Tuesday, November 29, 2011

National Review: "Exit Barney Frank"

The news on Monday that Congressman Barney Frank would not seek reelection to the U.S. Congress sent a buzz throughout news outlets. An editorial at the National Review said, "Representative Frank will be remembered as an embarrassment, a reckless gambler, and a legislative malefactor."

The American Spectator noted, "Barney Frank decided that introducing himself to a new set of constituents and asking for their votes was too high a price to continue wielding power. Thus with his congressional district redrawn, the Massachusetts Democrat will not seek reelection to Congress next year."

Barney is the latest  Democrat to announce he will not be back making some wonder if he is a bellwether for Democrats in D.C. Seventeen Democrats have announced they will not return prompting The Fix to comment that, "... the number of Democratic retirements in the next couple months will be a key indicator of whether the rank-and-file truly believe the majority is attainable. As President Obama’s numbers continue to languish and the economy struggle, some may see the goal slipping away."

Not all are happy to see him go, however ... his escapades in the House were legendary. Michelle Cottle at The Daily Beast commented, "... much of the time he barely bothers being civil to those he does like. It is part of the prickly, impatient Dem’s charm. Part of what makes Barney Barney—along with his lightning wit, his unnerving intellect, his naked arrogance, and his lax approach to personal grooming."

A fixture on the Hill for 32 years, Barney Frank partially blamed Congress for his leaving, calling the government body "broken."

"To my disappointment, the leverage you have within the government has substantially diminished,” Frank told Politico's Jonathan Allen. “The anger in the country, the currents of opinion are such that the kind of inside work I have felt best at is not going to be as productive in the foreseeable future and not until we make some changes.”

But decisions made by Frank over the years have contributed to the mood of the country and the anger of voters whether he wants to admit it or not. National Review perhaps said it best:
From his relatively petty transgressions related to his personal life to his more consequential role in enabling Fannie and Freddie, Representative Frank personifies a great deal of what is wrong with American public life. Though a highly intelligent man, he made the wrong decisions at every turn, and compounded his policy errors with the petty and vindictive style of his politics. Republicans will not miss him. Neither should his Democratic colleagues, his constituents, or the American public that will be paying off the cost of his errors and those of his allies, with interest, for a great many years. We hope that he will find in the obscurity of retirement the grace and wisdom that eluded him as an elected official, but we do not assume that it will be so.
Krystle at Bearing Drift has more and concluded, "It's a good thing Frank is retiring."

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