I’m going to miss Barney Frank.
The Massachusetts Democrat just announced he would not seek reelection after serving in Congress for 31 years.
That’s a big loss.
Because Barney Frank was one smart, tough progressive.
He took no guff from anyone. He was combative, and very quick on his feet, with a wit that could knock an opponent flat.
After he came out as gay in 1987, the first member of Congress to do so, he kept getting reelected anyway, despite the bigoted snickers from Republicans.
He stood up for civil rights not just for gays but for women and African Americans and for all Americans.
He also was a civil libertarian, courageously voting against the FISA law that expanded domestic spying.
He was a proponent of medical marijuana--and an opponent of the death penalty.
He opposed the Iraq War from day one and called for an early end to the Afghan War.
He had a strong environmental record and helped to strengthen the Clean Water Act.
He voted against media concentration and for net neutrality.
And while he’s blamed for not imposing more oversight to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, he was the only person who stood up to Hank Paulson during the first bank bailout and asked why the people of this country weren’t getting assistance—just the banks.
Most of all, I’ll remember him for telling off a Tea Party person who came to his 2009 health-care town meeting and compared Obama to Adolph Hitler. Frank invoked his “ethnic heritage,” and said, “What planet do you spend most of your time on?”
We need more politicians who are fearless, fun progressives like Barney Frank.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Police Use Excessive Force against Occupy Movement."
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