We are in the middle of Palinmania and it’s going to last a while between Oprah, Barbara Walters, the book tour and the sniping between Palin and McCain worlds. Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball last night was astounded that America – or at least the Republican base – seems to love the aw shucks candidates, berating Rep. Judy Biggert, (R-IL) for replying “probably Harvard” when she was asked which U.S. university Khalid Sheikh Mohammed attended. As it relates to Palin, this is an interesting point. When I was up in Alaska in July, a lot of politicians and political aides up there said Palin’s not the kind to ask for mountains of briefing books to take home and stay up all night reading (hello, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama). She does, though, have great political instincts and timing. Witness her take down of former Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski, a fellow Republican. And in that regard she reminds me a lot of a certain Texas governor back in 1998-1999 whom no one thought would be THE Bush to follow in his father’s footsteps. George W. had a good amount of star power, aw shucks charm and, early on, a similar intimacy with foreign affairs. He also wasn’t a fan of briefing books, preferring to operate on instinct, much the way Palin does. Both have a similar mistrust of those outside their inner circles and little tolerance for those who challenge them: they both like to hear, ‘How high?’ when they ask you to jump. And platform-wise Palin has similar priorities to those espoused by Bush on the 2000 campaign trail. But what Bush had that Palin lacks right now is Karl Rove. And I don’t know if Palin’s noticed but Rove seems to be warming up to the former vice presidential nominee – going so far as to flatter her new book. Palin in 2012, compassionate conservatism part deux?