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 duri

ng 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 order 5mg cialis cheap online 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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16 Responses to “The Turkey Pardon: Metaphor for the Entire Obama Presidency”

  1. Elizabeth Scalia says:

    I’ve always said Obama lacked class or generosity. This was classless, ungenerous and ungracious. It was adolescent, actually. Pathetic. Great piece, though, Kathy.

  2. Elizabeth Scalia says:

    the video of Obama’s pardoning is here:

  3. scott (the other one) says:

    “When we gather around our tables tomorrow to share the fruits of our blessings, let’s remember what that means. Let’s be grateful for what we have. Let’s be mindful of those who have less. Let’s appreciate those who hold a special place in our lives, and make sure that they know it. And let’s think about those who can’t spend the holiday with their loved ones—especially the members of our military serving overseas. I’d like to thank all our men and women in uniform and their families for their incredible service and devotion.

    “And that’s what being an American is all about. Even when times are tough, we look out for each other. We lift each other up. And we remind ourselves just how lucky we are here, together, in the greatest country on Earth.”

    I dunno, *I* heard him thank our military. And I guess I realized that when someone speaks of being grateful and lucky and appreciative, those are synonymous for giving thanks.

    Exodus 20:16

  4. scott (the other one) says:

    “I’ve always said Obama lacked class or generosity. This was classless, ungenerous and ungracious. It was adolescent, actually. Pathetic.”

    Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known. As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.

  5. Ross Warnell says:

    Kathy, you’ve got pretty good aim throwing that first stone.

  6. Kathy Schiffer says:

    Well, he was a pretty broad target, Russ!

  7. John B. says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake. It’s merely an intentionally humorous and lighthearted “ceremony,” and those are in fact lucky birds. Maybe you would like his official Thanksgiving Day proclamation better:

    I won’t be voting for Obama either, for important reasons. But this “classless, ungenerous, ungracious ” sniping over every silly thing is what’s really “adolescent” and “pathetic.”

  8. Jonah Lowry says:

    Wait, so this was actually meant to be taken seriously? You should probably step away from the keyboard for a little while and try to regain a sense of perspective.

  9. Tamara Moravec says:

    Well done!! I miss President Bush. The contrast is stark.

  10. Ross Warnell says:

    Ummmm…I should have used the word casting rather than throwing, as in casting the first stone.

  11. NCSue says:

    What else do you expect from a turkey like Obama?

  12. […] H/T Kathy Schiffer and Seasons of Grace […]

  13. […] President.Wish all Americans a Happy Thanksgiving, and ask God to bless them.Kathy’s piece is The Turkey Pardon: Metaphor for the Entire Obama Presidency. Thanks go to The Anchoress (Elizabeth Scalia) for spotting it.I am reminded that one day the […]

  14. Renee G. says:

    Excellent article. Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you.

  15. sjay says:

    On the other hand, to elevate the “turkey pardoning” from its origins as a sentimental joke to the primary vehicle for expressing authentic thanksgiving seems to suggest a real lack of sensitivity and an inability to distinguish between what is important and what isn’t.

  16. Kathy Schiffer says:

    What emerges from the Democrats is an insistence that “This lousy speech really doesn’t matter.”

    But the President should be the cheerleader for our country– At the least, can we all agree that this was a truly missed opportunity to say something of consequence?

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