Is Obama his aunt’s keeper?

posted at 9:40 am on October 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The Times of London finds the long-lost relatives Barack Obama could not, but does this really have anything to do with the election?  Zeituni Onyango played a memorable role in Obama’s memoir Dreams from My Father, but now lives in a public-housing project in Boston.  The “Uncle Omar” that Obama called “lost” has also re-emerged in scruffier surroundings:

Barack Obama has lived one version of the American Dream that has taken him to the steps of the White House. But a few miles from where the Democratic presidential candidate studied at Harvard, his Kenyan aunt and uncle, immigrants living in modest circumstances in Boston, have a contrasting American story.

Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.

A second relative believed to be the long-lost “Uncle Omar” described in the book was beaten by armed robbers with a “sawed-off rifle” while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 (£1,488) arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court. …

In his book Mr Obama writes that “Uncle Omar” had gone missing after moving to Boston in the 1960s – a quarter-century before Mr Obama first visited his family in Kenya. Aunt Zeituni is now also living in Boston, and recently made a $260 campaign contribution to her nephew’s presidential bid from a work address in the city.

Neither person proved particularly difficult to find.  Ms. Onyango had been quoted in one or two articles in the Boston press.  Omar, now going by his actual given name Obama Onyango, had been attacked in a robbery in the mid-90s, when Obama began writing his memoir.  Certainly, Barack Obama has been easy to find if Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Omar wanted to find him.

Does this really mean much of anything in this election?  If it means anything at all, it would only work as a rebuttal to Obama’s accusation about Americans in the Saddleback Forum, when he accused his fellow countrymen of being uncharitable:

“Americans’ greatest moral failure in my lifetime,” he said, “has been that we still don’t abide by that basic precept in Matthew that whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.”

As with Obama’s half-brother George in Kenya, the financial plight of Obama’s relatives challenge the wealthy, successful Obama much more specifically than Obama challenged Americans in that forum.  Matthew speaks of all men as brothers, but a failure to care for family speaks much louder than a failure to care for strangers.  It makes Obama look a little hypocritical, especially after featuring Zeituni and Omar in one of the books that now provide a healthy income for the presidential candidate.  Obama may want to recall the Gospel passages about motes, beams, and thine own eye before lecturing America on Matthew.

Otherwise, though, this seems unremarkable to me.  Judging from my e-mail, it’s a popular link this morning, but most of us have extended family in various economic situations.  Applying the same mote-beam-eye standard, how many of us send money to those less fortunate among distant cousins, or even relatively close family?  And does this really say anything germane about the vote we all will cast in five days — or will we be more rightly focused on policies and experience?


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Applying the same mote-beam-eye standard, how many of us send money to those less fortunate among distant cousins, or even relatively close family?

Well, I don’t know about you, Ed, but my very large family helps each other out frequently.

Connie on October 30, 2008 at 12:01 PM

Applying the same mote-beam-eye standard, how many of us send money to those less fortunate among distant cousins, or even relatively close family?

I do. Not as much as I should, but I do. My parents do. My brother does. My aunt and uncle do.

I don’t know most of my dad’s family – seriously, I don’t even know most of their names, and I’m not close to the ones I do know – but I’m also not featuring them in any autobiography. With my mom’s family, we do help each other out. Always have. Little things, like food, gas money, a utility bill or doctor’s bill. My parents and aunt basically support my grandmother, and my uncle is her “caregiver.”

What kind of family do you have?

elladeon on October 30, 2008 at 12:10 PM

The McCains pay for a home for their elderly aunt.

The Obama’s let the taxpayers of Massachusetts pay for their aunts home in the D-Street Projects.

What more do people need to know?

TheBigOldDog on October 30, 2008 at 12:13 PM

Welcome to West Broadway 81 Orton Marotta Way, South Boston Built in 1949, West Broadway sits on more than 20 acres of land. A state funded development, West Broadway’s 727 apartments range from one to six bedrooms. Many units have front and back yards and separate entrances. West Broadway is slated for extensive renovations and redevelopment of 244 apartments that are located on one corner of the site. The Condon Elementary School is adjacent to the property. Plans also call for a new LaBoure Community Center on the site. Rents are calculated at 32% of a resident’s income

Pic 1
Pic 2

TheBigOldDog on October 30, 2008 at 12:19 PM

I have never met my African wife’s family in Congo, but I send my tithe to them, because they are our family.

I can’t imagine reducing them to caricatures for the sake of literary and political profit while ignoring their needs.

Obama disgusts me.

Maquis on October 30, 2008 at 12:25 PM

It seems that there are gags on all the family members (in the US and in Africa) until “after the election”. I can only imagine the stories that are going to start spilling out on Nov 5th. I have a feeling that, even knowing what I know about him, my jaw is still going to drop to the floor.

progressoverpeace on October 30, 2008 at 12:31 PM

It’s not that he’s more successful than his relatives, it’s the huge gap between them. We all have relatives that either have more or less income, but few people have relatives that make millions and others who are on welfare (or a brother who lives on $1/month!).

If I made millions or won Powerball, my first action would be to share with my family. As it is, we all help each other out when we need to.

That’s what family is and obviously what Obama doesn’t value.

Common Sense on October 30, 2008 at 12:40 PM

“…does this really have anything to do with the election?”
You bet your bippy it does. It gives us an idea what kind of person he is–the kind that is fine with giving tax dollars to people like his aunt rather than digging in his own pocket to help a blood relative. he’s the anti-conservative.

Christine on October 30, 2008 at 12:46 PM

Applying the same mote-beam-eye standard, how many of us send money to those less fortunate among distant cousins, or even relatively close family?

Um…Me…My family…My friends…My church….

And I think probably everyone who hasn’t let, or been forced to let, the government take over the responsibility.

But Obama’s half-brother and an aunt aren’t “distant cousins,” they are his half-brother and his aunt.

And who here is attempting to force others to pay to take care of their aunt? I assume that she is one of the poor that Obama would send more of other people’s money to. If he can’t find it in his heart to take care of his own family, how can he feel that I should do it for him?

29Victor on October 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I can’t imagine reducing them to caricatures for the sake of literary and political profit while ignoring their needs.

Maquis on October 30, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Ouch! QOTD.

29Victor on October 30, 2008 at 12:50 PM

I can’t imagine reducing them to caricatures for the sake of literary and political profit while ignoring their needs.

Maquis on October 30, 2008 at 12:25 PM

And further… Is that Obama’s modus-operandi? In fact, the m.o. of the entire Democratic Party? To use the less fortunate for political gain but not do anything that actually helps them?

After all, if there were no more poor people in America, what would the Democrats run on?

29Victor on October 30, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Obama quotes the gospel of Matthew and his wife says we are a “mean” country. Yet they ignore:
1 Timothy 5:8
But if someone does not provide for his own, especially his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

They project their own personal lack of caring for family on the entire country.

Margee on October 30, 2008 at 1:04 PM

After all, if there were no more poor people in America, what would the Democrats run on?

Envy exists as a powerful political tool regardless of the actual disparity of income, and Marxism stands always prepared to exploit that. But you are correct, poor folks make a nice captive voting block and a useful tool for Socialists, and every indication here does indeed point to a deliberate effort to keep them poor and make more dependents.

But it’s bad form to make serfs of your own family in yhis “greater cause.”

Maquis on October 30, 2008 at 1:06 PM

What more do we need to know about Obama other than how he treats his family? That can be all you need to know about a man.
I don’t care how good a person is in other avenues of life, if you are a hypocrite one way, you are just a plain hypocrite.
What an Obamanation.

Badger40 on October 30, 2008 at 1:48 PM

Otherwise, though, this seems unremarkable to me. Judging from my e-mail, it’s a popular link this morning, but most of us have extended family in various economic situations. Applying the same mote-beam-eye standard, how many of us send money to those less fortunate among distant cousins, or even relatively close family? And does this really say anything germane about the vote we all will cast in five days — or will we be more rightly focused on policies and experience?

Like someone above said, the difference is that, in most families, you are talking about a difference between struggling and getting by or maybe even “well off”. However, with Obama, it is a difference between severe struggling and very wealthy. If I had a brother who only needed $50 per year to get out of poverty, I’d send him $100 and I’m firmly in the middle class. If I was worth what Obama is, I would do much more for even more of my family.

The fact is that for what Barack Obama pays for dinner, he could lift his brother out of poverty for a year and for what he spends on his electric bill, he could help is aunt. When you have his kind of money, that’s (to quote the great philosopher Matt Foley) JACK SQUAT.

TexasAg03 on October 30, 2008 at 2:03 PM

I am not my brother’s mother’s keeper. Sayeth the Obamanation.

eaglewingz08 on October 30, 2008 at 2:26 PM

If McCain had a dirt-poor half brother, Olbermann would have covered it a billion times by now. Its the hypocrisy that annoys me.

Speedwagon82 on October 30, 2008 at 2:33 PM

Uh…my wife and I do send money on a regular basis to her family living in a country that is desperately poor. Its true you can’t care for everybody but in our case we are doing what we can by helping to pay our nieces and nephews way through local college. You do what you can do. If Senator Obama has done nothing than hypocrite is thy first name.

uchoosier on October 30, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Applying the same mote-beam-eye standard, how many of us send money to those less fortunate among distant cousins, or even relatively close family?

.
We send some money here, pay a car payment there, boxes of new dolls, toys, clothes for their kids at Christmas, rountinely buy in bulk to “share” with family, neighbors in need, local food banks, complete strangers, tipped woman $50 on a $20 haircut that I also donated 10″ of my hair for cancer victims. That’s what life is about.
.
How could Obama turn his back on this woman who is his own blood? He’s a monster. I say that after listening to his vote against helping babies born alive.

NightmareOnKStreet on October 30, 2008 at 5:23 PM

“Pay no attention to the skinflint behind the curtain! Uh, I mean flag!”

Maquis on October 30, 2008 at 6:24 PM

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