Karl Rove on the real reason Barney Frank should retire
Whatever reason Barney Frank has given for his desire to retire from the House of Representatives, Karl Rove has identified the real cause of Mr. Frank's flight from politics.
It was because he was going to retire anyway, lost a favorite port town in redistricting and had a tough race last time.
Was this really why Congressman Barney Frank announced today he's retiring from the House of Representatives?
Perhaps another reason was he's no longer chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and like a lot of bullies, Mr. Frank found it's not easy to be stripped of the power to torment and humiliate others.
Brilliant, but acid tongued and generally unpleasant, Mr. Frank ruled with an iron gavel, ran over critics with delight and treated committee members and especially Republican colleagues as lesser forms of life.
Mr. Frank's departure in January 2013 will remove from the House one of its more offensive members. Until then, this petulant, abrasive and downright nasty Congressman will keep making his presence known.
However, it is unlikely that Mr. Frank is leaving for the reason he should depart Congress: out of shame for all he did to stop reform of Fannie and Freddie while there was still time to avert the disaster that almost took down the American economy.
In 2003, he called Fannie and Freddie "fundamentally sound financially" and accused the Bush Administration of trying to "exaggerate a threat of safety... [to] conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see."
In 2004, and again in 2007, when the Bush administration warned of trouble with Fannie and Freddie, Frank ridiculed the notion that the mortgage giants needed reform.
And as Rove points out, there was good reason for this - political reasons that gave the Democrats an advantage:
Fannie and Freddie provided "grease" for the Democratic political machine through hundreds of millions in charitable contributions to left wing community and advocacy groups that are critical to Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.
Fannie and Freddie hired vast armies of influence peddlers - admittedly from both parties, but mostly Democrats - to forestall any efforts at reasonable regulation.
Fannie and, to a lesser extent, Freddie, were led by Democratic political power brokers, masquerading as mortgage bankers while advising Democratic presidents, vetting Democratic running mates, and plumping the election hopes of Congressional Democrats.
Rove has nailed the reason why Frank should retire - should have retired a long time ago.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky