Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter
markgritter

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. -- http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2007-09-24-233876745_x.htm


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
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