Howard Fineman

Pomp, Politics, and Pink Slips

Admittedly, it's a slow news day. Congress is in recess, Obama is on the Vineyard, so reporters such as yours truly find themselves in Cleveland to witness one of those shopworn campaign ploys in action as Rep. John Boehner calls for pink slips for Obama's economic advisers Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. But calling for someone's head is always worth a graph or two in a wire story.

A Season of Fear

If we had any sense, the fall elections would be about just one thing: the economy. But we do not have any sense. We are facing what Wall Street would call the 'triple witching hour.'

Obama and 'Indie Men' Voters

Barack Obama did not descend from the clouds. Polling was involved, as were focus groups and the usual marketing machinery. You didn't hear much about number crunching in 2008; you don't hear much about it now. Obama couldn't, and can't, be seen as unsoiled and sui generis if his handlers talk too much about mechanics.

Why Obama Is in a Hurry to Make History

"Hardball" host Chris Matthews has a theory about Barack Obama: he is running his presidency as though there is no tomorrow—that is, no second term. So far in his presidency Obama has been tackling, even seeking out, sweeping, controversial challenges: the stimulus, the auto bailout, health-care reform, a new arms-control treaty with Russia. So, is he in a hurry because he figures there may be no second term?

New General, Same Problem

Barack Obama, as candidate and president, in effect created the IED known as Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Now that improvised explosive device has blown up in the midst of the Obama presidency. The damage is severe, if not crippling.

Fineman: Paul, Whitman, Angle, and the Press

Do political candidates still need the press? Based on what's going on in Kentucky, where I began my career, I'm no longer sure. After saying a few weeks ago that a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach, Rand Paul is sticking to safe, controlled venues. A public meeting of Republicans in Louisville was not one of them—two top reporters showed up.

Obama's Good Day

President Obama had good reason to tread lightly in his Oval Office address Tuesday night: he was in the midst of coaxing a $20 billion-plus commitment out of a London-based company that already has lost half of its market value.

Obama's Curiously Flat Gulf Speech

Somewhere between Pensacola and the Oval Office, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico went from an "assault" to an "epidemic"—and President Obama went from commander in chief to surgeon general. And that, in short, is why his speech to the nation fell so flat even as he delivered it.

Why Obama Needs a Healthy BP

Obama and BP are locked in a deadly, messy transatlantic dance. The U.S., deeply in debt and facing a voter rebellion over that fact, needs as many billions as it can siphon from London-based BP to pay for the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico.

Rand Paul and D. W. Griffith

If Americans think of Kentucky at all, they tend not to regard it as part of the Deep South on racial matters: no history of water cannons fired at civil-rights demonstrators; the kind of place that gave the world a proud and defiant Muhammad Ali, not a brutal and racist Bull Connor.

Why Arlen Specter Lost

PHILADELPHIA -- In the old days, maybe they could have fixed it for Arlen. Maybe the president and the powers that be in Pennsylvania could have cleared the field in the Democratic primary and made sure that Sen.