Hilary Rosen has had a lot of jobs: a Napster-killing lobbyist, the Huffington Post's political director, Democratic talking head on CNN, and, on Wednesday night, she became conservatives' current Enemy No. 1. Rosen has been Washington-famous for years, having served as the head of the Recording Industry Association of America in the early 2000s, when it was ruining the fun of college students nationwide by shutting down Napster and other file-sharing services. But she became normal-people-famous yesterday for saying that Ann Romney "never worked a day in her life," and doubling-down on Twitter. "Honest question: Who is Hilary Rosen?" tweeted Slate's Dave Weigel Thursday. Allow us to explain.
Rosen is far from the first lobbyist to become a political pundit. There's Lanny Davis, Mark Penn, Tom Ridge, Barry McCaffrey. Here's lobbyist Charlie Black serving as an "informal adviser" to Mitt Romney, meaning his job is to give reporters quotes about Romney without giving too much away. But Rosen's rehabilitation from from lobbyist to pundit is more remarkable, though, given her fun-killing role at the RIAA. In 2003, Matt Bai described her in Wired as "seen as the embodiment of a venal corporate culture hurtling toward obsolescence. It seems she’ll stop at nothing to frighten those who share music online instead of buying it in a store – hacking into networks, threatening universities and businesses, sending out subpoenas to unmask music-swappers."