Joe Klein: Spontaneous Hillary, The Moderate Voice Modulator

When thinking of Hillary Clinton, do the adjectives "moderate" and "spontaneous" spring to mind? They do for Joe Klein, assigned by Time magazine to write its cover-story profile of her last week.

Joe Scarborough let Klein's characterization slide this morning. But when Klein played the "spontaneous" card on last night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews devastated him with a clip of Hillary at her wooden worst [second video link, at foot].

Klein offered his assessment during the 8:30 AM ET half-hour of today's "Morning Joe.

View video here.

Here was Joe on today's Morning Joe.

JOE KLEIN: The interesting thing about the two of them [Bill and Hillary] is that I've known them for twenty years. They're brilliant. I'm probably from that same part of the political jungle: moderate sorts.

Joe's definition of a moderate: someone who agrees with his liberal opinions. He continued.

KLEIN: The interesting thing about this campaign is [notice how Joe began both statements? Interesting!] that she's seeming more human and even occasionally a bit spontaneous. She's gotten a lot better at politics. I used to think she was a mortal stiff on the stump. And now she knows how to use her voice; she modulates it.

Knows how to use her voice? Modulates it? Spontaneous? Doesn't Joe remember what happened to him on yesterday's "Hardball" when he trotted out the same theory?

CHRIS MATTHEWS: So you don't get the idea that this campaign's being too tightly micro-managed to avoid any spontaneity? You don't see that?

KLEIN: No, I think she's actually more spontaneous than I've seen her in the past. She certainly has been with me.

Unfortunately for Joe, Chris had cued up a clip of Hillary on the stump, leading a friendly Iowa crowd in a responsive recital of her new campaign slogan: Turn Up the Heat! This was to spontaneity and voice modulation what Dr. Kevorkian is to life-prolonging medicine.

I urge those of stout constitution to view the video of Hillary here.

Give Chris credit for keeping a straight face as he asked Klein: "Joe, would you think that would be Hillary back in her groove, then?"

A sheepish Klein had to admit: "Ah, no I don't. I think that she's quite clearly not a very good big-room speaker."

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.