Breaking: Barney Frank to Retire from Congress (Updated)

A sign that the Democrats realize they will not retake the House next year?

The Massachusetts Democrat, first elected in 1980, serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. During a four-year stint as chairman of the panel, he helped shepherd the Dodd-Frank overhaul of the nation's financial regulations.

He won a closer-than-expected re-election bid in 2010, taking 53 percent of the vote, his lowest total since first winning his Newton- and Tauton-based district in 1980.

The official announcement comes this afternoon. The media will undoubtedly lionize Frank, who has served 16 terms in the House. He doesn't deserve it. He deserves to be considered a corrupt creature of Washington who helped usher in the Great Recession. Frank was among the Democrats who prevented scrutiny and reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when it could have prevented the economic collapse. Republicans at the time wanted more oversight and regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Frank and many of his fellow Democrats stood in the way. He comes into this video at 4:55, saying there's no problem at Fannie/Freddie at all.

Frank downplayed concerns about the housing bubble in 2005.

Frank later lied about his role:

Frank's other scandals include bending the TARP to get a bank a loan it shouldn't have gotten, and, the whole prostitution ring running out of his home story.

Washington and the nation will be far better off without Barney Frank anywhere near political power.

Update: Yikes.

By the way, with Frank retiring Maxine Waters is slated to be the ranking Dem on the banking committee.

Waters marched right alongside Frank in defense of Fannie & Freddie, and once let slip that she would like to "socialize", as in seize for the government, oil companies. She also told the Tea Party to "go straight to Hell," but for some reason Colin Powell didn't see fit to call her out for being divisive.

Frank's retirement is probably connected to Massachusetts losing a House seat next year.