Years ago I read a classic “Life is Hell” comic strip. We see a parent’s view of a child, surrounded by piles and piles of opened gifts on Christmas morning. Half-buried under torn wrapping paper, the boy looks up and asks, “What, that’s it?”
I thought of that strip while watching last night’s Democratic primary debate.
The question is, are the nominee wanna-bees the spoiled children, or are they the overindulgent parents? Or does the analogy work both ways?
For 90 minutes, the complaints were all of a theme: “What, that’s it?”
When race relations are calmer than I’ve ever seen them, when female columnists can ask if men are obsolete, Carol Moseley Braun speaks as though it’s still 1962:
To me, that means making certain that the fight to preserve our civil liberties is waged, making certain the fight against discrimination is waged, making certain that women have opportunity in this country.
At a time when the UN is proven corrupt and immobile, Howard Dean thinks we have to turn everything over to them:
This was a mistake this war, and the president got us into it, and now we’re going to have to get out of it.
Dennis Kucinich complains that not every enemy is really our enemy:
When you consider the fact that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 … I think that the attack in Iraq was a foregone conclusion after 9/11 even though they had nothing to do with it.
John Edwards claims that people will love us if only we were more popular:
We need to lead in a way that brings others to us and brings respect for America, because at the end of the day, we’ll be safer in a world where America is looked up to and respected.
Then there’s John Kerry, who married an heiress but feels Washington isn’t spending enough money on him:
Well, I am glad the president finally found an economic development program, I am just sad it is in Baghdad.
Out of the whole bunch, only Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt sounded like grown-ups. They also seemed to receive the weakest receptions from the crowd.
Other bits of the debate reminded me of the brilliant first episode of The Sopranos. Anthony Junior, learning that his grandmother and her famous dish won’t be coming to his lavish 13th birthday party asks, “What, no fuckin’ ziti?”
No matter what the question was regarding Bush’s domestic policy, the Democrats always had the same answer: He’s not spending enough. This President has jacked up discretionary spending by nearly 20 percent in just three years