Fineman's diagnosis of Obama:

But if I were an Obama partisan I would be worried that his mistakes have a common thread - pride.

Obama seems to want to do things on his own, and on his own terms. It’s understandable. Obama has his own crowd – from Chicago, from Harvard, and from a new cadre of wealthy, Ivy-educated movers and shakers.

“He’s an arrogant S.O.B.,” one of the latter told me today. “He wants to do it his way, and his way alone.” But politics doesn’t work that way. And has Obama should know, or is about to find out, that everyone needs a little help.

Is this really true, though? Fineman says Obama erred with his ambitious 22-state strategy, but there's evidence that Obama is scaling that back (he's recently pulled staffers from Georgia, for instance). Obama's biography disdained negative symbolic politics but Obama has shown he can hit hard when he wants to (Hillary's health care "mandate," McCain's houses).

You also have to give Obama some benefit of the doubt. He rode out the panic at moments when Hillary seemed to be outdoing him and came out a winner. Whereas McCain's pattern is generally  the opposite: He thrives as an underdog and founders when he's got the upper hand.

--Michael Crowley