After ripping off taxpayers during his 16 terms in the House, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election next year:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2012, ending a three-decade career in the House.
Frank, 71, is the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and the architect, with former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), of the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform law enacted in 2010.
He announced his decision at an afternoon press conference in his hometown of Newton, Mass., where he said redistricting played a major role in his retirement.
“I was planning to run again, and then congressional redistricting came,” Frank said.
Over at Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende writes that Frank’s district may be more competitive for Republicans in 2012, noting that it “barely went for Democrat Deval Patrick (who won statewide by six points) in 2010 and that gave Republican Brown a 10-point win.” Frank finished with 54% of the vote last year against Sean Bielat, in a seat he had overwhelmingly carried in previous elections. Frank acknowledged that it would be a “tough race.”
Some Democrats took the opportunity to look back over Frank’s career approvingly. Ezra Klein, for example, tweeted, “Barney Frank will not seek reelection. Congress just got a little bit dumber, and a lot duller.” Certainly, Frank was not known as someone to beat around the bush. The guy was very blunt about his thoughts, even though he was on the wrong side of issues, much more often than not.
However, a point that is overlooked by Democrats was the fact that Frank completely missed the housing bubble. Was Frank solely responsible for it? No, but the policies that he and many others in Congress pushed (including some Republicans) helped inflate the bubble that burst in 2008.
Back in 2003, Frank defended Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
‘’These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,’’ said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ‘’The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.’‘
Just two years later, Frank denied the existance of the housing bubble:
Of course, Frank had a method to his madness. As Philip Klein points out, Frank took in “$42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie between 1989 and 2008.” And as you know, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have received billions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, due in part for securing mortgages for people that have no business owning a home. And we’re not even getting into the disasterous Dodd-Frank financial “reform” bill, which is causing financial institutions to jack up fees on customers.
For what it’s worth, Frank was decent on some personal liberties issues and he certainly had courage to become the first openly gay member of Congress. But the guy was atrocious on most everything else. Taxpayers are better off without him in the Congress.