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Barney Frank Not Running for Re-Election

Barney Frank Not Running for Re-Election

Chalk up another victim to Republican redistricting efforts.  Democratic Congressman Barney Frank has announced that he will not be running for reelection in 2012, citing a newer, more conservative district as a deciding factor in his retirement.

Frank, who was Congress’s first openly gay official, has served in the House for over 30 years, where he represented a Massachusetts district of solidly liberal Boston communities.  But new congressional lines which have sliced off some of his safer areas and replaced them with more conservative leaning neighborhoods have made reelection a much bigger battle, and one Frank is unwilling to put himself through for another cycle.

Frank had been highly influential in writing financial reform programs during the beginning of the Obama administration, where he chaired the Financial Services Committee.  He’s also been a strong advocate against the Defense of Marriage Act and for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the military policy that forces gay soldiers to hide their sexual orientation.

Allies have praised Frank’s work in Congress, calling his retirement a great loss.  “‘He was brilliant, funny, acerbic, strategic, and unashamedly liberal. And they’re in short supply these days,’ Philip W. Johnston, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said of Frank.”

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, agreed.  “Barney Frank has exemplified true leadership over his more than 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the first openly gay Member of Congress, Barney defied stereotypes and kicked doors open for LGBT Americans. Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act would never have happened without his leadership. But it goes beyond that. His service as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee during a time of great economic upheaval made a gay man one of the most powerful people in the country and he used that power for great good. America, Massachusetts and LGBT people are better off for Barney Frank’s service.”

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz calls Frank a “pioneer” who will be sorely missed in the legislature. “This is a man of incredible intellect. A powerhouse who has championed the rights of consumers in the financial services community.  I really have a heavy heart today. I’m going to miss him terribly.”

And political pundit Sally Kohn says this will not be the end of retirement announcements as government becomes even more dysfunctional.  “More sensible leaders of both political stripes can be expected to leave politics as Washington is increasingly held hostage by intransigent conservative extremists. Barney Frank’s retirement isn’t just unfortunate news for Democrats, it’s unfortunate news for a nation founded on the ideals of democratic deliberation.”

Meanwhile, the conservative website The Daily Caller remains as classy as ever, saying “Don’t wet the doahw hit ya on the way out, kweep!” and comparing him to Elmer Fudd.

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to World Economic Forum.

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45 comments

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5:02PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Bye BYE, Barney Frank....I can't wait until you are gone. I can't believe the number of positive comments for this nutcase. Barney said, "Fanny Mae & Freddie Mac are fine & can be trusted" & all because his gay lover worked at one of those institutions. We can only hope that others follow suit: like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Durbin & any of the other overpaid liberals who keep trying to help Obama redistribute the wealth & turn us into Europe or a socialist country. It has nothing to do with the nation becoming Republican. It has everything to do with the United States becoming a nation that is strong, stable, and an example of what a great nation can be. I say GOOD RIDDANCE, Barney---Alleluia, Amen & it's long overdue. Now if we can just get others in the White House & Congress & Senate, who will actually try to be a government of the people, by the people & for the people.

5:01PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Both parties have their share of bad politicians, but I am sick of hearing those who blame CONSERVATIVES for stopping liberals from "fixing" the United States. Look across the ocean & see what people like Obama & Barney Frank have created. We don't want to be Greece, Europe, China, Communistic or Socialistic. If he can only hang his hat on the accomplishments for the Gay Lesbian Population in the United States, I call that self-serving & absolutely limited. What about all the other groups in this melting pot?

5:01PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

It would be a great accomplishment if Congress would take a 50% cut in pay, buy the same health insurance their constituents are expected to buy & when they are no longer an employee of the government, then they should have to “get a real job, open an IRA, get health insurance, & stop riding FREE on the backs of all the “regular Joes & Josies”. They should not be voting themselves pay raises & exempting themselves from their horrible laws & resolutions & amendments. They are not entitled to anything after they are no longer working for their employer, The People of The United States of America. The rest of us have to make arrangements to work until we can retire & I don’t know any other employer that pays you & offers you health insurance & pensions for your entire life after you no longer work for them. While we’re at it, let’s put term limits on Congress & stop the Supreme Court life-time appointments. Ginsburg & a few others need to go out the door with Barney.

11:50AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Thanks to Barney Frank for being a good Civil Servant--one of the few in Congress who actually did a good job!!! I hope he continues to speak out (loudly & clearly!!!).

11:37AM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Congress without Barney Frank? I'm SO unhappy about this news. You will be missed in many ways.

12:43AM PST on Dec 1, 2011

Ted V, you may be right. JoAnn Kloppenburg won the election for justice of the Supreme Court. Prosser, a long time supporter of Walker, miraculously FOUND thousands of votes in his favor TWO DAYS AFTER THE ELECTION. The 99% should OCCUPY THE DOJ and stay there until Eric Holder investigates all the republicanbaggers dirty tricks. A supporter of Walker bragged about Walker sending out his people to collect signatures to RECALL WALKER and then THROWING AWAY over 100,000 signatures! This must be investigated! These people are violating the Voting Rights Act, and should be thrown in jail for life. RECALL WALKER, or we will lose Wisconsin to tyranny.

7:58AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Sad to see Barney Frank go. We need MORE people like him not less.

6:56AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

I had hoped that Representative Frank would become the grand old man of Congress, but I can respect his decision.

6:50PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

I'd advocate for Barney Frank running for President, but at 71, I wouldn't feel right asking him to go through that. A true advocate for the people and not the corporations, and he will be greatly missed.

4:57PM PST on Nov 29, 2011

Since my previous comment, I learned Barney Frank did say something about the frustrations of getting anything accomplished in the current Congress. He said all the Republicans either think like Michelle Bachmann or they're worried about being primaried by someone who thinks like Michelle Bachmann, so there's no compromise.

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