Ron Suskind captures it best in this vignette from 2001 as one of Bush's top economic advisers actually said in a meeting in the president's presence that Bush's fiscal insouciance was bad policy:

According to senior administration officials who learned of the encounter soon after it happened, President Bush looked at the man. "I don't ever want to hear you use those words in my presence again," he said.

"What words, Mr. President?"

"Bad policy," President Bush said. "If I decide to do it, by definition it's good policy. I thought you got that."

The advisor was dismissed. The meeting was over.

Eight years later, we have a woman on the ticket whose record in Alaska is identical: utterly fixed, utterly immune to criticism, and, much of the time, utterly wrong.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.