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January 04, 2013 10:11 AM Senator Frank?

By Ed Kilgore

So Barney Frank, who just retired after 32 years in the House, is letting it be known he’d love to be appointed an interim Senator between the time John Kerry resigns to become Secretary of State, and the special election Gov. Deval Patrick must hold between 145 and 160 days later.

Normally these interim gigs rightly go to honor someone whose contributions have gone largely unrewarded in the past, and/or to a noncontroversial public figure. Frank doesn’t qualify on either ground. But he does have something that interim candidates don’t usually have: a distinctive substantive reason for wanting to serve, however briefly, in the Senate at this particular moment:

“A month ago, or a few weeks ago, I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It was kind of like you’re about to graduate, and they said: ‘You gotta go to summer school.’ But [the fiscal cliff deal] now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial history.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank also likes the idea of being in the Senate as a deterrent to the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense—and as Hagel’s tormenter if Obama goes ahead with the much-rumored appointment.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • sjw on January 04, 2013 10:22 AM:

    I would love to see a Senator Frank. He's articulate and funny, and he will say things that the Democrats -- in particular, Obama -- need to say but won't/don't. He could make a real difference in the political discussion over the next six months.

  • c u n d gulag on January 04, 2013 10:39 AM:

    I haven't led the kind of clean and pure life, where the Flying Spaghetti Monster would see fit to bless me with a few months of Barney Frank being a Senator in a neighboring state.

  • biggerbox on January 04, 2013 10:49 AM:

    I'd love it just because of all the stomach upset it would cause the big banksters to have Elizabeth Warren AND Barney Frank in the Senate at the same time.

    With Grayson back in the House, it would be a prime time for progressive voices on Capitol Hill.

  • jjm on January 04, 2013 10:49 AM:

    Sounds good to me!

  • Anonymous on January 04, 2013 10:53 AM:

    I'd love this. I bet Barney is regretting his desire to retire. Domestic bliss has its advantages, but retirement often leaves you with a lot of time on your hands. He's probably dying to be back in.

    Let's hope it happens.

  • digitusmedius on January 04, 2013 11:02 AM:

    Please don't tell me Barney's against Hagel for his mild and appropriate criticism of Israel.

  • max on January 04, 2013 11:03 AM:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank also likes the idea of being in the Senate as a deterrent to the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense—and as Hagel’s tormenter if Obama goes ahead with the much-rumored appointment.

    Given that everyone seems bound and determined to make things as easy for Brown as possible, then I would say I would support Barney tormenting people in return for him being a Senator *appointed* to a Cabinet position (whatever Cabinet position that might be) in the O administration for a two year minimum. (Since then we would be burning off a Senate seat by appointing someone else.) Obama gets a Senatorial appointment, and we minimize the damage from Obama doing that and Barney gets his 90 days with pitchfork routine.

    max
    ['I think that would be fair.']

  • Matt on January 04, 2013 11:58 AM:

    Please don't tell me Barney's against Hagel for his mild and appropriate criticism of Israel.

    I so tell you.

    There are many reasons not to want Hagel to become Secretary of Defense, not least of them the fact that among the many hundreds of people who could do the job just as well or better are many Democrats. (E.g., John Kerry, who will probably be a decent Secretary of State, but who is a better fit for this job, if he must be a member of the Cabinet.)

    There is no rule that says that your Cabinet must be full of senior political figures, or that your SecDef must be a Republican. You'll notice that Republicans do not return the stereotype-favor by appointing Democratic secretaries to HHS, Labor, or Education.

  • Hattie McDaniel on January 04, 2013 12:48 PM:

    retirement often leaves you with a lot of time on your hands. He's probably dying to be back in.

    His term in the House only ended yesterday. I doubt boredom has kicked in that quickly.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on January 04, 2013 1:26 PM:

    Seconding biggerbox.

    Senators Warren AND Frank is a political wet dream that I would hate to be awakened from...

  • digitusmedius on January 04, 2013 2:45 PM:

    Matt, I'm not lobbying for Hagel, although I don't really have any strong feelings against him or for anyone else. I simply wonder if this one issue is what Franks would (allegedly) oppose him for SoD.

  • BC on January 04, 2013 3:09 PM:

    Digitus - I think Barney's problem with Hagel has to do with anti-gay rhetoric that Hagel indulged in in the past and not with the not-supporting-Israel stink bomb the Republicans are using.

  • rrk1 on January 04, 2013 3:26 PM:

    The only issue on which Frank has attacked Hagel is homophobia, which is not a deciding factor, at least not for me. I despise homophobes, but the bigger issue here is that Obama has put himself on the line by dangling Hagel. AIPAC and the Likud Israel lobby, which I despise as much as homophobes, wants to flex its muscle and prevent Hagel from becoming SecDef. This is a fight Obama should have, but gutless wonder that he is, it probably will be over before it happens, and he'll nominate the woman deputy to get cred for diversity.

  • Juanita de Talmas on January 04, 2013 3:56 PM: