Used to be, life as the pardoned presidential turkey was pretty sweet. You'd go the White House the day before Thanksgiving, meet the president, not get killed, and be given an all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland. Life was good, even if you had no idea what was going on, because you were a turkey.
But these are leaner times, with a president disinclined to engage in frivolity, particularly when his political opponents are likely to be offended by the notion of a 45-pound bird being flown cross-country, especially if he took TARP money. Which is why this year's bird (and his alternate, who accompanies the original turkey everywhere, lest he be unable to perform the duties of the office) will live out the rest of his days not at Disneyland--gobbling churros, dating Kardashians, and palling around with Mickey--but amid the quietude and Kardashian-lessness of George Washington's Mount Vernon estate in Virginia.
To be fair, this year's bird--whose name will be revealed as soon as the White House advance team picks one--gets a taste of the good life before being relegated to the country. Per the AP, "the 21-week-old turkey being pardoned this year will arrive in Washington from California...and stay at the W Hotel, just a block from the White House. Once at Mount Vernon he'll be driven to his pen in a horse-drawn carriage and be greeted with a trumpet fanfare."