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November 26, 2008

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Chad Love: Stop Pardoning Turkeys

I despise those ridiculous Thanksgiving turkey "pardons" that politicians engage in this time of year. This cheap and meaningless political theater began, apparently, in 1989 with the first George Bush.

I don't know what the hell Herbert Walker was thinking, but thanks to him virtually every two-bit elected potentate in the country now feels the need to demonstrate how compassionate they are by ceremonially commuting the death sentence of a rock-dumb bio-engineered growth hormone-enhanced 25lb. walking breast with feathers whose ancestors at some point in the distant past may have been real turkeys. 

Other than speaking, it is one of the most intellectually dishonest acts a politician can engage in. Which is why I think Sarah Palin should just say screw it and go turkey hunting.

If you haven't heard, Governor Palin was criticized recently for conducting an interview during just such a pardoning ceremony while in the background an employee of the turkey farm is enthusiastically stuffing a presumably unpardoned turkey into what appears to be a grinder. The video and David Letterman's hilarious "Top Ten Sarah Palin Excuses for Turkey-Gate" can be found here.

The fact Palin has taken some undeserved lumps for the gaffe points out the utter hypocrisy of the whole damn "tradition."  She's no different that any other politician, she just had the bad luck to have a little reality muck up the script. Which brings me to number seven on Letterman's list "My Remington shotgun says I don't need an excuse." It's meant as humor but it rings with truth. If Palin or any other politician were smart they'd dispense with the farce, pick up a shotgun and go turkey hunting. Pardoning a lump of manufactured meat never has and never will reflect the spirit of Thanksgiving. Honoring our ancestors by putting honest food on the table will.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.



Sarah Palin was set up by the "news" crew so that they did get the shot of the guy slaughtering turkeys in the background. And those weren't grinders; those were funnel into which the blood of the headless turkeys drained. Geez, you sure you're an outdoor writer and not a hack for some liberal, tree-hugging hippie rag? You ever been to a poultry market? Bet you never have, otherwise you'd have known what that funnel was for.

Want to help me put honest food on the table? Invite me up to go hunting with you. I live on Long Island and I'm a new hunter. Been doing this for 4 years now and I'm just scratching the surface as to all the dopey hunting laws we have in NYS. I have yet to harvest anything, because of the lack of access to hunting lands. Wonder why hunters numbers decline every year? Well, there it is. I won't even go into the hunter harassment horror stories I hear about being perpetrated by the DEC officers themselves, down here on Long Island. So how about it? Put your money where your mouth is and take a new guy hunting?

Don't mean to come off so antagonistic. I'm really a nice guy, but when I read stuff like what you just wrote, it really gets my goat.

Happy Thanksgiving!


If I remember right it was Harry Truman that pardoned the first turkey. I guess the other presidents since have done it as tradition, But these are the farm raised birds, I would like to see a list of politicans that would shoot the real thing.


Why do I think Sarah Palin new exactly what was going on in the background of that news story?

Today's policiticians don't poop without a focus group poll to tell them when/where/how and that includes Palin.

Chad Love

To OrangeNeck: Sorry, but the "the media setup" excuse rings a little hollow. That's the kind of shot any news crew worth their salt would try to set up regardless of who it was. That's the reality of broadcast journalism.
I have two lifelong friends who are both broadcast journalism vets, one's a technical director and the other is a shooter. Both approach stories from the same frame of reference and that reference is "what's the visual?"
And no one can deny that an image of a dead turkey being processed in the background while a politician is being interviewed about pardoning a turkey is one helluva visual.

If Palin is serious about being a politician then it's incumbent upon her to be aware of such things and react accordingly. That's what smart politicians do, and if Palin wants to go far in national politics then she better get smart, fast. All indications are she will.

As for questioning my writing credentials because I apparently failed to recognize a piece of equipment on what looks like a commercial turkey farm, then I guess I'm guilty as charged.
All my turkeys are free-range, their heads removed with either a 12 gauge or a broadhead and their blood drained while strung up from a tree. I use no funnels and I fail to see any connection or similiarity whatsoever between the two activities other than the ultimate death of a turkey, but if you do and you think less of me for it, good on 'ya. It's a free country.

As for hunting, if you can make it to Oklahoma this spring I'll try my damndest to put you on a nice Rio Grande tom.

Chad Love

Actually RJ...

No sooner had this blog post gone up when I saw the obligatory AP story on this year's Presidential Turkey Pardon.

From the story:

Nov 26th, 2008 | WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush is on his way out the door. So you just knew this final pardon was coming.

"With a smile and some nostalgic words, Bush spared the national Thanksgiving turkey on Wednesday, honoring a tradition that dates to Harry Truman's presidency."

Only problem is, that's about as wrong as wrong can be.
Truman never pardoned a turkey, it never was a "tradition" until 1989 and quite frankly anyone who gets a paycheck from the Associated Press for regurgitating this crap without spending a few minutes doing some basic research needs to have that paycheck garnished.

As a sorta-kinda loosely-based "journalist" with a background in daily newspapers, it really irritates me to see lazy, incompetent journalism, especially from an organization like AP.

Perhaps Bush should be pardoning egregious reporting errors rather than turkeys. Good journalism is a cornerstone of a functioning democracy and for crying out loud if you can't get a story about a Thanksgiving turkey correct then I shudder to think what else you may be screwing up.

Rant off. I'm now going to go shoot something with feathers...

Chad Love

I hasten add I wasn't ranting on you RJ, you were just repeating what was presented as fact to you from what used to be an authoritative, respectable news organization...

But no, that photo of Truman and the turkey is famous, and it has perpetuated the idea Truman actually pardoned the turkey, but according to historians at the Harry Truman Library that bird more than likely ended up being enjoyed with stuffing and gravy...

.88 Mag

Anyone else notice who posted that YouTube clip?

Mike Diehl

You know that the only real turkeys that get pardoned are the ones that make big campaign contributions.

Orange neck. You can come hunting with me any day. I got less years of experience than you, but plenty of public land to hunt on. We probably won't get a thing but experience, but Fl does a great job giving me a place to go and learn.

Chas S. Clifton

It was not a "grinder" but a slaughtering cone that holds the bird quietly upside-down while its throat is cut.

Small-scale poultry processors use them for chickens and turkeys.

How do you slaughter *your* domestic poultry?


Chad thanks for the corrected history on turkeys. Did you get a chance to shoot something yourself this holiday? I currently am banned from shooting this year as per the doc, due to a eye problem, but my nieghbor shot a nice muley Thanksgiving morning. How did everyone who could get out do?

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