Ed Driscoll

The New York Times sums up its Ideology in a Single Headline


“Barney Frank, Moderate.”

Well, their former ombudsman admitted in 2004 they were liberal. Now we know just how liberal they are. Clay Waters of Newsbusters correctly dubs the Gray Lady labeling Frank a moderate a laugh-aloud headline:

New York Times editorial board member, and former Times reporter, David Firestone is filling in for Andrew Rosenthal this week at the paper’s opinion blog The Loyal Opposition. He has apparently been tasked to make Rosenthal seem balanced by comparison, judging by his Monday posting with the laugh-line headline “Barney Frank, Moderate.”

Firestone was paying tribute to liberal Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, who has represented the Fourth District in southern Massachusetts for the past 30 years and is retiring now, unwilling to stomach the challenge of running in a redrawn district. Firestone termed Frank, who has earned a lifetime rating of 4 out of a possible 100 from the American Conservative Union, a “centrist.” But if Barney Frank isn’t a liberal, than who in Congress is?

Even the Times news page admitted the obvious. The headline over Abby Goodnough’s write-up on Frank’s retirement read: “Barney Frank, a Top Liberal, Won’t Seek Re-election.” Goodnough devoted two paragraphs to Frank’s sexual orientation, compared to three on the influential Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation; she didn’t even mention Frank’s controversial ties to and defense of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, which many blame for the U.S. mortgage crisis.

In contrasts to the palace guard New York Times, “Just beat it, Barney!” Boston-based talk radio host Michael Graham responds in the Boston Herald — the Boston newspaper the Gray Lady doesn’t own:

Two generations ago, Will Rogers noted that the problem with Congress was that, when they told a joke, it became a law; and when they passed a law, it was a joke. And one of America’s biggest — and most expensive — political jokes has finally gotten to the punchline:

Barney Frank is leaving office at the end of his term. Maybe he just wants to spend more quality time with his pot-growing prostitute friends in the sub-prime lending business.

I apologize for the mean-spiritedness of that last comment. It’s particularly mean-spirited because it’s demonstrably true.

A sitting congressman re-elected after his boyfriend is busted for running a male prostitution ring out of the congressman’s condo? Amazing. Re-elected after it’s discovered another boyfriend helps run a major money-losing government agency “regulated” by the congressman’s committee? Astounding. But after a third boyfriend is busted for growing pot while you’re sitting on his front porch?

Words fail. Then again, so did the voters who kept this joke going.

Before YouTube, people assumed that Frank won his elections with his wit and charm. Only after watching him insult voters to their face and shout down town hall attendees did Barney’s real secret emerge:

Gerrymandering.

A few years ago, left-leaning Slate.com identified Frank’s district as one of the 10 most gerrymandered in America. Last week, a more rational district was drawn. And Frank — knowing the truth — is jumping ship.

According to press reports, Frank’s reaction to the new district map was to tell an adviser, “They didn’t do me any favors.” If the district hadn’t changed, he indicated yesterday, he would have gone for one last term.

And why not? Frank’s only 71 years old. By congressional standards, he should still be chasing pages around the rotunda.

If Barney really is the brilliant mind and “quip”-witted communicator of legend, why doesn’t he use those skills to win a race in a competitive district? He could explain all the terrific things he’s done, defend all the brilliant policies he’s advocated.

Exactly.

As Bryan Preston wrote yesterday at the Tatler, in reality (as opposed to the view from the bridge of the USS Sulzberger), Frank “deserves to be considered a corrupt creature of Washington who helped usher in the Great Recession.”

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.

Exit quote: “As with all bullies, [Frank] rationalizes his behavior by telling himself that the victims deserve it and the applause is for his courage. But you can tell from that occasional smile at the discomfiture of his targets, that there’s something more primal at work.”