Skip to comments.Get Barney (Bawney Fwank tries to stay cool, even when his boyfriend loses it)
Posted on 10/26/2010 7:07:49 AM PDT by WebFocus
Is Barney Frank worried?
Not to be condescending, but let me give you a little tip, he tells National Review Online outside a convention hall on Massachusetts south coast. Never ask a candidate if hes confident hes going to win: because the answer will always be yes.
Indeed, Frank is still the clear favorite in Massachusettss 4th congressional district. But even as he speaks, it has come out that hes lent his campaign two hundred grand from his own pocket, and reporters are nagging him about a bizarre and for a 30-year incumbent, wildly undisciplined incident in which his boyfriend, Jim Ready, was caught on camera going paparazzo on Republican challenger Sean Bielat snapping photos and hurling insults.
And although he wont say it in so many words, Franks campaign has a look and feel of if not desperation, than at least discomfort. Frank says that his internals have him up between 19 and 20 points but admits that the race has become nationalized, and hes had to campaign harder than in previous years. Hes even running TV spots something he last did in his 2004 semi-official campaign to succeed John Kerry had the latter become president in the effort to fend off the pesky Beilat, a 35-year-old Marine veteran whose list of almae matres reads like the top college rankings from U.S. News and World Report.
And the tone at a Frank campaign rally in Newton later that night can be described as somewhere between manic and panic.
I know, we think Barneys tough and can handle himself, but sometimes he needs our help, Massachusetts state legislator Peter Koutoujian tells a crowd of about a hundred gathered on the second floor of Union Pub & Grille in Newton Centre.
Newton is a town deep inside Fortress Frank, boasting solar-powered trash compactors on the sidewalks and a near six-to-one Democrat-to-Republican ratio. And yet before this friendly crowd, one plied with quesadillas and crudités and cheering loudly, Frank and a stream of local Democratic pols are full of foreboding.
I think this is the most important off-year election that weve ever had, Frank warns, saying that the right wing is poised to take over the country. Newtons mayor says it is absolutely critical to return Barney to the Congress at this time in our nations history. Several speakers hammer how crucial it will be to turn out 2008 Democratic voters who may be feeling dejected.
And Koutoujian even calls Bielat a formidable Republican opponent, and probably the best Frank has ever faced.
Frank blames the inordinate attention on his district a longitudinal, gerrymandered corridor stretches from Massachusetts south coast to the university towns west of Boston to a now familiar source: the flood of anonymous right-wing money coming into the race from outside groups.
Once I became chairman of the committee, I became kind of the focus of a lot of the conservative attack, Frank says, from Sean Hannity to Rush Limbaugh.
The guy running against me has made it clear that hes not getting support because of him . . . but because people are angry with me. The Tea Party people dont like me, because, frankly, I wouldnt be intimidated.
Frank wont talk to reporters about his boyfriends heckling, calling it not very important and questioning why the media is focusing on the etiquette of something as trivial as an argument between two adults when his constituents are worried about economics.
Nor will Bielat use the incident to score easy points, telling NRO only that it surprised him that the video of the incident reached such a large audience.
It was a brief interchange, he says. What I hope voters are listening to is my message.
And what is that message? For the most part, Bielat seems to be hewing to the Scott Brown model. He calls himself pragmatic rather than conservative, and defends the tea-partiers but wont label himself a Tea Party candidate. And though he supports traditional marriage and is about as pro-life as you can get away with in the commonwealth, he steers clear of social issues, focusing on government spending and the economy, and tapping into the sense among many here that the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda and Obamacare in particular are net losers for a state that already has an extensive social safety net. Its a strategy that worked for Brown, who, keep in mind, fell barely short of carrying Franks district.
By contrast, Franks message is one of unapologetic liberalism. At that convention center on the south coast, Frank arrives to address a breakfast meeting of local chambers of commerce. He shuffles in, one cufflink undone, and makes his way through a speech on his local and national economic record with his trademark squint-and-mumble, before a crowd that is surprisingly friendly or at least not hostile considering the Democrats open war on their mother organization. (Frank later tells NRO that, unlike the case of the reform-hating multinationals that compose the U.S. Chamber, his relationship with the local branches in his district has always been cordial.)
Deadpan, Frank tells the crowd that Obama downplayed the extent of the economic crisis he inherited out of a desire to be conciliatory toward Republicans. He downplays the role the GSE policies he engineered played in the financial crisis, even as he admits that he never foresaw Fannie and Freddies impending doom. He volunteers that he has been a consistent opponent of free-trade agreements and advocates getting much tougher with China. He touches on his desire to cut defense spending by as much as $100 billion a year, saying that Americas military presence around the world does more harm than good and that the era of the U.S. being military protector of the entire world . . . is over. He touts the dubious Cash for Clunkers and first-time homebuyer subsidy programs he supported as tax cuts, and tells them he believes more short-term stimulus is necessary.
And perhaps most remarkable in a political season that is as hostile to pork as any in recent memory, Frank tells these businessmen he is proud of his earmarks rattling off a series of local bridges and interchanges he secured congressional funding for and highlighting the more than half a million dollars he lined up for cranberry research.
Only on taxes does he take what might be construed as a nominally pro-market slant, guaranteeing that an onerous 1099 expensing requirement in Obamacare will be repealed in the lame-duck session though leaving open the question of how you offset it and suggesting that he would support an accommodation on capital-gains rates set to spike at the end of the year.
If Frank is showing voters the goody-bag of federal spending hes delivered to his district, Bielat is showing them the bill. At a candidates forum at the Newtonville Senior Center, Frank drops in to attack Bielat for proposing to raise the retirement age for Social Security then promptly excuses himself, hovering in the back of the room for a few minutes, Styrofoam cup of coffee in hand, to listen to Bielats even, measured reply. Forget his years in the Marine Corps, uncommon valor is Bielat telling a room full of Massachusetts seniors that the only solution to inevitable Social Security insolvency is a combination of privatization, means-testing, and a higher retirement age.
The Rochester, N.Y., native, who now lives in Brookline with his wife and son, is clearly comfortable talking straight with voters. This is a state that valorizes elected officials more than others, whether its the group of working joes lauding the fact that Bah-neys a 30-year veteran! as they pose for shots with Frank outside the Union Bar & Grille or the one hostile senior in Newtonville who declares Bielat cant know what hes talking about on Social Security because hes never worked for the government (the U.S.M.C., it seems, doesnt count). And yet, for the most part, they seem receptive to Bielats outsider message, frequently applauding his answers to their questions.
When NRO asks if he ever thought the race would be this competitive, Bielat answers without hesitation: Yes I did, or else I wouldnt have done it.
He disputes the methodology of Franks polling. His own internals have the race much closer, inside 10, and he expects more good news from third-party polling before the election. When NRO asks him about Franks decision to pony up $200K to his own campaign, Bielat smiles and admits it made my day.
Its a strong indicator of what we already knew. Clearly hes seeing the same things we are, he says.
Frank counters that, independent of the reality, the perception that the race is competitive puts him in a catch-22. I get people saying to me, If you dont campaign, youre arrogant, and if you do campaign, youre desperate. He shrugs. So its kind of like asking who do you like better, your mother or your father. Theres no right answer.
But Bielat is convinced that hes in it. He says his focus in the last ten days of the race will be the same thing weve been doing since February: volunteers, volunteers, volunteers. Making phone calls. Weve done 200,000 person-to-person phone calls. Were identifying our voters and turning them out.
We really feel good about our momentum and the direction were heading.
Daniel Foster is news editor of National Review Online.
The REAl question is “Why aren’t you in JAIL?”
Oh crap....How is Barney going to support his ..............
Yeah, heard that before, "Just the tip, I swear".
Frank is such a whore - he'd sell his mother if it got him his dream boyfriend. I have to say this - next Tuesday, Barney Frank is going down!
.....and maybe for the last time....
barneys theme song by Little Anthony & The Imperials?
Just two kinds of people in the world they are a boy & boy(girl)
I find it really odd that in such a high-profile "nationalized" campaign like this, that there are apparently no credible external polls being done in this race. All we have to go on is Barney's "internal" polls and a lame Globe poll that has Frank up by 13 (but qualified the poll by saying "enthusiasm is breaking GOP's way"). Where are the major pollsters in this race?
Anyway, Sean Bielat is definitely running a strong and admirable campaign and I think it is much closer than the local media is telling us. Why else would Barney loan his campaign $200K out of his retirement funds?
No matter how massive the GOP victory is next Tuesday on a national basis, I'll be bummed out if the coattails of that victory don't penetrate into Massachusetts and knock some of these embarrassments out of public office. I can't fathom anybody, even a liberal, wanting to vote for Barney Frank. He's a pervert and a very nasty, unlikeable despicable man. And yes, like some have posted earlier, he belongs in jail.
I really find it hard to fathom how he could be up 19 points in these days of anti-government sentiment. Even in Mass.
That seems a tad bit optimistic.
If Bielat’s internals say within 10, and Barney is self-financing, this thing could be winnable. Does anyone know if Barney is under 50%?
I can’t wait to see this little faggot out of the Congress and in jail where he belongs.
RE: Does anyone know if Barney is under 50%?
Yesterday’s Boston Globe Poll had Bawney at just 46%.
Very good news. Thank you!
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