Home National Politics Progressive Champ Barney Frank Retiring from Congress

Progressive Champ Barney Frank Retiring from Congress

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced today he won’t seek another term, pledging not to become a lobbyist like so many of his former colleagues. Rep. Frank was The Green Miles’ member of Congress for several years & once came to speak to my high school government class. I’ve always admired his unapologetic progressivism, exemplified by this quote from a 2008 profile of Rep. Frank in The New Republic: “When [Barack Obama] said we shouldn’t fight the fights of the ’90s, I said, ‘Well, what about abortion? Gay rights? Which one do you want me to give up?'”

But Rep. Frank may be best remembered for showing reasonable Americans how to stand up to the Tea Party’s angry, hateful conspiracy theories. In 2009 at the height of the Tea Party’s disruptions of Congressional town hall meetings, a Tea Partier at one of Rep. Frank’s sessions compared President Obama to Hitler. Rep. Frank first rejected her comparison with a rational response, but when she persisted, Rep. Frank told her, “Trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.”

Bonus clip of Rep. Frank teaching House Republicans how to use Robert’s Rules of Order after the jump.