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Obama’s sister: Failing a nation’s need for a juicy sibling scandal.

April 13, 2011

Maya Soetero-Ng

No matter what you think of the Obama administration, you must surely agree that his half-sister, Maya Soetero-Ng, has been a cruel disappoinment. I mean, compared, say, to Billy Carter or Donald Nixon or Roger Clinton or Neil Bush, she has simply not pulled her weight.

It’s no help at all — none at all, I say! — that Soetero-Ng is now the author of a children’s book, Ladder to the Moon, which went on sale Tuesday. With illustrations by Yuyi Morales, it’s a picture book about a child who climbs a golden ladder to meet her grandmother in Heaven.

According to publisher Candlewick Press, Soetero-Ng was inspired to write the book by her daughter’s questions about her late grandmother, Ann Dunham, who is, of course, the president’s mother, too.

Oh, God: I can see it now: The kind of uplifting, family-bondy thing you read to a child or grandchild curled up under your arm on the couch. “Mommy! Read it again!”

That’s fine. That’s fine as far as it goes — but come on, Maya, step up to your real responsibility as a presidential sibling, already!

Have you smoked pot on the White House roof or  urinated against the side of a building in full view of reporters, like Billy Carter? No.

Have you gone to prison for cocaine trafficking, like Roger Clinton? No.

Have you accepted shady loans from a wacko billionaire, like Donald Nixon? No.

Have you announced your own alcoholism while slipping juicy tidbits about your brother to the press, like Sam Houston Johnson (brother of Lyndon)? No.

Ms. Soetero-Ng, you have not even had the decency to be the subject of a grand jury investigation on charges of improprieties at your failed savings and loan, like Neil Bush.


In short, my friends, the Obama Administration has failed miserably in its sacred duty to provide us with the antics of an embarrassing and possibly criminal sibling. Maya Soetero-Ng is a bitter, I say, a bitter let down from the glories of past presidencies.

A Ph.D. in international comparative education? Years spent teaching high school history in Hawaii? Developing and teaching a curriculum at a New York City alternative school? Being fluent in three languages (Indonesian, English, Spanish)? Writing a book while campaigning for your brother?

Where, Ms. Soetero-Ng, where, I say, in this litany of unmitigated achievement have you displayed the slightest commitment to diverting a weary nation with the spectacle of a presidential sibling scandal?

I demand to see your birth certificate. Are you even the president’s sister? You don’t look African-American to me!

Your brother has released his birth certificate (check it out here): Do you have the courage to do the same? I think not.

That’s why, friends and neighbors, that’s why I say we must return a Republican to the White House in 2012. And looking over the field of GOP aspirants, I’d suggest Sarah Palin as the candidate most likely to fulfill our pressing need for entertaining family disgrace.

Although I’d be satisfied with Donald Trump. He’s a constant source of ludicrous hilarity all by his own self.

Hey! Here’s a thought: Palin/Trump 2012!

You heard it here first, folks. Don’t forget.



7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean Piccoli permalink
    April 13, 2011 10:56 am

    This seems to be a recent phenomenon in historical terms. I can’t think of any famously embarrassing White House relatives prior to LBJ’s brother. (The Kennedys’ woes were so grave and gothic they’re a category unto themselves.)

    And maybe it’s leveled off? W didn’t have Neil as a liability the way Poppy did, and apart from some collegiate partying by one of the daughters, the 2nd Bush presidency was largely free of household antics. And as you note, Ms. Soetero-Ng is exemplary.

    So it looks like we had a mid/late 20th Century outbreak of first family dysfunction, and now they’re back to being unimpeachable.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      April 13, 2011 12:00 pm

      Sean, you have dashed my hopes and ruined my day. Fingers crossed for Palin….

      • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
        April 13, 2011 12:05 pm

        Mustering all the seriousness at my disposal, which isn’t much today, let me say that I think what you’re describing is an artifact of the evolution of American journalism. Up until the Sixties, reporters tended to shield the private lives of politicians and celebrities. Hence we didn’t learn that Bobby Kennedy murdered Marilyn Monroe until decades after the fact…

  2. Candice Simmons permalink
    April 13, 2011 3:18 pm

    Kudos to Sister Soetero-Ng. Is the book any good?

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      April 13, 2011 10:05 pm

      I haven’t seen it, but it sounds like a decent picture book.

  3. Sean Piccoli permalink
    April 14, 2011 8:43 am

    Chauncey, that’s gotta be it! Families of all generations have had their share of crazy uncles, but you’re right, the environment changed. And now that everybody can be a media personality, it may turn out the Dubya/Obama lull will give way to unbridled wackiness. Go Palin!

    There must be a few presidential historians out there with the goods on first families going way way back.

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      April 14, 2011 10:40 am

      Well… you know, there’s a theory that all those African American Jeffersonian descendants are the product not of Tom but of a lesser known cousin or nephew or something. My vote’s on Tom, though.

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