November 28, 2011 in Socialist
Longtime Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., announced Monday he is not seeking re-election, saying that
redistricting has made it too strenuous to continue to campaign.
The 16-term lawmaker, whose name is emblazoned on the
banking reform law that passed Congress last year, had long been rumored to be
ready for retirement. He said Monday that he actually decided “tentatively” to
retire after passage of the law, serving out one more term, but when Republicans
won the 2010 midterm he decided he didn’t want to be a lame duck so didn’t
announce his plans until now.
Frank said he now wants to do some combination of writing, teaching and lecturing, but will not become a lobbyist.
One of the best parts of retiring is “I don’t have to pretend to be nice to people I don’t like,” he said, adding that he will continue to be an advocate of public policy, for instance, on gay rights issues and debating the Defense of Marriage Act against opponents like former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.
Feeling more unleashed than usual, Frank also said he found it striking that so many Republicans would consider Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, as their nominee since he flip-flops.
“He would be the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Barry Goldwater,” Frank said.
Frank was previously chairman of the House Financial Services Committee but is now ranking member since Democrats lost the majority in the 2010 midterm election. The Dodd-Frank law, a contentious set of provisions that Republicans say add layers of regulatory burdens without preventing potential future meltdowns, was made in response to the near collapse of the banking industry in 2008. Among other actions, it created a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to oversee access to banking products and required listing ratios of executive pay to median employee salaries.