Lack of Experience Dooms Hillary to "Intern" Status

Kathryn Lopez

11/4/2007 12:01:00 AM - Kathryn Lopez

Mitt Romney referred to the possibility of electing Sen. Hillary Clinton for president as electing an "intern." Romney recently said, "The government of the United States is not a place for a president to be an intern. You need to have experience actually leading and running things."

He has said it more than once, so there's no mistaking -- and it's a smart line of attack.

Romney is onto something, turning his attention to Hillary before he's had a chance to win a primary or caucus. He has a point about experience. Unlike Romney, and unlike Rudy Giuliani, Clinton hasn't run anything successfully. This fact -- that her chief experience is simply in being a Clinton -- may be why the American people ultimately choose a Romney or Giuliani as their president, not the seemingly inevitable Clinton.

The junior senator from New York gave Romney and his fellow candidates a clear opening to continue this line of attack when she faltered by trying to win over her base and the general electorate at the same time while answering a question during a debate in Philadelphia. When asked about New York State giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, she wound up both opposing it and supporting it. Then she asked: "What is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problem."

Well, Hillary, if you had ever run anything, maybe you would know. Maybe you'd have a better answer. If you had any executive experience, you could speak with some authority.

What a gift to Romney. As governor of Massachusetts, he earned national attention for vetoing a bill that would have given tuition breaks to illegal immigrants, and he opposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. That's what a governor is supposed to do, Hillary.

Hillary's defeat is not inevitable, but it's doable. Listen to some wise words from radio host Rush Limbaugh, who is, in many ways, the Reagan successor conservatives claim to be looking for: "I've always had ultimate faith in the American people. ... Since the turn of the century, only four Democrats have gotten more than 50 percent of the vote in presidential races. It may not even be that many. The idea that this is a Democrat-owned country or a majority-Democrat country simply isn't true. ... This is why so many of us here lament the lack of genuine leadership on our side. People do respond to leadership. Leadership is bold; leadership is confidence; leadership is not being defensive about things. People will respond to it; it can be done."

Americans will reject Hillary if the Republicans show some of that leadership, some of that spine. And Romney's visuals don't hurt. "Intern" was a start. But Romney followed up with specifics about what he called "Hillary's House of Horrors": "We'd have ... the 'raise your tax' room. We'd have the 'weaker military' room. We'd have the 'family values in shambles' room."