, clownish, mocking of faith, jokes about “luck” but forgets to mention “thanks.”  The other—well, see for yourself.  I’m including the video, which makes me really yearn for bygone days.


  • Talk about the spared turkey as “lucky.”  Note that your family, in a photo op, will deliver “unlucky” turkeys to a food bank.
  • Make a mocking, “funny” Sign of the Cross over the pardoned bird—an obvious disregard for the importance of this sacred symbol for Catholics and people of faith.
  • Disregard your daughters, standing beside you in bored complacency.  Instead, focus your attention on the cameras.
  • Use the opportunity to obliquely criticize the United States Congress.  Say things like “Some of you know that recently I’ve been taking a series of executive actions that don’t require congressional approval.  Well, here’s another one.”
  • Use the opportunity to criticize the media.  Say things like “They received the most important part of media training, which involves learning to gobble without saying anything.”
  • Never mention God, or thanks, or grace, or the American people.  Never mention anything noble.  Keep the attention on yourself.


  •  Thank the men and women in uniform and talk about how proud you are of them.
  • Thank the armies of compassion—volunteers who feed the hungry and shelter the poor, teachers and nurses and pastors and firefighters, and others who serve their neighbors and better their communities.
  • Thank your wonderful and supportive family, and talk about the blessing they have been in your life.
  • Thank your wife for her love.
  • Thank your two daughters, “Thanksgiving blessings” some 27 years ago.
  • Express your thanks that your mother is doing well.
  • Express your thanks for a new son-in-law at the dinner table this year.
  • Thank the American people for the tremendous privilege of serving as President.
  • Wish all Americans a Happy Thanksgiving, and ask God to bless them.


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