Cut from the same cloth

CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH…. I’ve long believed one of the central problems with Sarah Palin, as a candidate for national office, wasn’t just her breathtaking disinterest in matters of public policy, but also her similarities to a certain someone who had a comparable distaste for substance, veracity, and details.

Larry Wilkerson, a top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Vice President Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld promoted the notion they were a national security “dream team” to guide the foreign-policy amateur Bush.

“It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like President — because, let’s face it, that’s what he was — was going to be protected by this national security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire,” said Wilkerson.

Given Wilkerson description, Spencer Ackerman asks, “Is comparing Bush to Sarah Palin more insulting to Bush or to Palin?”

Yglesias seems to believe this isn’t even a contest: “Palin’s something of a laughingstock, but Bush is a villain. I mean, he wrecked the world economy, he led to millions of Iraqis being forced to flee their homes, he’s a total disaster and a disgrace. Palin gave bad answers in TV interviews. There’s no real comparison.”

I suppose that’s right. When it comes to consequences, Bush’s presidency has been a nightmare, while Palin was merely a humiliating addition to the national Republican ticket.

But if we put aside the question of corollaries and consider Bush’s and Palin’s characteristics as politicians and would-be leaders, the comparison isn’t too far-fetched. Both were out of their depth seeking national office, both are strikingly uninformed, both suffer from an eerie misguided confidence, and both seem to consider policy details as minor annoyances to be ignored.

Sure, Palin wasn’t able to do serious national (and international) damage, but isn’t it fair to say both she and Bush are cut from the same cloth?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.