My immediate thoughts on reading that U.S. Rep. Barney Frank would not run for reelection were:
- One fewer courageous progressives in Congress
- The clarity of vision in the House will plunge
- Some tiny minded winger in Sen. Scott Brown's mold may slither into the seat
Yet, the 71-year-old, 16 termer may well be doing the right thing for various other reasons. To the WaPo, he said candidly (his only mode) that his newly reconstructed district would be much more conservative and that at his age he thought he didn't have the energy level for that kind of prolonged contention.
As soon as it became clear he'd announce today, the local winger papers and blogs piled on jealous vitriol. It was an early Christmas present and he should bear the responsibility for the economic collapse and recession. In reality, beyond such spite, he was a formidable force to gather the hate and fear of the right and the corporate lickspittles.
I should be so short-tempered. I am wont to Southern politeness and a UU wishy-washy desire to let people have their say before pointing out how wrong they are and why. He does not tolerate such inanity. He is quick to call B.S. on liars and frauds, be they committee witnesses or other Congressmen.
As such, there's lesson two for whoever follows him and to his peers. You frame the argument when you do not allow deceit and stupidity unchallenged into the debate. Although often funny, he may do that a bit too abruptly and with too intense a level of ridicule, but the end is the right one. Do not pretend that everyone's opinions are as right or as valuable as another's.
Frank has long been a bugbear to wingers. He is viper tongued, impatient, and of course, openly gay. He finds immorality and dishonor not in anyone's sexual orientation, rather in making many Americans go without so a few can play Scrooge McDuck.
We can at least hope that Frank has set the pattern for a few younger progressive pols...maybe even that one will step up in 2012.