Reading Obama's memoir, you learn that as a kid he was called Barry. As a young adult he reverted to using his full name. That's not all that striking; a lot of young people change their self-presentation in this way. But I think it is a fairly striking choice for anyone with political ambitions. I think a lot of people would have switched back to the more "American" (more on that in a later post, I hope) -sounding name on entering Harvard. Obama's success with the other route is a reminder, I think, that squashing your identity is no way to get elected.