Nothing has stunned me more this year than the news that presidential candidate Barack Obama and Vice President Dick Cheney are related. It’s almost like hearing that Paris Hilton has decided to become a missionary. Or that she knows how to spell “missionary.”
Obama is a Democrat, a die-hard liberal, while Cheney is a Republican, conservative to the core. But they do have some things in common. For example: two eyes, a nose and a mouth. The same number of limbs, too.
When it comes to buttering their bread, they’re both conservative. When it comes to buttering their staff, they’re both liberal.
Cheney has been known to hunt ducks. Obama has been known to duck hunts. Cheney has a reputation for stuffing his mouth. Obama has a reputation for mouthing stuff.
But even with such similarities, no one ever suspected that the two leaders were related. It was Cheney’s wife, Lynn, who discovered that they have a common ancestor while researching her memoir. She broke the news to her husband gently, moments after he revived her.
Dick: “Lynn, what’s wrong? Why did you faint?”
Lynn: “I just found out something about your past.”
Dick (turning pale): “What is it, honey? Is it something I can have expunged?”
Lynn: “No, Dick, this can’t be erased. You have a common ancestor with someone you don’t particularly like.”
Dick (turning even paler): “Who is it, honey? Clinton? Kennedy? Bin Laden?”
Lynn: “No, Barack Obama.”
Dick: “Phew! What a relief. It’s only Broke Bama.”
Lynn: “It’s Barack Obama, Dick. He’s your relative now, so you’d better learn how to pronounce his name.”
Obama and Cheney are apparently eighth cousins, with a common ancestor who lived in the 17th century. While Obama’s mother was American, his father was Kenyan, which means that there are a lot of people in Kenya who are now related to Cheney. And not many of them are happy about that, as a newspaper reporter found.
Reporter: “How do you feel about being related to Dick Cheney?”
George Obama (Barack’s cousin): “I don’t like it. He is the white sheep in the family.”
Reporter: “Don’t you mean ‘black sheep’?”
George: “No, we use the term ‘white sheep’ in Kenya.”
It’s not clear whether Obama’s relationship to Cheney will be a liability in the presidential race. Hillary Clinton, who’s running against Obama for the Democratic nomination, says she will not remind voters that Obama is related to Cheney, as long as he does not remind voters that she is related to Bill.
Another candidate, John Edwards, says he isn’t concerned about the relationship at all. “I don’t think it should be an issue in the presidential campaign,” he said. “I happen to like Barack Cheney. I mean, Obama.”
Cheney is not running for political office in 2008, but even he’s feeling the strain of being related to someone of a different political stripe. “Dick doesn’t have a liberal bone in his body,” an anonymous friend said. “But a few years ago, he discovered that his daughter is a *** and now he’s found out that one of his cousins is a liberal. Is it any wonder that the man keeps having heart attacks?”