Representative Barney Frank’s recently announced retirement is not exactly a shock. His sense of timing may be better than most of his incumbent colleagues. Perhaps he smells something repellent slouching towards Washington: a secondary bust, another kick in the economy’s collective pants.
Funny, his timing had been a little slow soon after the Crash of 2008, when he protested that it hadn’t been he who had been pushing cheap mortgages and a policy of lax mortgage standards — oh no! — or he who had just recently proclaimed Fannie and Freddie to be doing just fine, thank you.
The New York Times, dubbing him a “top liberal,” cited redistricting as the major spark for his decision. Then it went on to quote Rep. Frank as blaming Newt Gingrich and the “conservative news media” for uglying up the tone in Washington, calling the present ideological climate a “bitter divide.”
Of course, before the Internet and Fox News, a near-monolithic liberal slant dominated major media. Adding an offsetting bias might have made it tougher for Frank, but surely the new toughness reflects actual American opinion better than the previous left-leaning cultural hegemony ever did.
Frank amusingly claims he has, now, but “one ambition: to retire before it becomes essential to tweet.” I bet he tweets soon.
Summarizing the advantages of not running for re-election, he explained that he would no longer “have to try to pretend to be nice to people” he doesn’t like.
No more Mr. Nice Guy? No more Mr. Clean?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.