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January 31, 2009

What could be the impact of another Democratic president having a brother problem?

President Jimmy Carter had problems with Billy Carter.  President Bill Clinton had problems with Roger Clinton.  And now, as detailed in this CNN article, it appears that President Barack Obama may have problems with George Obama:

George Obama, the half brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, has been arrested by Kenyan police on a charge of possession of marijuana, police said Saturday.  Inspector Augustine Mutembei, the officer in charge, said Obama was arrested on charges of possession of cannabis, known in Kenya as Bhang, and resisting arrest. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday, Mutembei said....

CNN Correspondent David McKenzie talked with George Obama at the jail where he is being held. Speaking from behind bars, Obama denied the allegations. "They took me from my home," he said, "I don't know why they are charging me."

George Obama and the president barely know each other, though they have met before.  George Obama was one of the president's few close relatives who did not go to the inauguration in Washington last week. In his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," Barack Obama describes meeting George as a "painful affair."

For a variety of reasons, the arrest of George Obama in Kenya on drug charges is more likely to be a media-driven distraction than the basis for serious discussion of drug crimes and international law.  However, I cannot help but speculate and fear that this news could somehow influence whether and how the Obama Administration moves forward anytime soon on drug policy reforms or other hot-button criminal justice issues.

January 31, 2009 at 10:58 AM | Permalink


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Does anybody know what kind of punishment one is looking at for possession and resisting in Kenya?

...I know, typical first question out of a defense attorney's mouth... but I'm compelled to know!

(and all the barristers I've contacted from Africa are probate lawyers with a large inheritance for me if I'd only give them my banking info and a small processing fee.)

Posted by: D. Farley | Jan 31, 2009 11:47:06 AM

Add Ulysses S. Grant to the list. He (the brother) had problems with failed financial institutions and it was a constant rumor that Grant would pardon him! Best,

Posted by: P.S. Ruckman, Jr. | Jan 31, 2009 2:39:17 PM

The brewing scenario/scandal centering on the immigration status of Obama's aunt on his father's side is a bigger issue in my estimation.

Posted by: mjs | Jan 31, 2009 7:37:38 PM

Given the current state of the world, I really don't see Obama focusing on drug policy anytime soon. You may say it makes sense from an economic standpoint to focus on such reform, especially during tough economic times, but there's just no way he's going to waste political capital on this issue when the average voter isn't willing to connect the two issues.

Posted by: GayRepublican | Feb 1, 2009 3:35:46 PM

Michael Phelps smoking from a bong will probably have more influence, for better or worse.

Posted by: Anon | Feb 2, 2009 9:44:49 AM

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