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Thanksgiving – a time of grace and family sharing – will get an extra bit of grace from the White House this year.
Just as every president since Lincoln has done, Barack Obama will grant clemency to two turkeys that otherwise could’ve become the main entrée for the First Family’s holiday dinner. This traditional presidential pardon of the gobblers provides a bit of good PR for the National Turkey Federation, the lobbying group that arranges for one of its members to supply the birds. Therein lies this year’s extra touch of grace: Obama will be pardoning hard-core Republican turkeys!
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Well, fowls themselves probably aren’t political, beyond being anti-hatchetism. But even if turkeys had tried to vote in the November elections, they would’ve faced the voter ID laws that GOP officials have imposed. The laws were meant to repress the Democratic vote, but I think they would’ve repressed the turkey vote, too.
However, guess who did vote Republican in the midterms? The turkey industry lobbying group, plus the very corporate farm that shipped the two birds to Obama, voted with their dollars. The Federation fed nearly $160,000 into this year’s anti-Obama Congressional candidates, and Cooper Farms of Ohio chipped in more than $46,000 to GOP candidates, plus some $66,000 to the Federation’s Republican electioneering effort. Cooper Farms had also donated to the GOP’s failed effort in 2008 and again in 2012 to defeat Obama himself.
Yet, the Democrat in the White House will shun the chance for partisan retribution, making a unilateral executive decision to spare the lives of the two Republican turkeys. No doubt this will cause the GOP speaker of the House, John Boehner of Ohio, to sue Obama once again for executive overreach – this time for sparing turkeys without congressional permission.
“In Early Show of Bipartisanship, Obama Will Pardon GOP Turkeys,” www.opensecrets.org, November 13, 2014.
“The Thanksgiving Tradition of “Pardoning” a Turkey at the White House,” www.whitehousehistory.org, 2014.