Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Barack Obama, Illegal Poker Player

I would be perfectly happy to have Barack Obama as my president. (Lawrence Lessig has been getting pretty political on his blog about why he prefers Obama to Clinton, and I generally agree.) But... a few months ago a story came out about how Obama was part of a regular poker game at the Illinois capital.

Barack Obama's triumph in the 2004 U.S. Senate race earned him a memorable send-off from his friends in the Illinois legislature -- they emptied his wallet in a take-no-prisoners night of poker... The poker nights -- sometimes called the "committee meeting" by the players -- began around 1997 as a way to kill time in the small capital city -- around 115,000 -- during long legislative sessions. Under state law, it's illegal to play poker for money, but the law is seldom enforced when low-stakes games are involved. --

Maybe you don't see a lot of poker busts in Illinois. But they do happen. I feel that legislators have a special obligation to follow the law, as they are most directly placed to change it if they disagree. I'm conflicted on this one--- I certainly don't expect them to spend their time repealing obsolete blue laws. Nor do I think that committing a crime is worthy of disqualification from office. But it rubs me the wrong way to picture a bunch of state legislators and lobbyists yucking it up over a game of poker, feeling safe in their privilege--- likely not giving any thought to their constituents' desire to play poker as well.
Tags: poker, politics
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.