Well, I’ll be bent over a sawhorse and buggered till I cry uncle.
Umm… don’t ask me why I react to this random act of journalism that way:
The morning after his retirement announcement, Rep. Barney Frank scored an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, gaining the opportunity to act as an elder statesman in front of a TV audience of millions. Instead, the Massachusetts Democrat chose to quarrel with the interviewer.
“You said that your district has been redrawn in a way that would make it more difficult for you to win reelection,” host Savannah Guthrie said.
“I didn’t say I wasn’t running because I was afraid I couldn’t win,” Frank retorted.
Guthrie asked for his response to those who take his retirement as a sign that the Democrats won’t win control of the House in 2012.
“I wish we could talk substance sometimes in the media,” Frank complained. “I know that’s against, kind of, apparently, the rules.” He went on to say that “I have decided not to serve until three months before my 75th birthday. I guess I don’t understand why that is so hard for people to grasp.”
The amiable Guthrie tried again. How does he feel about the worsening tone in Washington?
“Well, you exemplify what I think is a change in the tone,” Frank said. “You’ve managed to ask all sort of negative questions. .?.?. It’s ‘gotcha’ journalism. It’s ‘gotcha’ politics. And it does lessen our chances to get things done.”
The interviewer gave it a final attempt. Does Frank “feel any responsibility for your own role in, kind of, that tone that we do see in Washington?”
“Well, congratulations,” Frank said with derision. “You’re four-for-four in managing to find the negative approach.”
It was a chance for the nation to see what so many in the Capitol had seen up close over the years: That Barney Frank, liberal lion, gay pioneer and respected legislator, is also one mean and ornery S.O.B.
Cut him some slack you say? That’s just one interview?
No question, Frank is one of the smartest on Capitol Hill and probably the most colorful. But he is also one of the most notorious bullies, known for berating staff, alienating allies and causing aides to cower in fear of his gratuitous and frequent browbeatings.
The stories are legendary: making a young network employee cry when he scolded her for trying to un-rumple him before a TV appearance; demanding that an aide “answer the [expletive] question” before giving him a chance to respond; asking a woman escorting him to a Chicago meeting, “Why do you care what kind of flight I had?”
The invective poured forth with great fluency. He asked critics: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” When the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim asked a question Frank didn’t like, he replied, “What is this, some kind of idiotic contest?”
If Barney’s colleagues in the Massachusetts Democratic caucus indeed did you-know-what him up the you-know-what, it’s probably because they thought the fat [bleep] deserved it. Local scribe and radio host, Howie Carr, reported he had heard that John Olver, whose “retirement” from the House (coerced suicide is closer to the truth) solved the problem of Massachusetts losing a seat in the House, was livid that Barney had decided to bow out. If Barney had let his intentions be known earlier, Olver might still have a district to run in.
What an entitled, selfish little prick. (That’s être, not avoir.)