Gubernatorial candidates Pete Wilson and Dianne Feinstein say they have known each other only 20 years or so, but I don't believe it. I think they are, in some mystical way, twins separated at birth, to use a phrase popularized by Spy magazine.
Feinstein and Wilson are the same age (57), the same height (5-feet-10), probably about the same weight (data in this category is heavily classified) and apparently agree on nearly every major national and international issue.
Both established their political reputations as mayors of major port cities (San Francisco and San Diego) with relatively high-income populations. Both have long been at odds with activists in their own parties because they take mainstream positions (pro-death penalty for Feinstein, pro-abortion rights for Wilson) that clash with their party organizations' innermost desires. Both grew up in affluent homes, attended prestigious private high schools and colleges (Convent of the Sacred Heart and Stanford for Feinstein; St. Louis Country Day School and Yale for Wilson) and soon began careers in public service and government. Each has been divorced once (Feinstein has also been widowed). Each happily remarried in the early 1980s to younger, wealthier spouses.
Most of these are superficial similarities, I agree, but look what happened when The Times tried to find contrasts in the basic Feinstein and Wilson approaches to life and work. The stories were models of depth, detail and aggressive reporting, but the habits revealed were so similar that the copy editor struggled to avoid the same headline on each story: "Feinstein's Deliberative Style Tempers Decisions" said one headline. "Deliberate Wilson Relies on Experts, Longtime Aides" said the other. Wilson "pursues a process that is thorough, wide-ranging, painstaking in detail and often frustrating to those who know him best," said one story. Feinstein, said the other, is distinguished by "her near-obsession with detail, with finding answers to searching questions about the issue at hand, even if that means appearing to publicly dawdle." If American politics did not have two parties and human reproduction did not require two sexes, there might not be any fundamental differences between them at all.