Howard Fineman

Stories by Howard Fineman

  • To Help Or Not To Help?

    No matter how the post-coup purges and political turf battles in the Kremlin finally shake out, the disintegration of the Communist Party and the ascent of pro-democracy reformers in Moscow constitute historic foreign-policy windfalls for the United States and its allies. A week that began with the world fearing a new cold war ended with growing prospects for even greater Soviet cooperation with the West. No longer can hard-liners in Mikhail Gorbachev's cabinet wield an implicit veto against such policies as the START arms-control treaty, Baltic independence and support for the U.S.-led coalition in the gulf war. Gone, too, are the few remaining Soviet sympathizers of such Third World radicals as Iraq's Saddam Hussein, some Palestinian factions and Cuba's Fidel Castro. "The last holdouts...have had their hopes dashed," said Martin Indyk of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "They'll be under even greater pressure to resign themselves to the 'new world order'." ...
  • Second Thoughts On 'Character Cops'

    Journalistic "outing" is nothing new among heterosexuals. Ask the man in the adjacent photograph. In 1987, Gary Hart and the media made "character cop" reporting-up to and beyond the bedroom wall-a standard feature in our politics. ...
  • Middle-Class Maneuvers

    It is little more than a rumble, but that faint sound you hear on Capitol Hill is the Democrats finding their old voice. They're gearing up a new bid for the middle class, whose shifting allegiances decide national elections. With George Bush logging so much mileage abroad, Democrats think they see an opening at home to reclaim their role as the "we're on your side" party. Bush testily defended his domestic policy last week before heading off to Camp David to plan his presidential campaign. "We've got excellent programs," he said. But Democrats are floating legislation to appeal to the middle class-without having to shell out money to prove it. The agenda: ...
  • The Democrats' Mr. Right

    The Democrats' search for a 1992 nominee has a funereal air--and why not, considering that dead Whig Zachary Taylor gets more respect than most live Democrats. Recent polls put George Bush far ahead of any foe. But Democrats shouldn't despair. They do have the candidate material to beat the president. It's just not in the body of one person. Here are the qualities needed to challenge the president, and a contender who can stake a claim to each. What it adds up to is a composite sketch of a missing person--a plausible, Democratic Mr. Right: ...
  • Shaking Things Up At Now

    For a feminist, Patricia Ireland has a startling political role model: George Wallace. When she was a flight attendant in Florida in the late '60s, Ireland saw the ex-governor of Alabama barnstorm the South, pulling voters to the right with his angry, third-party appeal. As the new leader of the National Organization for Women, the 45-year-old Miami lawyer hopes to stir a similar upheaval--on the left. With the Democrats seeming confused, and abortion rights under siege, Ireland wants to lead American women, Wallace-style, founding a new party if she has to. "He shook things up," she says, "and so can we." ...
  • How Far Right?

    When George Bush heard the news that Thurgood Marshall had resigned from the Supreme Court last week, the president did not exactly jump for joy. He did not cry, "Eureka! A victory for the unborn!" Or, "Thank goodness, now we can lock up those criminals!" Instead, Bush responded, cautiously and rather tepidly, "That's very interesting." ...
  • Jockeying For 1996

    At first glance, it looks like a Republican intramural Little Big Horn, with Dan Quayle in the role of a surrounded and imperiled General Custer. At last count no fewer than a dozen Republicans are thinking--with one degree of intensity or another--about running for president in 1996 after what they assume will be George Bush's second term. The list ranges from the exalted, such as Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Secretary of State James Baker, to the relatively obscure, such as South Carolina Gov. Carroll Campbell. "We've got one hell of a farm team," says GOP insider Stuart Spencer. ...
  • The New Politics Of Race

    As distrust and resentment grow between blacks and whites, Washington strategists manipulate the tensions with clever slogans and divisive labels ...
  • Schwarzkopf For President?

    Van Poole, the Republican chairman in Florida, is under pressure. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf III - the hottest nonpolitical political commodity since Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower - happens to reside in Tampa, Fla., near MacDill Air Force Base. Businessmen there who've shot skeet with him say he's One of Them: a Republican. They think he can be talked into running for the U.S. Senate in Florida. All Poole has to do is set up the meeting. He's lined up a Miami finance guy and a Washington consultant, ready for rapid deployment. "I guess I should be at the bottom of the stairs when he comes off the plane," says Poole. ...
  • Demonizing The Sixties

    Politicians, especially Republicans, like to link their opponents to a villain. But Willie Horton is history and Saddam Hussein soon may be. Where to turn? Running against the media is dicey. Calling your foe "unpatriotic" is unseemly, especially if you skipped military service yourself or voted to sell Saddam grain before he invaded Kuwait. So the GOP has found a new all-purpose enemy: the '60s. Democrats who voted against the president on the gulf war, intoned GOP Sen. Phil Gramm last week, were "lost in the '60s." Other Republicans echoed the line. ...
  • Dream On, Democrats

    Right now Bush looks unbeatable, but his battered opponents are working on their winning fantasies ...
  • Heads Up! The End Of Obscurity

    Dr. Louis Sullivan, the secretary of Health and Human Services, had been suffering from Washington's dread social disease, lack of visibility. Here he was, a well-trained, fair-minded physician with a good grasp of the issues - and he was getting neither ink nor air time. In his case, routine treatment was prescribed. The New York Times, somehow, got hold of an uncharacteristically stinging, "confidential letter" from Sullivan protesting proposed cuts in the HHS budget for the "aged and disabled." The result: instant front-page visibility. ...