His Hawaiian identity, that is. (Another one of his multi-identities.*) The rubber kind, that is.
Mark A. Kam, president of the Punahou Alumni Association, said Obama's repeated visits to Hawaii show he hasn't forgotten where he came from.
Kam lightheartedly pointed to Obama's flip-flops as evidence of how deeply Hawaii is ingrained in him.
"Granted he's in Chicago now, he's cut his teeth in politics in Chicago. But when I saw him walking around town in rubber slippers - I said, OK, that's who he is. That's the local boy that grew up here," Kam said. "How many other people go away, come back, and slip right back into rubber slippers?"
*Coming from me, this is not a criticism, nor is it an unqualified endorsement. I know this way of being from the inside, including its drawbacks.
More substantively, Kam said that Obama carries with him an ability to work with people of different backgrounds that he learned in Hawaii, where there is no majority but a mix of whites, Chinese, Filipinos, Hawaiians, Japanese, Koreans, Samoans and others. About 20 percent, like Obama, are mixed-race.
"He can reach out to both sides of the aisle, he can communicate effectively with all types of people," said Kam.
I didn't grow up in Hawaii, but Kenwood, the Chicago neighborhood just south of Hyde Park and just north of "Bronzeville," was kinda like it, only colder. (Do a "find" on "Kenwood" at that link to cut to the chase.)