Barney and the Jet Set

Photo by U.S. Department of Agriculture | CC BY 2.0

Remember good old Barney Frank, the loudmouth former legislator from Massachusetts’ 4th District? (Even after 50 years in the Bay State, he still talks Joisey.) He’s gay and proud (having first out himself privately in the late 70s and then publicly in 1987), and still sports a progressive patina that over time has become a tad tarnished.

He was a grad student at Harvard, where friends of mine met him, but ditched his dissertation to work for the Mayor of Boston. He soon entered politics as a state rep, taking a law degree from Harvard while he served his west-of-Boston suburban constituency. By 1980 he was a Congress-critter, and by the time he bowed out in 2013 he had risen to Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee (demoted by the 2010 mid-terms to Ranking Member). Unless it happened in High School, he never lost an election.

A liberal stalwart, Frank was active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s, and sponsored or voted for many liberal initiatives involving environmental protection, drug decriminalization, limiting military spending, telecommunications ownership and net neutrality, and of course civil and gay rights.

As we well know, Barney is the Frank of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act of 2010. Co-sponsor Dodd is ex-Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who has much better hair and a bigger bank account. Dodd, by the way, reneged on his vow to never, ever become a lobbyist, when upon exiting…

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