Doug Ross gives a terrific rundown of Barack Obama’s historic firsts:
Yes, he’s historic, alright.
• First President to Preside Over a Cut to the Credit Rating of the United States Government
• First President to Violate the War Powers Act
• First President to Orchestrate the Sale of Murder Weapons to Mexican Drug Cartels
• First President to issue an unlawful “recess-appointment” while the U.S. Senate remained in session (against the advice of his own Justice Department).
• First president to intentionally disable credit card security measures in order to allow over-the-limit donations, foreign contributions and other illegal fundraising measures.
• First President to halt deportations of illegal aliens and grant them work permits, a form of stealth amnesty roughly equivalent to “The DREAM Act”, which could not pass Congress
• First President to Sign a Law Requiring All Americans to Purchase a Product From a Third Party
• First President to sue states for requiring valid IDs to vote, even though the same administration requires valid IDs to travel by air
• First President to Abrogate Bankruptcy Law to Turn Over Control of Companies to His Union Supporters
• First President to sign into law a bill that permits the government to “hold anyone suspected of being associated with terrorism indefinitely, without any form of due process. No indictment. No judge or jury. No evidence. No trial. Just an indefinite jail sentence.“
It goes on and on.
I’d like to add that Obama is the first post-modern President. It’s obvious from his discourse, which, at its best, takes this form:
Some say that p. It’s important to understand that they have good justification for thinking that p, and I agree with them. Others say that not-p. They too have good reason. I agree with them. But I think we must rise above this dispute, and move beyond those who say we have to choose between p and not-p. I reject that false choice.
Maybe he’s the first paraconsistent President.
He’s post-modern in another way as well. His identity appears to be a conscious construction. He evidently, from 1991 to at least 2004, and perhaps 2007, passed himself off as having been born in Kenya. If he was born in Hawaii, why? Roger Simon speculates that he somehow profited by doing so—receiving an international student scholarship, maybe? There’s something very odd about all this. As neo-neocon, reflecting on this story by Byron York, observes,
For quite a while, Obama has reminded me at least a little bit of the F. Scott Fitzgerald character Jay Gatsby—that is, not in the details, but in the fact of being a self-constructed man.
UPDATE: The literary agency changed the information two months after Obama announced for the Presidency, in 2007.