As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bad Barney

In general, I like Barney Frank. He's important because he's willing to go on television and ridicule Republicans. But he certainly has picked up that Beltway tendency to punch the hippies, hasn't he?

“Off the record, it’s what we call the responsible left,” said one Massachusetts lawmaker. Frank himself was scathing toward both sides, who had often mimicked one another’s arguments that the IMF money constituted a European bank bailout.

“The left and the right live in parallel universes,” Frank told POLITICO. “The right listens to talk radio, the left’s on the Internet and they just reinforce one another. They have no sense of reality. ... I have now one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet.”

I don't totally disagree that obsessing over $5 billion, far less than 1% of the federal budget, in the IMF loan doesn't make a lot of sense. Of course, antiwar activists really wanted to leverage the GOP opposition to get timelines in the Iraq and Afghan war funding - something Frank and all his Democratic colleagues loved when George Bush was in office. There's no reason that the SOFA deadlines had to be implicit, adding them into the funding request would have given Congress the voice they should have on these matters.

Worse, Frank betrays a certain comfort with parroting the party line of the White House and the leadership here, even when it comes to his own community:

Well, it seems a trip to the Oval Office is all openly gay congressman Barney Frank needs to stab his community in the back. After criticizing the DOJ's anti-gay DOMA brief this morning, Frank did a 180 this evening and lauded the brief, which invoked incest and pedophilia. Frank now thinks the brief is just super.

Frank claims that he gave a newspaper reporter his negative opinion of the brief without actually having read it.

Did you catch that? Barney Frank, our senior gay elected representative, and a lawyer himself, claims that he was giving legal opinions on a legal brief that he hadn't even read. At least Joe and I, who are also lawyers, read the brief before commenting on it. How many other issues has Barney opined on about which he's been knowingly willfully ignorant? (Of course, I don't believe Frank for a minute - he read the brief, but the president got him to recant.)

I am simply astounded. Even more astounding is that Barney's release sounds as if it were written by the White House. Their talking points are all through it, including the bizarre notion that somehow Obama would be as bad as George Bush if he opposed DOMA in court. (Repeating the lie that presidents never oppose existing legislation in court.)

I didn't realize until now what a slave to power Frank has turned out to be. He could use his intellect and rapier wit in an independent fashion, but clearly he chooses to do otherwise. Hope that helps his career arc.

...Lawdork disputes John Aravosis' reading of Frank's remarks, in a somewhat compelling fashion.

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