It’s the latest effort in “identity” politics. Well-meaning supporters wanting their community to embrace the politician with whom they feel a personal affinity claim that person as one of their own. Rep. Mike Honda, an Asian American congressman from California, hails President Barack Obama as the “first Asian American President” because he spent much of his formative years living in Indonesia and Hawaii.
“He’s Asian in his upbringing. You cannot come out of Hawaii and not have an Asian approach to things.”
Lauren Fox, a US News and World Report correspondent, writes:
The details of Bill Clinton’s youth, along with a number of his hobbies while in the White House, often led some people to call Clinton “America’s first black president.”
Now that the country’s actual first black president has been in office for some time, California Rep. Mike Honda, Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, wants to draw attention to whom he says is America’s first Asian-American president: Barack Obama.
During the recent DNC convention, the Asian American Caucus touted President Obama’s appointment of a record number of Asian Americans to government posts, including the federal bench (18) and to his cabinet (3), including Secretary of Energy Dr. Stephen Chu.
Asian Americans in key swing states, such as Virginia and Nevada, may tip the balance to President Obama come November.