Time's Joe Klein: Romney Running as 'Troglodyte,' Duncan Hunter a 'Fruitcake'

Time's Joe Klein, aka the Anonymous who wrote "Primary Colors," painted a very nasty portrait of the crop of 2008 Republican candidates for the presidency on his October 24 appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Particularly of note, Klein referred to the former Republican governor of Massachusetts as a "troglodyte.":

Look at Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, you know, ran as a liberal against Ted Kennedy in 1994. Then he ran as a moderate for governor, and now he's running as a troglodyte. It's unbelievable.

Video (1:13): Real (2.01 MB) and Windows (2.28 MB), plus MP3 audio (563 kB).

Romney has come under fire from conservatives, and perhaps quite fairly, for his flip-flopping on key issues over the past two decades. Yet no respectable pundit on the left or right would characterize the affable family man as a "troglodyte."

Even so, Klein's invective went unanswered by host Joe Scarborough, who helpfully added, "And it seems to work in all cases."

Scarborough did object to Klein later calling presidential aspirant and California Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) a "fruitcake."

Remarkably, Klein's appearance on "Morning Joe" was supposed to deal mostly with an article he penned for Time in which he argued that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is catching a second wind in his campaign after months in the doldrums.

Of course if Klein is positive on McCain's campaign direction while slamming virtually every other GOP contender, it doesn't do much to assauge conservative angst about McCain potentially reprising the GOP media darling role he performed in the 2000 GOP presidential primaries.

In related news, Klein laid out at Time's Swampland blog his view that illegal immigration is, on the whole, a net positive for America. This cuts squarely against the views of conservative voters shopping for a candidate in 2008, and pretty much against the views of most if not all the 2008 GOP candidates. In other words, it's hard to imagine Klein doesn't think Thompson and Tancredo are "troglodytes" for their enforce-the-borders positions:

I tend to be an extremist on this issue. I am wildly in favor of immigration, legal and illegal. I realize that national security--i.e. terrorism--requires that we secure the borders, and that's a good thing, if almost impossible. But as a New Yorker, I'm deeply grateful to the immigrants, many of them illegal, who saved the city by bringing commerce (and sales tax revenues) to some of the toughest neighborhoods in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.