Open Thread: Barney Frank Should Live A Thousand Years

[For the record: I had this in draft *before* BettyC’s last post.]

In the New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner — who is usually smarter than this — get his lunch handed to him: “Barney Frank Defends Nancy Pelosi from Her Critics“:

To discuss the state of the Democratic Party, and Pelosi’s leadership, I spoke by phone on Monday with Barney Frank, the former congressman, who represented his district in Massachusetts for more than three decades in the House before retiring, in 2013. He is best known for his outspokenness and his role in crafting the eponymous Dodd-Frank Act, which sought to regulate the financial industry after the crash last decade. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed why he thinks the criticism of Pelosi is unfair, whether there is a divide in the Democratic Party, and his belief that this dispute is not really a generational one.

What have you made of the internal split between Pelosi and some of her members?

I’m disappointed by it. I think the first thing to say is that it is not nearly as big a split as people think. They are a fraction, a splinter. The overwhelming majority of the Democrats agree with [Pelosi]. Frankly, I think there is a conspiracy among Ocasio-Cortez, the media, and the Republican Party to make her look much more influential than she is. Every time I debate a Republican, they want to talk about them. And I think, in fact, that there is not such a big splinter. There have always been, on the Democratic side—Howard Dean, etc.—people who are very passionate and are frustrated because reality isn’t as pliable as they wish. They are people who I think make the fundamental mistake—I often agree with them on substance—but they make the fundamental mistake of thinking the general public is much more in agreement with them than it is, and forget about or just reject the notion of trying to figure out how to get things done.

I agree with you that Ocasio-Cortez represents a minority of the Party, even though I think she is probably fairly similar on politics to [Bernie] Sanders and [Elizabeth] Warren, who I think combined make up a somewhat—

No, here’s the fundamental difference. I said I agree with a lot of them on substance. The issue is not substance. I have worked very closely with Elizabeth Warren. The fundamental difference is that these people—certainly Ocasio-Cortez—they appear to think that the majority is ready to adopt what they want, and it’s a strategic and tactical difference.

Elizabeth Warren would never have had a sit-in protesting Nancy Pelosi. It’s a matter of how you go about things. It is their view that the only reason that their platform isn’t being adopted is the political timidity, maybe the malign influence of money. The notion that there is significant political opposition among many people, including maybe a majority on some issues, they disregard that and denounce other Democrats, saying they don’t have the courage. It’s not the courage. We don’t have the votes sometimes. Sanders did that a little bit more. Elizabeth never does that…

I understand not wanting to do impeachment, even if you think the President deserves to be impeached. I understand—

By the way, two-thirds of the House Democrats agree with [Pelosi].

Yes. Let me just finish. I think she has seemed bored and uninterested in public about the idea of investigating Trump, and given off a vibe that she is just not even, forget impeachment, just—

Nonsense. Nonsense. It’s nonsense on stilts, as Jeremy Bentham said. The fact is that you have the Democratic House committees working very hard at it. She said he ought to go to prison. She is working very hard on the substance and has done a great job of getting things through, but she has also [been] working closely with the committees, Elijah Cummings and others. Part of the problem is what the TV chooses to run. They like controversy. So she is more often quoted when she is disagreeing on impeachment than when she is making her own critiques.

O.K., well—

If you monitor her statements closely, I find her—she has been very critical of Trump and she has got the Democrats doing oversight…

Let me just ask you a broader—

What do you think she should have done? I know it’s nice to always just be critical of what other people do, but what do you think she should have done?

I am not sure on the substance, but—

Of course not. Because it is hard and it gets criticized. Whatever.

I was talking about the way she has been acting publicly, but I see your point. But let me—

She said he should go to prison. She has made a lot of other very negative statements. You are just cherry-picking to make a point…

… You greatly exaggerate Ocasio-Cortez’s—there’s four of them. There aren’t very many, including many of the younger people. By the way, the Democrats that Pelosi is most concerned about are younger ones. She is working very hard with the thirty- and forty-year-olds who won the marginal seats. The difference is not age. It is your perception of the electorate’s position. If you believe the electorate is raring to go with all this left agenda—as I said, much of which I agree with, the difference I have with them is more strategic—then you take some of their positions. If you believe that it is a much harder sell, then you have a different approach. . . . But if you look at the freshmen, by definition the younger ones, overwhelmingly, they are on Pelosi’s side. But they won Republican or marginal seats…

When you watch the [Democratic Presidential-primary] debates, do you not think there are ways that the Party is moving left in substantive ways?

Can I tell you for the third time that I agree with much of them on substance? I’m sorry, that’s frustrating to me. I agree with them on much of the substance. I said that several times! The Party is moving to the left and I think that it should move to the left. I just talked about some of these areas. But the point I am making is that the difference is not substantive so much as it is strategic and tactical. So I don’t know why you would ask me that. By the way, I also take exception to you saying that I think they are in the minority. They are overwhelmingly, statistically, clearly in a minority in the House.

For the record, I will state that they are in a minority in the House.

Read the whole thing — it’s not that long…

82 replies
  1. 1
    Jay says:

    1) Something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. A campaign to honor a hero.@jack and @Twitter, give this man a blue checkmark!@BenFerencz is an American hero. A legend.He is the last living Nuremberg prosecutor. Show him the respect he deserves.— McKay Smith (@McKayMSmith) July 14, 2019

    Amazing thread about an amazing life, important in the Time of Trumph.

  2. 2
    Leto says:

    @Jay: 60 Minutes had a piece on him a few weeks ago (not a regular watcher, but saw that he was being profiled). Amazing guy.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    I love Barney.

  4. 4
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    A little tough love from cranky Uncle Barney. I predict it will go unheeded.

  5. 5
    Barbara says:

    Chotiner should be grateful he got through the interview without being compared to a table.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: McKay’s good people.

  7. 7
    Quinerly says:

    Too funny. Twitter feed of Don Jr’s girlfriend announcing the release of his new book.
    “Congratulations to
    on his forthcoming book #TRIGGERED! I’ve seen him working on this project for months, you won’t want to miss it! Must read!”
    One of my favorite responses: “Must’ve been really hard to see that from under his desk”

  8. 8
    chris says:


    Pastor E.W. Lucas put up the sign "America: Love it or leave it" at Friendship Baptist Church in AppomattoxThe congregation at the church walked out of the service yesterday in protest.— Stone 🥶 (@stonecold2050) 22 July 2019

  9. 9
    lamh36 says:

    Dude thought he’d call up ole Barney Frank and what exactly?

    Whatever he thought he was gonna do, what actually happened was he got his azz handed to him by Barney Frank!.

  10. 10
    Scotian says:

    Adam Silverman:

    trying to reply, not sure it is working. If not tell John Cole to give you my number for texting since I know that is working. Hearing from you is most welcome. Thank you for asking and reminding me of the support the community has for me. It is already helping me regain some sense of balance, something I’ve badly needed.

    David Macdonald

  11. 11
    RinaX says:

    Barney Frank nailed it.

  12. 12
    Wapiti says:

    @chris: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me, they once believed.

    Now Pastor Lucas worships Mr. Seven Deadly Sins.

  13. 13

    That is one pissed-off pragmatist…

  14. 14
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Scotian: I was just about to reply and ask if there was supposed to be an email within that email.

    I’ll get with Cole tomorrow. If I text him at this hour, he’ll just think I’m trying to rag on his brisket technique again.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @chris: @Wapiti:

  16. 16
    opiejeanne says:

    @Quinerly: LOL! You so mean!

  17. 17
    Kattails says:

    @Scotian: Thinking of you every day. Your thoughts earlier today about Hillary were very meaningful to me, thank you so much. I didn’t have time to reply then.

  18. 18
    different-church-lady says:

    I apparently have used forbidden words. Would some kind soul please put on the rubber gloves and retrive my comment from the trap?

  19. 19
    Scotian says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    No problemo…lol. thanks. I didn’t want to leave you hanging.

  20. 20
    Mary G says:

    1,000 Miami-Dade students wrote letters to migrant children at the for-profit Homestead Detention Center. Officials there refuse to accept them. So @DeFede made a short film with some of the kids reading their letters. Watch full video here:— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 23, 2019

    The cruelty is the point.

  21. 21
    Quinerly says:

    @opiejeanne: thread is pretty hilarious. I ain’t mean… I’m “Uncivilized.” 😈

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: No, the cruelty is the means. The fear is the point (ends/objective).

  23. 23
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    How about back tax?
    For say the last 236 yrs?
    Time payments are OK, one year, 12 payments made on the first of every month, based upon the value of the property, the building, and the pastors house. 20% sound about right?

  24. 24
    Brachiator says:

    I love Barney Frank, but some of this is simple.

    … You greatly exaggerate Ocasio-Cortez’s—there’s four of them. There aren’t very many, including many of the younger people. By the way, the Democrats that Pelosi is most concerned about are younger ones.

    It’s not about policy or whether the Squad is too far to the left. Fox News and the right wing propaganda machine thought that they could mock, intimidate and frighten AOC, the way that male assholes try to intimidate women in social media and in real life. They also thought that they could naturally stalk her because they are white dudes and she is a woman of color. They had no idea that she could fight back and own their asses.

    They didn’t learn their lesson. On top of this, Trump fears and hates women of color, and is especially enraged by women of color who defy him. He finds this simply unacceptable. And so they must be made to submit. I also think that Trump is psychologically damaged and gets a special thrill having white Republican women attack AOC and company.

    Then comes the politics. For some reason, I’m not sure that the Democratic Party leadership really see the raw sexism and race hatred at play here, or they want to try to downplay it.

    Trump can’t let this go. And the GOP leadership don’t care if they alienate every black and brown voter in America. They have moved from “America, love it or leave it,” to “Trump, obey him or else.”

  25. 25
    opiejeanne says:

    @Quinerly: Yes, I know. I’m pretty uncivilized too.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ruckus: Works for me.

  27. 27
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’m all for Lawrence O’Donnell’s apparent new drive to promote Senate candidates, but he keeps citing Max Baucus as evidence that Democrats can win in Montana. Does the would-be 101st Senator not know who Jon Tester is? Or that Montana has had two two-term Democratic governors very recently?

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Just be glad we were able to defend Pearl Harbor against the Germans.//

  29. 29
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Quinerly: That’s terrible(ly funny)!

  30. 30
    opiejeanne says:

    @Quinerly: I looked at the thread and it has grown quite a bit since I first saw it. Pretty funny, although a troll and Nazi had a little conversation.

  31. 31
    Kent says:

    My Favorite Barney Frank of all time. Schooling new GOP turds on House Rules

  32. 32
    Fair Economist says:


  33. 33
    spudgun says:

    @Jay: I agree – I just watched a Netflix show about him last week, “Prosecuting Evil.” Ben Ferencz is a gd national treasure.

  34. 34
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Edward Luce @ EdwardGLuce
    Worth elaborating on the level of incompetence Trump showed today on Kashmir. Those unfamiliar with Indo-Pak situation may not realise that his offer to mediate on Kashmir dispute ranks among the most consequential mistakes he has made. But that’s the least of it (1).

    and that’s sayin’ something

    Lucas Tomlinson @ LucasFoxNews
    Pakistani PM Imran Khan claims his country’s intelligence service (ISI) gave CIA “the information” to track down Osama bin Laden “through the phone connection,” in interview with @BretBaier

    Thomas Joscelyn Retweeted Lucas Tomlinson
    This isn’t true. The US intelligence community tracked Osama bin Laden to his safehouse in Abbottabad and President Obama ordered a secret raid because no one trusted the Pakistanis.

    and Kahn joins the list of problematic foreign leaders who know how easy it is to manipulate Donald trump, right down to going on trumpTV to plant the seeds of the next trumpian lie

  35. 35
    Jay says:

    Ricky Martin on a truck waving a pride flag during a general strike puts all your woke queer celebrities to shame.— ft (@ft_variations) July 22, 2019

  36. 36
    burnspbesq says:

    Damn. RIP, Mark Kleiman.

  37. 37

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Just be glad we were able to defend Pearl Harbor against the Germans.

    And we were quite good at it, the Germans never attacked Pearl Harbor.

  38. 38


    a troll and Nazi had a little conversation

    Don Jr. and his gf?

  39. 39
    opiejeanne says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: LOL! I think the troll probably has a Russian accent, and the Nazi (who may also be in St Petersburg) identified herself with those red X marks.

  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: forget it, he’s rolling

  41. 41
    Kent says:

    @Jay: We are all a long ways away, but what’s happening in Puerto Rico right now has the same feel like when some of the east European communist states started to fall one by one in the 90s. I have the feeling that the Puerto Rico that comes out the other end of this will be completely different.

  42. 42
    Another Scott says:

    Thanks for this, A.L. It made my evening, and maybe my month. :-)


  43. 43
    Jay says:

    The ACLU of Virginia is representing me in Tayloe v. C-Ville Holdings, a case in which I am being sued for defamation. The plaintiff, Edward Dickinson Tayloe II, is also a plaintiff with the Monument Fund, a group suing the Charlottesville City Council for voting in 2017 to remove two of the city’s downtown Confederate monuments. Plaintiff Tayloe has filed suit against me, reporter Lisa Provence, and the C-Ville Weekly newspaper for the contents of a March 6 article which detailed the plaintiff’s family history of slave ownership and domestic slave trading.

    Tayloe’s lawsuit against me not only fails to meet the legal requirements for a defamation case, it is also a disdainful attempt to stifle speech and prevent me from speaking out about matters of public concern. These types of claims, known as strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP suits, are designed to silence, censor and intimidate critics with the threat of costly litigation.

  44. 44
    plato says:

    totus thug: Fuck courts.

    The US government is introducing a new fast-track deportation process that will bypass immigration courts.

    Under the new rules, any undocumented migrants who can’t prove they’ve been in the US continuously for more than two years can be immediately deported.

    The policy is expected to be published on Tuesday, and then implemented across the country with immediate effect.

    However the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) rights group has said it plans to challenge the policy in court.

    It comes as US immigration policy comes under increasing scrutiny – in particular, the conditions at the country’s detention centres on the southern border with Mexico.

    Fuck mueller, the incompetent.

  45. 45
    jl says:

    Frank can be so arrogant and cranky at times, it seems like he’s already lived 1000 years.

    I disagree with a lot of what he says. Frank fancies himself an expert on to what extent popular opinion can be shaped by persuasive argument and seems just as fixed and stubborn on what the public ‘really wants’ as the Bernie crowd, except Frank seems fine with centrist compromises.

    But he makes some good points. Frank actually indicates he agrees with a lot of progressive policy proposals, but for some reason is very pessimistic and fearful of trying to achieve them. IMHO.

    Edit: one thing I do like about Frank is how he directly confronts the media BS, and tells them to shove it, and why. There are some good points to acting like an arrogant 1000 year old crank. One thing every Democratic politician should learn is how to tell the media to go to hell like Frank does. AOC can give a social media clinic, and next door, Frank should give a telling the media to go to hell clinic.

  46. 46
    Harbison says:

    How does the odious homophobe Joy Reid still have a job?

  47. 47
    Jay says:

    ICYWW yes three percenters and buddies are very agressive. Here they are getting in the face and yelling at counter protesters while fully armed at NWDC on Saturday. Proud Boys where also there. Reportedly some Tacoma Police where very chummy with them.— Alycia Ramirez (@AlyciaRamirez3) July 22, 2019

  48. 48
    Burnspbesq says:


    Fuck mueller, the incompetent.

    You’ve said more than your fair share of stupid shit on this blog, but that’s the all-time stupidest.

  49. 49
    plato says:

    @Burnspbesq: LOL. Sez the CU is the right decision moronic rw asskissing asshole.

  50. 50
    Jay says:

    Customs and Border Patrol has managed to cover 2% of the border with an expensive barrier easily defeated by a ladder purchaseable at Home Depot.— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) July 22, 2019

  51. 51
    Martin says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: There’s a new trump tv. I mean, they’re on the Russian payroll.

    “This completes the merger between Russian state-sponsored propaganda and American conservative media,” said former FBI agent Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. “We used to think of it as ‘They just have the same views’ or ‘They use the same story leads.’ But now they have the same personnel.”

  52. 52
  53. 53
    Martin says:

    Yeah, I take issue a bit with Franks statement. AOC is beneficial because voters need to see the range of the party. There are a lot of people disappointed with the party that wishes it was more like AOCs agenda and they don’t really work for the party because they don’t see that there’s anyone there fighting for the things they care about. AOC expands that space, and that’s good. Does it make for a good Fox News target? Sure, but that doesn’t seem to be working in their favor. Trump calling them racists and Graham calling them communists is pretty off-putting to anyone under 70 or so.

  54. 54
    JustRuss says:

    Schiff made some good points, but damn, bring some fire dude! It’s OK to show some anger over Trump’s “Send them back!” BS.

  55. 55
    Jay says:


    trolling, trolling, trolling
    Keep them doggies rolling

  56. 56
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @JustRuss: I think some of these lawyer-types are incapable of getting excited during a speech. Maddow has on a few US Attorneys, and they’re pretty unflappable (though Joyce Alene Vance has a …. biting wit), but of them, Chuck Rosenberg has gotta be the -most- unflappable. He seems just about as unflappable as anybody I could imagine. So Schiff isn’t alone in his ….. lack of visible passion.

  57. 57
    scojo says:

    With respect to Frank’s comments, and Pelosi: Trump has broken the law, repeatedly and egregiously. So maybe it’s about Rule of Law, and precedent when the powerful people break the law.

    If the standard is that we need majority voter support before we start any impeachment inquiry, then we might as well give up on the Constitution.

    Pelosi and Schumer are letting him get away with it. They need to do their jobs, and start the impeachment inquiry.

  58. 58
    Jay says:


    Yellow Vests Canada Exposed, Carol Orr and Anti-Racist Canada caught that a couple days ago, the OONA, RT and Rebel Media are now joined at the hip.

  59. 59
    Jay says:

    Gotta file a habeas petition to spring a citizen who’s been detained for almost a month, looks like. Showing CBP and ICE bureaucrats a US birth certificate doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) July 23, 2019

  60. 60
    Jay says:

    Reuters higher-ups are discouraging staff from describing Trump's racist comments as racist, per @ErikWemple. Instead, the publication is going with "widely criticized as racist."— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) July 22, 2019

  61. 61
    dww44 says:

    @Chetan Murthy: LO!. I so agree with your oh so accurate pegging of the lawyer pundits we see on MSNBC. “Lack of visible passion” is so apt. Schiff could use a tad more.

  62. 62

    @Mary G:

    The cruelty is the point.

    @Adam L Silverman:

    No, the cruelty is the means. The fear is the point (ends/objective).

    Porque los dos?

    Yes cruelty is the means, and fear is the point, in terrorizing a population. But that’s not mutually exclusive of a second goal of also enjoying cruelty for cruelty’s sake.

  63. 63
    dww44 says:

    @scojo: Thank you for this. I am so sick of hearing the political rationales for not doing the right thing. I so hope that Nadler has a viable plan to do the right thing.

  64. 64
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @dww44: Oh, idunno. Maybe for the other shows. but Dr. Maddow makes up for it with her verve and enthusiasm, and esp. her sometimes-too-visible-in-her-demeanour stark terror. I think it’s a nice combination, myself.

    Gotta say though, I -am- happy whenever hear Joyce Alene Vance: she takes no shit offa nobody, and it’s a blessing.

  65. 65
    MomSense says:

    I had a really stupid mishap at work today and now I’m hobbling around hoping I didn’t seriously injure my knee.

    Fingers crossed it feels better in the morning.

  66. 66
    Jay says:

    The president of the United States would like you to know that he has given thought to committing the worst genocide in human history, but decided to go in a different direction.— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) July 22, 2019

  67. 67
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Chetan Murthy: I felt I should add that there’s something very reassuring about all the USAs on the Maddow show: they radiate calm and certainty. And in this timeline that’s kinda useful. There are others, like Jill Wine-Banks, Nick Ackerman (? did I get the name right?), a woman from SDNY who’s on a lot (forget her name) who are less …. cryptic about their personal assessments, so it’s not like there aren’t lawyers who tell it like they see it.

    But those USAs (EDVA, Alabama (I think?), Michigan), they’re really reassuring.

  68. 68
  69. 69

    “Here’s Warren in 2009, being ridiculed on Planet Money for saying underwater mortgages and foreclosure wave was a serious macroeconomic crisis; Not just a matter of bailing out Wall Street. She was absolutely right, as “deleveraging” was shown to be a serious recession driver.” – Roosevelt Institute Fellow Michael Konczal, quote at

    She may be right again.

  70. 70
    MomSense says:


    It feels really stiff and achey so I haven’t wanted to ice it.

  71. 71
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @MomSense: I think Jay’s advice could be valuable:

  72. 72
    JoeyJoeJoe says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Historical, and admittedly irrelevant trivia: since 1900, only one Republican Senator has been re-elected in Montana history (Conrad Burns).

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:


    Ice it to bring down the swelling. Then you’ll have a better idea of what you did to it.

  74. 74
    Emerald says:


    They need to do their jobs, and start the impeachment inquiry.

    They started it months ago. They’ve got six committees working on it. Right now we’re waiting for the court cases, which so far we’re winning, because the very good lawyers in the Dem caucus know how to do it (hint: it takes a bit of time).

    Now, we could just start over and formally call them impeachment hearings—a thing that the majority of the public does not want (yet)—but why waste all the work and time that’s already passed? If anybody thinks tRump and Barr are going to roll over and say, “oh, well, impeachment hearings—of course we’ll honor those subpoenas!” is living in cloud cuckoo land.

    The thing is in process.


  75. 75
    prostratedragon says:


    The story of a man who was turned into a horse — or part of one.

  76. 76
    Just One More Canuck says:


    I’ve seen him working on this project for months,

    He went through a whole box of crayons

  77. 77
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @PlayD’Oh: Really. WTF was Mueller spozeta do, walk into the WH & drag Twitler out by the scruff of his neck?

    You display your utter stupidity every time you post.

  78. 78
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    Apparently I am in (im)moderation for calling out PlayD’Oh as an imbecile. Truth hurts, I guess.

  79. 79
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Harbison: Why has the nasty cretin “Harbison” not been banhammered to the 14th polyp of Trumpolini’s anus? Youth wants to know (& old age is a mite curious as well).

  80. 80
    J R in WV says:

    @scojo :

    Pelosi and Schumer are letting him get away with it. They need to do their jobs, and start the impeachment inquiry.

    You are a dammed fool. The impeachment inquiries began months ago, and most of them have subpoenas in court already. Bone ignorant of how things work!!

  81. 81
    Freemark says:

    @J R in WV: Actually no impeachment inquiry has been started yet. Before you call someone ‘bone ignorant’ maybe you shouldn’t be “bone ignorant of how things work”

    How helpful an impeachment inquiry would be may be debatable. Whether one has started yet isn’t. Stop being a bone ignorant damn fool.

    Maybe this will help you be less bone ignorant. Lawfare

  82. 82

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