A few last thoughts on the South Carolina Democratic Debate:

Sharpton is absolutely right to question why for the poor to die for their country abroad is an “honor,” but for the rich to pay taxes is a “burden,” and to call for a less regressive payroll tax.

I’m not sure what Dean was trying to pull off with his critique of Kerry’s failed healthcare bills – it felt overly self-conscious and affected, even grasping. Kerry wasn’t particularly smooth in responding, but came off better over all in that exchange.

I wish I could say that Lieberman’s touting welfare reform as the sort of “bipartisan accomplishment” he’d continue lost him my vote, but clearly he never had it in the first place. I do find it sad that the welfare system has been completely off the radar of these debates.

I was glad to see Kerry get called on what Brooks called the “inner Moynihan” of some of his ’90s rhetoric. He came off quite defensive responding to a statement of his on affirmative action, and preached fealty to the “mend it, don’t end it” stance multiple times without allaying any fears about what kind of mending he plans to do.

David Brooks argues in today’s Times that John Kerry has an “inner Moynihan,” as when the Senator declared:

We have to ask ourselves in 1992 whether this social disintegration is merely a symptom of deteriorating values that has swept all of this country to some degree. We must ask whether it is the result of a massive shift in the psychology of our nation that some argue grew out of the excesses of the 1960’s, a shift from self-reliance to indulgence and dependence, from caring to self-indulgence, from public accountability to public abdication and chaos.

Brooks faults Kerry for talking the talk but not following through on his principles by actually working to halt affirmative action, dismantle Social Security, and punish public school teachers. Needless to say, I think that having an “inner Moynihan” is frightening enough. Although, to be fair, Kerry is not alone among the Democratic contenders in having made Moynihan-like remarks – and taken deeply problematic stances – in the ’90s.

(The answer to Kerry’s questions, by the way, is no)