Why Barney Frank wants to be the next Senator from Massachusetts

Congressman Frank wants to return to fight another day, this time in the Senate. Photo: Congressman Frank is not planning to say goodbye to Capitol Hill AP

WASHINGTON, January 4, 2012 — Want to drive the Republicans around the bend? Just grant retiring Congressman Barney Frank his wish: to be appointed the next Senator from Massachusetts after Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) steps down and is appointed Secretary of State.

Frank made his wish as the replacement appointee known to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Friday on “Morning Joe,” Frank put it this way: ““Coach, put me in.”

Congressman Frank, who has served in the House since 1980, decided not to run again and the 113th Congressional Republicans gave a deep sigh of relief. Blunt, no-nonsense Frank often used his rapier wit to taunt Republicans he disagreed with. Plus he was their idea of a poster boy for Liberal politics. But now he was going out to pasture and they thought they would not hear from him again, except maybe to pop up on MSNBC, tossing a sarcastic remark or two their way.

But now he may just upset the Massachusetts political apple cart and return to taunt them from the Senate floor. Frank, who has been the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was a robust voice on all things that involved the budget. Now after the fiscal cliff fiasco, he has found that he is not quite ready to give up the fight.

Congressman Ed Markey and Senator Elizabeth Warren AP

“Two weeks ago, in fact, I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank explained. “That [fiscal cliff] deal now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial [history].”

At one point Frank had actually said he had no interest in being an interim senator as he was just “too bone tired” to do the job.

That was then, this is now. And the Congressman is all fired up and ready to go.

Frank, who is gay and married his long-term partner James Ready in 2012, has described himself as: “I’m a left-handed gay Jew. I’ve never felt automatically a member of any majority.”

If anyone knows how to irk the other side of the aisle, the Democrats couldn’t have a stronger voice than Barney Frank.

Congressman Ed Markey, another liberal, has already signaled that he will be running for John Kerry’s seat in the special May election if Kerry is appointed to head up the State Department. Markey has been in Congress since 1975. Both men would represent Massachusetts well, although Markey is consider more moderate than Frank. Sen. Kerry and the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy have already endorsed Markey’s run.

Congressman Frank has no interest in running against Markey. He plans only to be a placeholder until the special election, just enough time for him to be involved in the upcoming debt ceiling and deficit debates. 

Whether  Gov. Patrick appoints Frank to the interim spot is still up in the air, but putting Frank shoulder to shoulder with newly elected Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another financial expert, is bound to send shudders through the conservative community and just might be too good an opportunity for a Democratic governor to pass up.

Talk about a dynamic duo, Frank and Warren: they are going to be amazing to watch in non-stop action. A word to the wise: If Frank gets his wish, the Republicans had better be on their game this next go round.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib at the Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. She can also be heard on Democrats for America’s Future. She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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