In a new book expected to stir up debate about President Obama's blackness, a Columbia University scholar calls Obama a "hollow prize" for African-Americans and his victory unworthy of the long civil rights battle for racial equality.
"One day the question will be asked -- years if not decades from now -- whether the sacrifices of previous generations were worth the rise of a 'race-neutral' black president, whose ascendancy was made possible by their efforts," writes Fredrick Harris in his new book, "The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and Rise and Decline of Black Politics." "As it stands now, the price has not yet proven its worth in sacrifice, to the memory of those lost in battle nor for those who still sit at the very bottom of society, still believing and hoping in the possibilities of change," adds the director of the university's Center on African-American Politics and Society.
Harris writes that blacks expected more but accepted Obama's reluctance to push black issues because that might result in a white voter backlash in the re-election. He cites several examples of areas the president could have weighed in on black issues but pushed them to the back burner.
But he suggests blacks have been dissed as Obama has wooed and worked with other controversial groups, such as gays. "While Obama has repeatedly told black leaders and black voters to be patient with the slow pace of change regarding his economic policies, Obama vowed to 'never counsel patience' regarding the LGBT community," he writes.
He mocks Obama's meager efforts on black issues, poking fun at the White House website's Black History Month page, which highlights personalities, not policy.
But he also writes that Obama's timing was unfortunate, entering the White House in a recession that left little money to use to promote programs targeted to blacks. "It is difficult to be the captain of a sinking ship," says Harris. "And it is troubling when the captain of the Titanic tells those barely holding on for survival that a 'rising tide lifts all boats,' as Obama did when asked about the mounting rate of black unemployment."
The bottom line in the book provided to Secrets: "When it comes to the Obama presidency and black America, the symbolic and the substantive are assumed to be one. This is the price of the ticket."
z Romney's poll standing surprises GOP
Mitt Romney's standing in the presidential preference polls with Barack Obama surprises top Republicans, who felt he would start the general election well behind the sitting president, not dead even.
"All of us on the Republican side are pleased where we are in the presidential election," said GOP strategist and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. He suggested that 1980 was the presumed model, when Ronald Reagan was 15 percentage points behind former President Jimmy Carter and some in the party were trying to draft former President Ford to run again.
"A lot of us anticipated that while Romney wouldn't be behind 15 points, would start off behind," said Barbour.
Public split over media's role in intelligence leaks
A clear majority of Americans believe the media re jeopardizing national security when publishing intelligence leaks, but the degree of anger depends on their political bent.
According to Rasmussen Reports, 82 percent of conservative voters think publishing secrets hurts national security, a view shared by 68 percent of moderates but only 56 percent of liberals.
Paul Bedard, The Examiner's Washington Secrets columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com. His column appears each weekday in the Politics section and on washingtonexaminer.com.