The last few White House occupants have offered the nation not only the gift of great leadership but also the gift of laughter, thanks in large part to a colorful parade of grifter siblings.
Who can forget the drunken antics of Bill Clinton's younger brother Roger, and his possible "role in an outrageous array of slippery and ill-fated schemes ranging from Mafioso pardons to Chinese scooter imports to Venezuelan coal mines"? And what about Hillary Rodham Clinton's brothers, Hugh and Tony, a couple of hustlers who got wrapped up in a dodgy "hazelnut caper" years ago and continued to embarrass their sister publicly as recently as late 2007?
The Clinton sibling and siblings-in-law were brash, whereas George W. Bush's brothers and sister tended to keep their noses out of trouble -- all except the notorious Neil Bush, who was forever getting into failed business deals and Thai hooker scandals. Neil was such a charming loser he made his brother look like a winner in comparison.
The Obama siblings have some pretty big shoes to fill, and thus far they've been pretty disappointing. Michelle's brother Craig Robinson is a boring old basketball coach who would not know a lucrative Georgian hazelnut deal if it came up and slapped him in the face. And President Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng? Stable family, not a pill habit in sight, and a true devotion to dullness.
She and her family will be living in DC for a few months -- her husband is a scholar-in-residence at the Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American Program -- and instead of using that time to arrange some Mafia pardons or vault herself onto the executive board of a few oil-and-gas startups, she will be writing a children's book. YAWN.
At Saturday's celebration of her mother's Indonesian batik collection -- Soetoro-Ng's first public event since moving to town -- she skipped a news conference ("I think she is still dressing," Ambassador Sudjadnan Parnohadiningrat told the assembled media) and provided few sound bites about her D.C. adventure.
"I am here to spend time with family," she told reporters .... She said she hoped to advocate for causes she feels passionate about (education, international understanding) and that she and her brother didn't fight as children.
This is completely unacceptable. We can only hope that by the end of her tenure in Washington she'll have at least a drunk driving conviction and a failed marriage to make the rest of us feel better about ourselves. Hop to it, Maya!