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As Long as We Remember...

November 30, 2011

Don’t Let the Door…….

Kevin E. Dayhoff

In an historic, extraordinary step in the proper direction for the economic future of our great country, Rep. Barney Frank (D., MA) announced Monday that he is retiring from Congress.


Representative Frank’s retirement bookends another step in the right direction – the retirement of Sen. Christopher Dodd (D., CT) on January 3, 2011.


Frank’s retirement at 71 represents a growing tsunami of liberal lawmakers headed for the door and not seeking to run for another term. He was first elected to the House in 1980 and chaired the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2011.


Time Swampland writer Jay Newton-Small noted on Monday, “Retirements Plague Pelosi’s Push to Take Back the House.”


“But in recent weeks a herd of old bulls have announced their retirements. On Monday, Barney Frank became the 17th House Democrat to announce he would not seek another term… Is there something these old timers know that we don’t?”


What the old-timers know is obvious. The exodus comes at a time when numerous media sources are reporting, including Alana Horowitz of The Huffington Post on November 16, that “last month, a New York Times poll found that Congress’ approval rating fell to an all-time low of 9 percent. Meanwhile, a recent Gallup poll found that 11 percent of people found polygamy ‘morally acceptable.’ Additionally, 30 percent of Americans expressed approval of pornography.”


With the 2012 elections looming large on the radar screen, many liberal lawmakers are wise to understand that the blame-game begun by President Barack Obama may very well be finished by conservatives. The accusations and finger pointing is sure to reach a fever pitch.


Count on politicians from both parties to engage in the grapes of math and encounters of the third grade in order to win over the hearts and minds of the electorate in the face of a continuing miserable economy – in part the result of the Representative Frank and Senator Dodd, who were the leading architects of our current financial malaise.


In October 2008, I wrote a three-part series for about the status and origins of our current economic downturn entitled “Congress and the Rattlesnake.”


In part three, the working headline was, “The mess began thirty years ago.” At that time I noted:


Senator (John) McCain (R., AZ) said, in part: “I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190… If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.”


As far as President Bush’s efforts, on September 11, 2003, The New York Times reported: “The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.…”


What happened to the 2003 efforts? According to “Doug Ross at Journal,” “Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee blocked efforts at fixing Fannie and Freddie. Rep. Barney Frank (D., MA) said, ‘Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac... are not facing any kind of financial crisis…’ ”


Then, as I wrote in 2008:


Let’s not overlook H.R. 2575 — The Secondary Mortgage Market Enterprises Regulatory Improvement Act. According to Mr. Ross: “In 2003, the effort to rein in Fannie began in earnest with a GOP bill … (H. R. 2575.) The bill would have strengthened an independent regulator that did not have to kowtow to the political establishment…


Mr. Ross also calls to our attention that Rep. Barney Frank (D., MA) responded: “I think it is clear that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are sufficiently secure so they are in no great danger... I don't think we face a crisis; I don't think that we have an impending disaster. ...Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do very good work, and they are not endangering the fiscal health of this country.”


To be certain, Representative Frank has been a columnist’s dream to cover. His quips, zingers, and one-liners are legendary.


On Monday, Columnist Joe Klein remembered covering him in Boston, and noted that when he reported on the “famous Boston busing riots,” “Barney and I were talking about the alliance between the two, vehemently anti-busing city council members from South Boston, Louise Day Hicks and Albert “Dapper” O’Neill. ‘It’s the only time I’ve ever seen a symbiotic relationship between two parasites’…”


Then there was a time in 2009 when Representative Frank was conducting a town hall meeting on health care reform and he is quoted as saying: “Madam, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.”


Paul Kane wrote in The Washington Post on Monday “Love him or hate him — and there were very few who fell anywhere in between…”


Well, I certainly do not “hate him.” However, I certainly did not appreciate his disastrous approach to economic public policy.


And I am in good company – with the likes of nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.


Jeff Poor wrote in the Daily Caller: “On Monday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s ‘Special Report,’ Krauthammer took a swipe at Frank, who he holds partially responsible for the financial crisis that has been plaguing the U.S. economy…


“Krauthammer described Frank’s retirement as a step toward preventing another economic crisis. ‘Given the reward system in Washington, [the] man who was neglectful at least on the way up, gets to the author of the bill that is supposed to stop it from ever happening again… I would say that the best thing, most important thing he has ever done to prevent the crash ever happening again is what he did today — retire.’ ”


And that is exactly as I see it.


Good riddance Representative Frank. Please do not let the door hit you in the behind on your way out.


…I’m just saying


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