Congressman Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, yesterday announced he will not seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He will be remembered by historians as having done more harm to the United States than any single American since the Civil War.
Allahpundit at Hot Air:
Of all the losers to have passed through Congress, how many can say they played a major role in precipitating a global economic catastrophe? It’ll take a lot of media whitewash to obscure that legacy, but I’m sure they’re game: The ratio of political eulogies today that mention his wit and intellect to those flagging his boosterism for Fannie and Freddie is running about five to one from what I’ve seen.
John Hayward at What on Earth?
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.
[K]nown for being one of the most vociferous defenders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, claiming there was no problem while those two agencies were at the core of the building sub-prime mortgage disaster. He’s also been a loud advocate of raising taxes and gutting the defense budget. Saying he has a “caustic wit” is a euphemism; he truly is one of the biggest jackasses in our national life.
Good riddance. ... [H]is real legacy will be his cluelessness and indifference to reforming Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. … To paraphrase William F. Buckley, Jr., Massachusetts would be better served by picking a name out of the phone book than by another two years of Barney Frank. Hopefully, they’ll get someone (Democrat or Republican) a heck of a lot better.
Jimmie at The Sundries Shack:
Most folks, if they had Frank’s history of scandal –see if the name Stephen Gobie and the phrase “whore house run out of Frank’s apartment by his boyfriend and personal aide” ring any bells – wouldn’t be in Congress right now but Barney Frank has never been like most folks. He put that whole sordid story behind him and, thanks to one of the most securely Democratic districts in the country, became the member of Congress who almost sunk the economy and destroyed the housing market all by himself.
Tom Maguire at Just One Minute:
The obvious guess is that this signals a tough environment for Massachusetts libs, but I think that on net it will help Elizabeth Warren, who now becomes the undisputed center of the liberal universe in MA and won't be dragged down by Barney's baggage.
AD at Unelected:
What Barney Frank should be remembered for is not the easy to digest, gossip-like trash the media will feed you; it’s the fact that he was the chief architect of the subprime mortgage crisis / the housing bubble that left hundreds of thousands of Americans homeless and millions more in destitution. The repercussions of Frank’s actions, chiefly pushing the Community Reinvestment Act, and his strong-arming of Fannie Mae to lend to people who obviously couldn’t repay large loans, will outlast his his terms in office.
W. James Antle in Barney's Bubble:
According to one report, "Frank pushed [Fannie Mae] to loosen regulations on mortgages for two- and three-family homes, even though they were defaulting at twice and five times the rate of single homes, respectively." ... When new regulations were proposed, Frank accused supporters of worrying about the GSEs' [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's] financial soundess "to the exclusion of concern about housing." He steadfastly denied that there was anything wrong with the government-backed mortgage finance firms. Frank insisted "these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis." Yet Fannie and Freddie failed, racking up at least 12 million risky loans and accounting for roughly 40 percent of those still outstanding.
Peter Wallison at The Enterprise Blog:
[H]is career was marred by excessive partisanship, defensiveness, and an intellectual arrogance that prevented him from recognizing his errors until it was too late to save Fannie and Freddie or prevent the 2008 financial catastrophe in which they played the primary role. By the time Fannie and Freddie failed, they had accumulated 12 million subprime and other low quality and risky loans—about 40 percent of the 27 million outstanding—mostly for the purpose of meeting the affordable housing goals he fought to protect. The defaults on these loans, which are continuing, will ultimately cost the U.S. taxpayers $300 to $400 billion.
Joel B. Pollak at Big Government:
Barney Frank is also a quick wit–all too rare on the left–and will be remembered well for being the first openly gay member of Congress, among other achievements. Yet his most damaging legacies–the housing crisis, the financial “reform” that bears his name, and the hyper-partisanship to which he eagerly contributed–outweigh Frank’s positive contributions. How unfortunate that his constituents did not eject him much sooner.
Karl M at Patterico’s Pontifications:
Frank won in 2010 with 55% of the vote — but that was his worst showing since 1980, when he was first elected. Of the many bad things I could say about Frank, he’s not dumb when it comes to politics, which is why he now shuffles off to some quasi-private sector gig, likely a lucrative one.
State leaders lauded Frank's years of service, with Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh saying in a statement that Frank "will take his place in history as a shining son of Massachusetts."
More than two decades ago, Frank was reprimanded by the House for using his congressional status on behalf of a male prostitute whom he had employed as a personal aide, including seeking dismissal of 33 parking tickets. "I should have known better. I do now, but it's a little too late," Frank said at the time.
The open secret is that, as a congressman, Barney Frank has been wrong about almost every major policy in his long public career. From Reaganomics to Obamacare, his predictions of future performance have been wildly, embarrassingly off the mark. When he’s attempted to lead, he’s almost always taken off in the worst direction.
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Bryce Vickmark, Ben Protess, Edward Wyatt and Jess Bidgood wrote the "Barney Frank, a Top Liberal, Won't Seek Re-election" story yesterday for The New York Times, and guess what? Those four crack reporters came up with 1,200 words on Barney Frank and never once brought up Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. They couldn't mention Frank's colossal crime and then face their fellow Democratic reporters. Why not? Maybe it's because they're cowardly hacks.
Some of the Democrats' more partisan blogs were careful to follow The Times' self-censorship, pretending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac never existed. Barney Frank pressured the mortgage giants to back $1 trillion in bad home loans, destroying the U.S. economy, but these Democrats are doing their best not to blink at a $1 trillion disaster or the destructive chain reaction that followed.
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Steve Benen at Washington Monthly:
[I]t’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that Barney Frank has had an extraordinary and consequential career — the nation is better off for his efforts — and Capitol Hill is losing its smartest lawmaker.
Laura Conaway at The Maddow Blog:
Congressman Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) is not running again, maybe, in part, because of redistricting. Mr. Frank has been a frequent guest on our show and a YouTube star. … Barney Frank has been one of a kind.
John Cook at Gawker:
Maybe there's a scandal coming! Maybe his district is getting chewed up in Massachusetts' redistricting process. Maybe he's just sick of this shit. Either way, we're losing one of the greats.
Jed Lewison at Daily Kos:
There's a million great things that you could say about Barney Frank, but the one that pops most quickly into mind is this: Newt Gingrich revived his campaign shortly after saying Barney Frank should be thrown in jail for having ties to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. As he's pointed out, if Gingrich rides that to the GOP nomination, then Democrats owe Barney Frank a lifetime of whatever he damn well pleases.
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Auld Lang Syne. I hope Barney Frank has a long retirement, long enough for him to pay back the hundreds of billions of dollars he cost American taxpayers by sabotaging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and long enough for him to atone for depriving millions of Americans of their jobs, their dignity, their homes and their hope.