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Sunday column ping

How ‘brainy’ Frank got Barney-mandered
Redistricting diss took pompous rep by surprise
By Howie Carr | Sunday, December 4, 2011 | | Columnists
Photo by Kelvin Ma

Barney Frank has always been the smartest guy in the room — just ask him.

As for Eddie Markey, well, let’s just say that he isn’t — even if the room is a broom closet and the only other thing in it is a mop.

So here’s the irony: Barney Frank, so arrogant, so full of himself, so intoxicated by decades of fawning media coverage, just assumed that he would be taken care of in redistricting by the peons in the Legislature.

Meanwhile, Fast Eddie was sucking up to these same below-average solons. Markey may not be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but he was smart enough to remember Tip O’Neill’s old adage about how you have to ask for every vote.

Maybe Barney went to sleep for another reason. Back in 1976, Eddie and Barney were both state reps and Markey was running for Congress in a multi-candidate field. He had one advantage: Then-House Speaker Tommy McGee had gotten angry at him and thrown him out of his office. Markey’s desk was out in a dark State House hallway.

A perfect visual for a TV spot, but somebody had to come up with some catchy copy. And it was Barney who helped out his friend: “They can tell Ed Markey where to sit, but they can’t tell him where to stand.”

Perhaps Barney thought Eddie still owed him for that one, 35 years later. But in redistricting, it’s every man for himself.

Barney got caught flat-flooted. He didn’t wake up until the sky was dark with chickens coming to roost. To quote Oscar Wilde: It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

“They didn’t do me any favors,” Barney said. But why would they?

He hadn’t cultivated any of the newer reps; he probably still only knew a handful. The other congressman who got his way at Barney’s expense was Steve Lynch of South Boston and there’s another ironic twist for you.

For years Southie’s Senate President Billy Bulger unsuccessfully tried to wreck Barney’s career, in both legislative and congressional redistricting. But now, all these years later, Steve Lynch, the guy who ended the Bulger dynasty in Southie, now takes care of his old foe’s final unfinished piece of business.

At the end, Barney realized he was in a jam and begged for all of Fall River. But that would have required some shifts on the Irish Riviera. Lynch, backed by his own surrogate, Rep. Mike Moran of Brighton, refused to give up any of the South Shore. He had fashioned the perfect district for himself, shorn of minorities and heretics (Needham) and what did he owe Barney?

Barney’s never been one to suffer fools gladly. Again, just ask him. But that can be a real problem if you’re trying to get something out of the fool-heavy Mass. Legislature. Barney, though, figured he was holding two aces: Sen. Stan Rosenberg, the gay Senate chairman of redistricting, and The Boston Globe, so simpatico in ever so many ways.

Problem was, Rosenberg was sick and the Globe is a mere shadow of its former self, unable to take out anybody except the occasional sitting duck like Tim Murray.

Barney’s last-minute decision reportedly infuriated another member of the delegation — Rep. John Olver. He was basically pushed to the curb, then three weeks later Barney changed his mind and decided not to run. Olver wanted another term and now he won’t get it.

Olver’s office didn’t return calls, but he was probably finished no matter what Barney did. His district already extended east to suburban Lowell and he wasn’t getting any more of Niki Tsongas’ territory. Niki had Senate President Terry Murray protecting her back. They are women, hear them roar.

And now we’re left with perhaps one of the Kennedy twins. Here’s how you can tell Joe apart from the other one — he has red hair, and he’s not the one his father set on fire with a botched fireworks display a few years back on the Cape.

Meet the new boss ...
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2 posted on 12/03/2011 9:28:32 PM PST by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

I will admit Howie has mentioned that Barney did get off a couple nice jokes at one time:
“Depress the Central Artery? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just raise the city?”

“If they want to depress the Central Artery they should just have Mike Dukakis talk to it.”

3 posted on 12/03/2011 9:32:15 PM PST by raccoonradio
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To: raccoonradio

Hmm...if Frank was “in trouble,” I don’t see how getting all of Fall River would save him. Also there are many changes to the map that could have been made if that was the case, not necessarily involving the Irish Riviera.

More later.

5 posted on 12/04/2011 6:14:54 AM PST by scrabblehack
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