Happy Thanksgiving!

Best holiday wishes to you and yours

Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at OTB!

It was 150 years ago that President Abraham Lincoln set forth the precedent that led to the fourth Thursday in November being declared a National Day of Thanksgiving with this Proclamation:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.


And here’s President Obama’s Proclamation for 2013:

Thanksgiving offers each of us the chance to count our many blessings — the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved ones, the brave men and women who defend our Nation at home and abroad. This tradition reminds us that no matter what our background or beliefs, no matter who we are or who we love, at our core we are first and foremost Americans.

Our annual celebration has roots in centuries-old colonial customs. When we gather around the table, we follow the example of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, who shared the fruits of a successful harvest nearly 400 years ago. When we offer our thanks, we mirror those who set aside a day of prayer. And when we join with friends and neighbors to alleviate suffering and make our communities whole, we honor the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln, who called on his fellow citizens to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”

Our country has always been home to Americans who recognize the importance of giving back. Today, we honor all those serving our Nation far from home. We also thank the first responders and medical professionals who work through the holiday to keep us safe, and we acknowledge the volunteers who dedicate this day to those less fortunate.

This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones. Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition, that we rise or fall as one Nation, under God.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 2013, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


No real posts today of course, because hopefully everyone is spending time with family, friends, parades, and football and avoiding politics for at least one day out of the year.

Nonetheless, because OTB is primarily a political blog, I can’t help but marking this day each year with these clips from The West Wing.

First, President Bartlet pardons a turkey:

Second, the great Joe Bethersonton calls the Butterball Hotline:

Enjoy the day, or the long weekend as the case may be.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    and the same to you and your people, Doug.
    Be well.

  2. John Peabody says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Now, where’s the Jeb Bartlett “Butterball Turkey Hotline” clip? It was after watching that clip two years ago that I succumbed and watched the entire darned series

  3. David in KC says:

    To you and yours as well.

  4. CSK says:

    I give thanks for a blog at which the vast majority of the commenters are literate and sane, even those with whom I might disagree.

  5. @John Peabody:

    It’s right there at the bottom of the post!

  6. Peterh says:

    Gobble till ya Wobble….Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. john personna says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. About to go off and see if I can organize a pre-meal hike. Enjoy.

  8. John Peabody says:

    Doug, sorry I didn’t see it at first. I knew OTB wouldn’t let me down, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition.

  9. stonetools says:

    Happy thanksgiving, all. All the best for the holiday season.

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    No real posts today of course, because hopefully everyone is spending time with family, friends, parades, and football and avoiding politics for at least one day out of the year.

    You know who wants to avoid politics? Those for whom politics is working out. Those profiting from their privileged position within the status quo.

    But if you’re poor, broke, unemployed, with kids to support, sick, unable to get healthcare, out of money, out of food, out of hope, you may want to avoid politics all you want — but politics isn’t avoiding you.

    Doug can avoid politics because he can afford to. Not everyone is that lucky.

  11. Ron Beasley says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of the OTB family.

  12. Rafer Janders says:

    A comment I saw today on Balloon Juice re a “guide to holiday civility” by Mark Shields and David Brooks:

    Two wealthy old boring white men who will never want for anything for the rest of their lives can certainly afford to pretend that deep policy differences don’t actually matter. To some people, votes taken in Congress mean that at the end of each month they don’t eat – those two lack even the empathy to understand that. It’s a lot easier to be civil if you’re rich.

    Somehow, it also made me think of Doug…

  13. casimir says:

    thanks!!!!! i am thankful for outside the beltway. i’m overseas but would love to be back today. have a great day to everyone

  14. @Rafer Janders:

    Wow. Dude. You seriously need to get in the spirit of the season.

    Also, you know nothing of my life so I’d suggest you keep quiet about it.

  15. Matt says:

    Happy thanksgiving everyone..

    After I finish off this ramen “egg drop soup” it’s back to cleaning and studying for the evening =/

    @Rafer Janders: Come on man put the bitterness off to the side for one day. You can go back to normal tomorrow.

    I don’t agree with Doug a lot of the time but I don’t think there’s any malice and he certainly isn’t a part of the rich class.

  16. Todd says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

    It was a nice day at my house (first time home for Thanksgiving in a couple of years). We had a nice dinner (which I cooked). My 3-year old wasn’t terribly thrilled … but otherwise it was all good.

    p.s. that link is a video on my Facebook page. I know some people value their anonymity on political sites, but I’m not one of ’em. 🙂

  17. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Wow. Dude. You seriously need to get in the spirit of the season.

    I spent the day volunteering at a food pantry, handing out Thanksgiving meals to hungry families, many of whom were there after their food stamps were cut by the people you vote for. I’d say I got into the spirit of the season just fine.

    Also, you know nothing of my life so I’d suggest you keep quiet about it.

    You’re not an attorney / writer for a political comments blog, and thereby a public figure, and you don’t advocate for libertarian causes and vote largely for Republicans? There something I got wrong there?

    And if you don’t want people to comment on your life, writing for this blog under your own name and frequently referencing your political opinions is a funny way to do it.

  18. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    And the injunction to get into “the spirit of the season” is a bit rich coming from someone who wrote his previous post about how it was no big deal for retailers to force their workers to work on Thanksgiving and thus make them miss the day with their families.

    So politics should give way to Thanksgiving, to the spirit of the season….but Thanksgiving must always, always yield to money.


  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rafer Janders: @Rafer Janders: @Rafer Janders: @Rafer Janders:

    And I thought the only reason I didn’t come around yesterday is because I was too busy.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    Happy belated Turkey Day to everyone and may you not get run over today by people stampeding to the malls on Black Friday.

    (I’m really surprised. The hotel I’m staying at is supposedly crammed full of people who wanted to spend overnight here because it’s a block from the local mall and everyone wants to get in line first. Given the prices this hotel charges, I find it difficult to believe that they’ll save anything near the cost of the room…..I’m carefully scampering away in the exact opposite direction.)

  21. rodney dill says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Re: Rafer – Trolls gotta troll.

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Also, you know nothing of my life so I’d suggest you keep quiet about it.

    How much do you know about the lives of the people — many of whom are not, unlike you, public figures — you write about every day? Do you keep quiet, or do you broadcast your opinions about their lives far and wide on your blog?