If there's something positive to be said about Barack Obama, it is that he appears to be very little like the other Barack -- his father, Barack Obama, Sr., that is.
Sally Jacobs, a Boston Globe reporter who's authored a book on the sordid life of President Obama's father, has a column in the Boston Globe today with a handful of little known details about Obama the elder, as well as about his son. For one, Obama père was a playboy and polygamist with at least one wife and several children in Kenya by the time he married and impregnated Ann Dunham, the mother of Obama fils. Furthermore, a newly released memo reveals that Obama père had intended to give his American born son up for adoption.
The elder Barack H. Obama, a sophomore at the University of Hawaii, had come under scrutiny by federal immigration officials who were concerned that he had more than one wife. When he was questioned by the school’s foreign student adviser, the 24-year-old Obama insisted that he had divorced his wife in his native Kenya. Although his new wife, Ann Dunham, was five months pregnant with their child - who would be called Barack Obama II - Obama declared that they intended to put their child up for adoption.
“Subject got his USC wife ‘Hapai’ [Hawaiian for pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Miss Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away,’’ according to a memo describing the conversation with Obama written by Lyle H. Dahling, an administrator in the Honolulu office of what was then called the US Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Ms. Jacobs goes on to list reasons why the elder Obama may have felt pressure to give his son up for adoption -- among these, financial pressures and concerns with his immigration status. The adoption didn't go through, obviously, and friends and relatives of Ann Dunham -- including the President himself (as if he'd know...) -- insist that she would have never been on board to give baby Barack away.
The whole story is illuminating, if for no other reason than it reveals how very little we know of this President's past.