A top adviser told the Globe that the new district in which Frank would have had to run next year was a major factor in his decision. While it retained his Newton stronghold, it was revised to encompass more conservative towns like Walpole while losing New Bedford, a blue-collar city where the Democrat had invested a lot of time and become a leading figure in the region’s fisheries debate.
Frank’s campaign manager last year said his withering 2010 re-election effort spurred the congressman to think seriously about retirement, even saying a few days after the election that it would be his last one.
Frank is also 71 years old, and his congressional career has allowed him to, shall we say, “amass” a sizable fortune. This was a good time to call it quits, especially as Democrat hopes of retaking the House in 2012 have grown dimmer.
It’s a predictable, if unfortunate, end to a career that included setting up the subprime bomb that nearly destroyed the U.S. economy. If you’re upset about the big bonuses paid to executives of the bailout-sucking Fannie Mae, remember that Frank was literally sleeping with a top Fannie Mae executive while he sat on the House Banking Committee. Frank lied repeatedly to protect the Fannie Mae racket from oversight, and the resulting cost to the American people was nearly incalculable.
And yet, it remains the official Democrat Party storyline that absolutely no one in government had anything to do with the subprime crisis. They don’t just finger the evil banks as 70% or 80% responsible. It’s essential to preserving their mythology that the corruption of characters like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd be completely obscured. People on both sides of the aisle complain about complex issues being distilled into overly simplified storylines for public consumption. Well, here is the ultimate example, and perhaps the most dangerous one, since obscuring the truth of government’s involvement in the subprime crash has played no small role in the rise of the delusional Occupy movement – an outraged crusade against “corruption” that can only see one half of what they’re protesting, and it’s not the really dangerous half.
Barney Frank makes an excellent poster boy for term limits: a man who gained enormous power over the economy of the United States, not because he was a brilliant economist or successful businessman, but because he was a Congressman-for-life from a “safe seat.” He suffered no legal repercussions for behavior that would have put private-sector CEOs in jail. He wasn’t even in much danger of “losing his job” after one of history’s most spectacular failures. Only a miniscule percentage of Americans would ever have a chance to vote against him, by virtue of living in his small congressional district, but he had vast power over all of our lives. It took years of effort and a historic midterm election just to get him out of the congressional majority.
Frank is also the paragon of death-spiral Democrat politics, grabbing for fresh new piles of taxpayer dollars on his way out the door. While announcing that he wouldn’t run for re-election again, Frank cited the Republicans’ reluctance to raise taxes as one reason he couldn’t stand to remain in a House under their control. As if that was the problem, instead of Frank’s party jacking up spending by over forty percent when they were in charge! Barney Frank is the perfect skeletal boatman to ferry us across the river of fiscal death, until we reach the rapidly-approaching waterfall of utter collapse… at which point frightened Americans will notice the skeletal boatman comfortably retired upon a pile of riches built through political connections, waving at them from shore.
Now he’ll get to retire wearing the slightly threadbare “liberal lion” robes that were draped around Ted Kennedy’s shoulders, one more beneficiary of the media culture’s eternal presumption of good will toward the noble intentions of liberals. Nowhere will you see him described as a “hardliner,” “extremist,” or “intransigent.” Only the belief that politicians know best how to spend Americans’ money is celebrated as “uncompromising leadership.”
You might read a few mentions of the gay prostitution ring that used to operate out of Barney’s house, but that’s mostly because the media still admires the hell out of him for getting away with it. The media looks at even the most tawdry scandals of a liberal lion and sees lovable flamboyance, not enduring outrage. Nor will they dwell on the horrifying and utter failure of Barney Frank’s ideology, or the way he personifies the inherent corruption of Big Government.
Today the man whose personal ambitions and blind ideology wreaked havoc upon the American financial system said he has “no regrets,” and you can be damn sure the media won’t force him to find any. The absence of regret is one of the things that makes Big Government so dangerous.