Barack Obama's first bestselling book was entitled Dreams of My Father. It seems, however, that he may not find some of his other relations so, well, dreamy. The press on this side of the Atlantic has been all agog over Obama coming over to enlighten us primitives. Nonetheless, while the Times is mock-extolling Europe's undeniable choice for next American leader, it currently features another article with decidedly sinister undertones. I haven't the slightest idea about how this article became the Times' most-read, but that it is at the moment: there is a feature in the newspaper on Obama's half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo. Potentially embarrassing relations better left unmentioned are not exactly novel in American politics. Think Roger Clinton. As a commenter to the Times article questioned, why is it that Americans should be any more concerned about Obama's half-brother when Roger Clinton was jailed prior to Bill Clinton's term? What can make Mark Ndesandjo a bigger electoral liability than an ex-con half-brother?
The answer is devastating: Remember America's much-vaunted scepticism about trade? Obama has, at least more so in the recent past, championed tacking on environmental and labour regulations to trade agreements, renegotiating NAFTA, and, this is verbatim--"stop[ping] countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports." Hmm, sounds like China-bashing to me. Well, far worse than being an ex-con, Mark Ndesandjo has--get this--been acting as a middleman promoting cheap Chinese exports, and whose main export market is...the United States. There's a famous tagline for American bumper stickers that begin with, "I'd rather have a sister in a whorehouse than..." In this day and age of American trade hatred and the sport of China-bashing, perhaps the continuation for Obama is "...have a half-brother pimping Chinese goods to America." Oh [feigning indignation], for shame!