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March 02, 2007

Did Obama Own Yo' Mama?

Honestly, who in their reich right mind cares?

Many people know that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.

But an intriguing sliver of his family history has received almost no attention until now: It appears that forebears of his white mother owned slaves, according to genealogical research and census records.

The records - which had never been addressed publicly by the Illinois senator or his relatives - were first noted in an ancestry report compiled by William Addams Reitwiesner, who works at the Library of Congress and practices genealogy in his spare time. The report, on Reitwiesner's Web site, carries a disclaimer that it is a "first draft" - one likely to be examined more closely if Obama is nominated.

Why? WHY is an obscure geneology report "likely to be examined more closely if Obama is nominated"?

When, O when, are we going to stop playing gotcha politics? The editorial staff no more cares whether Strom Thurmond (who last time we checked, was not merely, but quite severely dead) had ancestors who owned Al Sharpton's forebears than we do that Obama's Mama's great-great-grandma may have been a slaveowner.

Let. It. Go.

We examine racehorses for their pedigree because we plan to breed them. Unless we have plans to breed Herr Obama or (perish the mental image... please... Al Sharpton), the behavior of their long-dead ancestors is of little or no interest. In an America where most blacks, if we are honest, have more than a smattering of white blood, things are going to get ugly pretty fast if we try to visit the sins of the forefathers upon their heads of their hapless descendants.

On the other hand, it could clear up the utter idiocy of the reparations movement faster than you can say Randall Robinson, as the spector of a whole slew of mixed-blood blacks having to pay reparations to their purer-blood brethren causes a marked lessening of enthusiasm for that particular venture.

On second thought, perhaps all this geneology research isn't such a bad idea after all? We might find out we have a lot more in common than we thought.

Candidates for political office have enough to contend with explaining their own words and deeds without having to atone for the real or imagined sins of long-dead forebears. Let's not overcomplicate life by creating artificial barriers to participation in political life.

Posted by Cassandra at March 2, 2007 08:34 AM

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Actually, when you put it that way, it almost sounds like fun.

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2007 10:05 AM

But not as much fun as filming a waxed gerbil :p

*running as fast as I can, and hoping you are still too sore to catch up*

Posted by: Cassandra at March 2, 2007 10:16 AM

Dang... where did I put that duct tape?

Posted by: Ron Jeremy at March 2, 2007 10:17 AM

It makes no difference what the candidates ancestors did, it is no more relevant that Obama's distant relations owned slaves then it is that Mitt Romney had ancestors that practiced polygamy.

The one thing that is illuminating however is the coverage each story gets. Do a Yahoo news search for Romney + Polygamy and you will find page upon page with every major news outlet and lots of minor news outlets ... do a search on Obama + slave + owner and you will find three relevant entries two from the Chicago Sun , one Baltimore Sun.

Next time someone one tells you that there isn't a liberal media bias, you can point to this.

Posted by: Frodo at March 2, 2007 10:18 AM

Oh, I am. But I'm patient, and will get you later. :)

Posted by: Grim at March 2, 2007 10:18 AM

Some great lines in Howie Carr's column today on this ( http://news.bostonherald.com/columnists/view.bg?articleid=185927 ):

Still, getting back to Mitt, what if the media went back and did this kind of skeleton-in-the-closet reportage on every other prominent politician? The piece about Mitt Romney mentioned that one of his great-grandmothers “used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow” when she thought about her husband’s other wives.
How do you suppose Rose Kennedy felt when Ted’s father, Joe, took his mistress Gloria Swanson with the family on a round-the-world cruise? Should old man Joe be described in all stories about Ted as “a Prohibition-era bootlegger who was fired by FDR as ambassador to the Court of St. James because of his Nazi sympathies.”
Mitt’s late mother, Lenore, is also mentioned, because she “does not appear to have polygamy in her family tree.”
Speaking of maternal sides, Ted Kennedy’s maternal grandfather was a mayor of Boston named Honey Fitz. Honey Fitz touched everything but the third rail, including a girl named Toodles Ryan. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a weekend takeout on Honey Fitz and Toodles.
In the interest of truth and accuracy, could this be said of Ted’s brother: “The president, who bedded both Nazi and Communist female spies, also shared a girlfriend with a Mafia don from Chicago.”
Chris Dodd? Granted, his candidacy is a joke. But he announced, and his father Tom was basically tossed out of the U.S. Senate. Ever hear that mentioned anywhere? Here are two more words not included in any of the stories about Dodd’s past: “Waitress sandwich.”

Posted by: Frodo at March 2, 2007 10:21 AM

I dunno..what is less moral? Owning slaves or having more than one wife? This could get fun.
I am going to get in my chaise with a tall cold class of lemonade and watch the twisting.

Posted by: Cricket at March 2, 2007 11:22 AM

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