Hi, I'm Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack.

This week, in homes across our great country, the people of this great land celebrated Thanksgiving. A uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving enables us to spend time with family and friends, lobbyists and lovers, scallywags and shvartzes, reflecting on our blessings, engaging in our customs, honoring our traditions, and talking in an  endless monotone until you tune us out completely and we're free to say what's really on our minds.

On the morning of Thanksgiving, I enjoyed, with my two sons, Phong and Willie, one of our family's most cherished holiday traditions, hunting. Pretty manly of me, wouldn't you say? You bet it is. As we walked through Iowa's tall native prairie grasses and the stubble of the recently harvested crops (I call it stubble, which is the manly sort of hair that grows right on my strong American face every day at precisely four-thirty) in search of cows, I marveled at the richness of our soil and the impressive productivity of the American farmer. And then I took me a manly piss against an old rotted log, filthy with maggots. The log, that is.

Unfortunately the cows were filthy with maggots as well, which set me a-thinking about the topic of hunger. Because the blessing of abundant food is not shared by all Americans. Like my neighbors, for example, who are literally withering away. Poor devils. The recent report from our Department of Agriculture documented an increase in hunger in America, particularly among our children. I pause and think of that fellow Swift, who once said that the greatest kindness we can show to a child is to eat him. I'm afraid that, unlike many of my Republican colleagues in other governors mansions across the land, I disagree.

During the evening of Thanksgiving, my family joined our extended family for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. While we couldn't enjoy cow, we did enjoy turkey and gravy and hot buttermilk biscuits and a vegetable tray that had everything from artichokes to zucchini. And mashed potatoes, yams, French fries, and scalloped potatoes. Yes, like my blue-collared brethren, I do enjoy my spuds. Everyone engaged in the conversation around the table, from 92-year- old Aunt Jessie to 10-year-old nephew Jack.

At these holiday meals, you enjoy the company you have, but you can't help but think of those not present or no longer here. Unfortunately, right in the middle of my pondering,  the doorbell rang. It was my neighbor and his starving wife, along with their three emaciated children. He told me he hadn't had a bite in a week, and so I bit him.

As we think about all of our blessings, we should always stop and say thank you for all those who have served to make America strong and secure. Yada yada yada. Are you still listening? I certainly hope not, because I don't have a thing to say. The truth is that nobody even listens to the president's Saturday address, much less the Democratic response.

And what sort of a response is this, anyway? The president says that Thanksgiving is a great day, a grand tradition, and we're supposed to give a differing opinion. Methinks not.

So in closing, let me tell you a little story that I hope will reflect favorably on me, and build a little of that good karma which we all crave so much. My parents used to remind me, and now I remind my sons, 'To whom much is given, much is expected'. I would usually give them a couple twenties and tell them to go stay at a Motel 6.

And now I would call upon our creator, and give him bountiful thanks, and to ask him what we have done to deserve four more years of president Bush. Perhaps we truly have lost our mojo. But what the hell. I say, Americans everywhere should eat a large turkey leg, or a small one if their financial condition will not allow for excess. In doing so, we keep alive America's promise and give full meaning to Thanksgiving.

May God bless you, as well as our great country.


2004, Mark Hoback