If Your Heart’s Not In It …

Frankly, My Dear…
By Chuck Dupree / May 13, 2008

Barney Frank is known for a lot of things. The most prominent gay member of Congress, he’s now the chairman of the Financial Services Committee. In his 14th term in the House, he made a kind of splash by appearing, without smiling, on The Colbert Report, a non-trivial accomplishment in itself.

But he does have quite a sense of humor, as the Times reports.

Between an economic stimulus package and the Federal Reserve’s rescue of Wall Street, he said, “they [the Bush administration] have been pushed into accepting a lot of government help for the market.”

“People aren’t good at doing things they dislike,” he added.

Then, in a flash of trademark wit, he said that asking the White House to support more government intervention was “like asking me to judge the Miss America contest — if your heart’s not in it, you don’t do a very good job.”

In addition, he can make a deal. And with this group of Republicans, that’s saying quite a lot.

Within the administration, where some high-level officials privately refer to him as “scary smart,” no one is underestimating him. After the House approved his bill on Thursday, though without enough votes to override a veto, Mr. Frank quickly went on the offensive, seeking to undercut the administration’s argument that homeowners in trouble should have known better.

“No dumb people got America into this problem,” he snapped. “You had to be really smart to understand collateralized debt obligation derivatives.”

Mr. Frank, who holds degrees from Harvard and Harvard Law School, understands collateralized debt obligations.

What vexes the administration, at times, is that he also holds strong liberal feelings about what he views as the government’s top obligations — to aid the poor and protect victims of discrimination, to police the markets and, in the case of as many as two million Americans at risk of losing their homes, to offer a helping hand if one is needed.

Really! I mean, can you imagine anything more distressing? By definition, if people are in need, they don’t deserve help. Only Wall Street, the weapons manufacturers, and the drug companies should get assistance from the government; everyone else is on his or her own.

“Barney has been very fair,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California and one of the most conservative members of the House. “I think that I have been treated more fairly, and a number of my Republican colleagues have been treated more fairly, since the Democrats have become the majority than I was treated by my own leadership.”

Mr. Frank politely interjected, “I know the gentleman joins me in looking forward to continued years of such treatment.”

Such friendly banter was a far cry from the day in 1995 when Representative Dick Armey of Texas, the Republican majority leader, referred to him as “Barney Fag” in a radio interview.

Ah, the subtlety and intelligence of the Texas Congressman.

Source / Bad Attitudes

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