Is Rand Paul the new Sarah Palin?

Palin says Paul — who's been undergoing a media grilling — is learning what it's like to be her. Is it a fair comparison?

Rand Paul.
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After his rocky debut on the national stage, Rand Paul canceled an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," citing "fatigue." Sarah Palin, on Fox News, was sympathetic, saying the Kentucky GOP Senate candidate is learning, as she did in 2008, that "prejudiced" reporters and media personalities are mostly "looking for the gotcha moment" with certain conservatives. Palin's not the first person to compare Paul and herself — Bill Maher on Friday said of Paul, "It's as if Sarah Palin somehow made it through medical school" — but are the two candidates really similar? (Watch The Week's Sunday Talk Show Briefing on Ron Paul and the GOP)

The similarities are striking: Palin and Paul could be political twins, says Ravi Somaiya in Gawker. Both are reading from the same blame-the-press playbook, after each "emerged from nowhere, became darlings of the right," then went on "devastating media tours which revealed exactly how extreme their views were."

"How Rand Paul is the new Sarah Palin"

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Palin's not in Paul's league: Paul is more erudite, says Richard Adams in The Guardian. His error may have been, as Palin put it, the decision to engage in "a hypothetical discussion about constitutional impacts with a reporter." But she's hardly speaking from experience: Palin couldn't name a single Supreme Court ruling, other than Roe v. Wade, when asked by Katie Couric in 2008.

"Just what Rand Paul needs: Sarah Palin's backing"

Palin's more mainstream than Paul: Paul and Palin may both be anti-abortion and anti-immigration, says Ross Douthat in The New York Times, but Paul's views "shouldn't be confused with the Tea Party movement." He is "radically noninterventionist" and "so stringently constitutionalist" that he really qualifies as a paleoconservative. And "paleoconservatives are self-marginalizing, and self-destructive."

"The principles of Ron Paul"

If nothing else, they share a naivete about the press: Tea Party-Republican "poster girl" Palin isn't helping Paul by blaming MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for asking tough but "not unreasonable" questions, says Les Carpenter III at Left Coast Rebel. And Rand Paul "failed miserably" to prepare for the predictable questions about his controversial, but absolutely "valid and moral," views on government interference with business.

"Palin does little to help Rand Paul's case"

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