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Dec 04 2011

Badass Quote of the Day

From Barney Frank, who announced this week that he will not be seeking reelection in 2012, ending 32 years in the House of Representatives. Frank has been one of the few legislators I’ve genuinely liked, despite his many flaws. He’s very smart and very funny, two things that rate very high in my book. Here’s an example of both:

He held nothing back in his criticism of the state of the House under Republican rule.

“It consists half of people who think like Michele Bachmann and half of people who are afraid of losing a primary to people who think like Michele Bachmann,” he said, “and that leaves very little room to work things out.”

Both accurate and dripping with sarcasm, as were his statements about Newt Gingrich:

Frank said he would not use his Congressional experience to secure a lucrative job lobbying his former colleagues.

“I will neither be a lobbyist nor a historian,” he said, a jab at Gingrich’s self-proclaimed $1.6 million “historian” gig for Freddie Mac. “My intention is to do some combination of writing, teaching, and lectures.”

He got in some more one-liners at Gingrich as he waded into the GOP presidential primary.

“I do not think I have lived a good enough life to be rewarded by Newt Gingrich being the nominee,” he joked, calling his potential nomination “the best thing to happen to the Democratic party since Barry Goldwater.”

I’ve always found him immensely likable. He’s far more candid than most politicians, with their focus group-tested catchphrases and platitudes. And I’ll miss him being in the spotlight.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    jamessweet

    I feel much the same way about Frank. Not that there haven’t been facepalmy moments, or issues on which I vehemently disagreed with him. But he is, as you say, smart, funny, and likable. And very, very quotable. This “half Michelle Bachman” quote is going right up on my Facebook wall.

  2. 2
    tomh

    He’s also been the biggest proponent in Congress of legalized online poker, and his line about the feds, “protecting the public from the scourge of inside straights,” was pretty good.

  3. 3
    Michael Heath

    I’m a big Barney Frank as well though he has some negative features that limit him from being on the top of my heap (a pile inhabited by Henry Waxman and Chuck Schumer – the latter who admittedly has his own flaws). Rep. Frank’s an incredible player when it comes to developing good policy, which is far too rare a trait in D.C.. However he wasn’t all that great at bringing others along with him. Still, we need far more like him.

    One lesson we should learn from his tenure is that we only harm ourselves when we discriminate against learned, competent, smart people with personalities like his. Particularly those in science, engineering, economics, academics, and business techies where his net set of features is not all that rare.

    I’d rather see Washington D.C. spend more time smoothing ruffled feathers because of more actors like Barney Frank than reading the drivel that comes from policy-makers sitting on committees who are clueless about the topics their respective committee have jurisdiction over, e.g., Bachman on Intelligence, Paul Ryan on economics, Maxine Waters on residential lending.

  4. 4
    Bronze Dog

    I didn’t know the guy due to my congressional ignorance, but I gave him a spot on my name list for refusing to become a lobbyist. I’ll keep an eye open for future mentions of him.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    jameshanley

    He’s far more candid than most politicians, with their focus group-tested catchphrases and platitudes.

    The upside of gerrymandering congressional districts.

  7. 7
    Pinky

    Thank you Chris from Europe, the town hall video was the first thing I thought of when I saw Ed was talking about Barney Frank.

    I wished more Democrats had the backbone Barney Frank has.

    I can only remember one thing even slightly scandalous about Congressperson Frank and knowing GOP dirty tricks and Fox News’ agitprop I did not believe much of it.

  8. 8
    jba55

    Wait, without Barney I won’t have anyone to vote for. No, really, everyone else is write ins, what am I going to do? Barney! Come back!

  9. 9
    dingojack

    RE: “protecting the public from the scourge of inside straights”.
    And the GOP is out there “protecting the public from ‘out’ style gheys”!
    :) Dingo

  10. 10
    Francisco Bacopa

    I’ll miss you Rep. Frank.

  11. 11
    tomh

    There will be some cutthroat competition for Frank’s position as ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, given that he has raised large sums of money from the industries that the Financial Services Committee regulates. Since 1989 he has raised $4.3 million dollars from the finance, insurance and real estate sector. In the 2008 election cycle he was the #1 beneficiary of all House members from the mortgage banking industry and in 2010 he was #3. This is not to say that he was doing anything wrong, that’s just the way of the world in Washington, D.C. And there is no shortage of House members ready to take his place, with their campaign coffers open.

  12. 12
    brocasbrian

    I really like Frank. He’s a breath of fresh air in washington. I did always think his position on Israel was all over the map. I saw an interview where he seriously compared criticism of Israel to apartheid.

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