How Many Turkeys Will He Pardon?

How Many Turkeys Will He Pardon?

President George W. Bush, following a tradition started by Harry Truman, is expected to pardon the 2008 National Thanksgiving Turkey. Mr. Bush has always enjoyed this ceremony, except for the year when things went horribly, tragically wrong, and his pardon came too late.

President Bush has more pardons to consider in his remaining weeks in office, and the herd of turkeys gobbling for clemency is bigger than the one at Turkeyfest in Cuero, Texas. Jailbirds looking to leave the turkey pen include GOP gobblers Edwin Edwards and Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Fowls facing future chopping blocks include David Addington, William Haynes, and others who permitted torture in the name of national security.

Possible preemptive presidential pardons preserving prime poultry? Monica Goodling, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, Harriet Miers, Kyle Sampson, Joshua B. Bolten.

Perhaps Mr. Bush and Vice President Cheney could pardon each other. It’s been done.

NotionsCapital wishes you a safe and sane Thanksgiving encounter with the Meleagris gallopavo or Tofurky of your choice. Remember: If you fry that bird, do it like a real American guy (directions here).


More about the turkeys of Cuero, Texas here and here. National Thanksgiving Turkeys presented by the National Turkey Federation.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here.Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

4 Responses to “How Many Turkeys Will He Pardon?”

  1. Weer'd Beard Says:

    I’m hoping that Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean will be pardoned or at least have their sentences suspended.

  2. Mike Licht Says:


    Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean could have received 20 year sentences for shooting an unarmed drug smuggler in the back; they were given 11 and 12 years, respectively. As I understand it, Mr. Bush said he would review the case last January. He may be a slow reader, but I think we can assume he has done so by now. The appeals court tweaked the sentencing, but convictions were upheld.

    In the United States of America, it is not legal for law enforcement officers to shoot fleeing suspects. It is not legal for them to shoot suspects at all unless their own lives or those of other citizens are immediately endangered. It appears Agents Ramos and Compean were cut some slack, and someone who actually knows the sentencing guidelines may have explained this to Mr. Bush.

    It is unclear why this case has been politicized, with four dozen congressmen plus Nancy Pelosi second-guessing two US courts.

    Juarez is a horror, and executions by gangs and the corrupt Mexican cops who work for them are all too common. That does not justify bad law enforcement on the US side of the border, in El Paso.

  3. Is this thing on Says:

    Yes, Bush will pardon a few turkeys but it will be far less than the number turkeys and buzzards Bill Clinton pardoned.

  4. Mike Licht Says:

    Is this thing on: Don’t fret; we’ll hear all about Marc Rich when Eric Holder comes before the Senate for confirmation. But did Clinton pardon Nixon?

    The names of more Republican crooks who may be pardoned are starting to hit the papers. Elected and appointed crooks; convicted, indicted, and unindicted, including several still in office.

    And what about the Veep? Read this.

    The Presidential Pardon is an enduring vestige of royalist tradition, and should be expunged by repeal of Article II, Section 2 and CFR Title 28, Volume 1. No one should be above the law.

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