Barney is Interested in the Interim Appointment

Well, I don't know about an "easy" decision. But certainly it's hard to imagine someone more qualified than Frank for the interim position. -Charley

To put in my 2 cents: I absolutely love this idea. Frank knows DC inside and out, and could actually get some things done as an interim, unlike just about anyone else possibly in contention. He and Elizabeth Warren would be the ultimate power couple when it comes to financial issues - how awesome would that be? Plus, he'd be the second openly gay person (Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is the first), the first gay man, and the first gay person who is married, to serve in the US Senate. Just do it, Gov. - promoted by david

Via TPM, when asked about the Senate interim appointment:

“I’m not going to be coy. It’s not anything I’ve ever been good at,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I’ve told the governor that I would now like, frankly, to do that because I would like to be a part of that. It’s only a three-month period. I wouldn’t want to do anything more. I don’t want to run again.”

Governor, it’s an easy decision.


110 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Ok, folks — now is the time for EVERY participant in BMG to contact the governor’s office and make sure that Barney Frank is our interim senator.

    This one should be a no-brainer.

  2. Any thoughts that statewide

    he becomes something for GOP/Brown to run against?

    • Who cares?

      If we don’t do the right thing since we are worried about how Scott Brown reacts than we deserve to lose. Frank is experienced, competent, adroit at handling financial matters, and won’t run himself. And he could easily pass the puck back to Markey. As Tip used to say “voters like to be ahsked”, Martha didn’t bother to ahsk but Markey will.

      • Not saying not to do it

        Just throwing it out for discussion. Any possible temp Senators who are as progressive as Frank (who did, after all, take a lot of FIRE money), but are less of a lightening rod? Just asking.

        • If Congressman Frank were merely a lightening rod

          and not an excellent Congressman, I’d give pause. But, the fact is, in addition to “sticking it” to the Fox News crowd, Senator Frank would do a splendidly good job, especially on short notice. He wouldn’t need to “ramp up” the way a non-Congressional appointment would. He’s ready to go from day one, and given the short time frame, there’s no time to lose.

          • Plus, it would be bizarre ....

            that a candidate would run against someone who is not even running for the office.

            • Hardly

              In 2008 Obama ran against Bush. Trying to associate an opponent with a member of his/her party who is somewhat controversial is not new. In 1996, Kerry ran against Jesse Helms as much as he ran against Weld. To some small extent, Warren ran against Jim Inhofe and Mitch McConnell.

              I think Frank would be great as a Senator, even for such a short time. Just raising a point for discussion.

              • That's quite a stretch ...

                for an interim 180 day appointment.

                • Not really

                  He’s holding the seat, just finished 30 years in Congress. GOP says, “Hey, look no further than Barney, that’s what the Mass. Dems are about. Ed’s voting record really no different than Barney.”

                  I don’t think it would be a factor, and I like Barney Frank a lot, so being associated with him doesn’t bother me. Just asking about the sort-of right-leaning independents who tend to like Brown anyway.

          • Damn iPhone

            That was meant to be a vote for

        • Frank is the BARAK we need

          Congressman Barney Frank understands our deep heritage of American Laws. In putting together Dodd-Frank, Barney drew from our history of bank acts and other laws going decades back. Frank understands that our country was not born overnight. “End the Fed” was an ineffective GOP slogan. Barney works on full texts of federal policy. Frank tops it off by going to MassBay and explaining private sector innovations such as derivatives to us the general public, especially to voters like me schooled neither in law nor economics.

          It’s lightning, בָּרָק

    • After some thought, I want Frank for strategic reasons.

      You’re right in that it gives something for Brown to run against, but that’s not a bad thing. Let Brown split his efforts between running against Frank and running against the Democratic nominee. If he tries to paint the nominee as ‘just like Frank’ we get to highlight our nominee’s distinctions. I think this could be good in that it would make him have to go on offense on two fronts. Even if he succeeds in beating Frank up, the nominee doesn’t have to get into it and Brown can be painted as making attacks on Frank as a distraction.

      I’m sure there are ways this could go south, but I think there could be good strategic options created with Frank in the interim seat. I guess it depends on the nominee’s campaign.

  3. How Perfect. Just do it Governor

    Of course the DNC will worry because they can”t control him.

  4. I love it.

    Senator Barney Frank. There’s a good ring to it. Let’s do it.

  5. I'd love to have Barney Frank as my temporary senator

    I’d feel confident he’d represent my interests and do his best to promote what’s best for the people of Massachusetts. Ornery yet effective. What’s not to love?

  6. Been saying it for weeks.

    Called and wrote Patrick and Frank. If it happens I’m taking credit!

  7. Hmm...

    This would also put Barney Frank more firmly in the history books as the first openly homosexual Senator in American history.

    sabutai   @   Fri 4 Jan 6:14 PM
  8. Don't just sit here...

    Go to the governor’s web page and tell him you want Barney Frank to be our interim senator.

  9. Hate to be the skunk at the party...

    I have a lot of respect for Congressman Frank, and for what he has accomplished in his career.

    But he chose to retire, I asssume because he felt it was the right time for him to leave.

    We are fortunate in MA to have so many talented, dedicated individuals who could serve the Commonwealth well in the interim role. I have been disappointed that most of the commentary around this appointment in the mainstream media has focused on the usual suspects, and not the deep pool of qualified individuals outside the traditional lists.

    Congressman Frank is great, but there are better options at this time for the Commonwealth.

    • more like the wizard of oz moving levers

      Behind the curtain now you are.

    • "there are better options"

      Please name them.

      • Agreed - who are you talking about?

        I’d love to know who you think is a “better option” than Barney Frank, esp. since Mike Dukakis has taken himself out of the running (last I heard). Who are the people who make up the “deep pool of qualified individuals outside the traditional lists”? Unless you are referring to Bob’s excellent suggestion. ;-)

        Also, I have to say, “he chose to retire” is not a good argument for why he’s not the right person for an interim Senator appointment. In fact, it’s an excellent argument for why he is a good choice – we all know that he’s someone who doesn’t want to return to DC long term, which is exactly what the interim is supposed to be.

        • It's "why" he chose to retire...and the other options out there.

          I agree – it’s not the fact that he chose to retire that is the problem. It’s why he chose to retire, and what he said about it. It seemed clear to me that he wanted to move on and was not eager to continue to engage in all that comes with serving in Congress.

          So, given that, I just think there are other options for the appointment that make more sense for MA. And I think it is crazy that almost all of the talk about potential names has focused on the usual suspects, when we are lucky to have so many talented options here in the Commonwealth.

          • to see this guy in the Senate? :D

          • why he chose to retire

            You are willing to take a lot of grief in exchange for the ability to influence public policy. As brilliant as Barney is, the ability of a minority member of the House of Representatives to influence public policy is severely limited by the way the Republicans are running the place.

            I am sure the prospect of providing unvarnished commentary was more appealing than spending more time in the House minority. Having an influential role in the next round of fiscal brinksmanship – that certainly appeals to Barney Frank, and to those of us who want bold, intelligent representation in these interesting times.

    • Sheila Burgess, perhaps?


    • Skunks R Us

      Doug, you are not the only one thinking along those lines. It is not the “party line” here to suggest looking for someone to serve as Interim Senator beyond the usual if not “easy suspects,” but I really don’t think the zestful popularity of Congressman Frank on BMG is shared across the Commonwealth by those with different or even similar stripes. We desperately need to keep the momentum of new blood, ideas and energy in the mix.

      Deepest appreciation and congratulations to Congressmen Frank and Olver on their retirements…..cudos!

      • "I really don’t think the zestful popularity of Congressman Frank on BMG is shared across the Commonwealth"

        The question, I guess, is whether that makes any difference. Frank is not running in any race, so his “popularity” isn’t really an issue, is it? Seems to me the question is who is most likely to accomplish something of value for the people of MA in a very short-term appointment. I have a hard time thinking of someone more likely to do than than Barney Frank, but I haven’t seen the secret list of awesome candidates that nobody is talking about to which Doug refers. ;)

    • Wow, guys

      What’s with all the negativity all of a sudden?? Doug’s a good guy and he’s on our side.

      I’m embarrassed for this website right now. Seriously I am.

      He’s not attacking Frank, and a lot of people are getting awfully defensive. Doug made a point and please argue its merits or faults, instead of attacking him as some sort of asshole insider. What, are you assuming he has someone specific in mind that he’s pushing with the Governor with his “clout” as a longtime campaign person? Then please say so instead of attacking Doug sideways.

      You all are better than this.

      As to Doug’s point – that Frank seemed to be tired of the Washington thing, it’s a legit point, though I think Frank is suffering from what we in the biz call “podium envy” – the immediate timeframe when you’ve stepped down from leadership and miss being the one up there. (We used to josh about this phenomenon in my BNI days, where a former president of the chapter spends their first few weeks kinda missing being up front running the meeting.) That might explain why he was tired enough of the bullshit to retire but thinks it might be fun to jump in on an interim appointment with a limited lifespan.

      You people ought to be ASHAMED of yourselves. Honestly.

      • PS

        I was also turned off a little by the manner in which Frank expressed he wanted it, on national TV. Jesus, I know the guy doesn’t have a lot of tactful decorum (it’s part of his charm really) but WTH? You wanna talk about “influencing the Governor’s decision” about Doug but there’s nothing like open and public pressure by a heavy hitter on his own behalf, is there?

        Not that he wouldn’t do a good job I’m sure, but certainly I could do without the self-aggrandizement on his own behalf. I hate it when it happens in Lowell regarding appointments and I hate it everywhere else too.

        That said if he gets appointed, good luck to him, please help us get a ton of stuff done and certainly, he is capable of that.

        • Not for nothing, but

          “I was also turned off a little by the manner in which Frank expressed he wanted it, on national TV”
          Actually, what he announced on national TV was that he had already spoken to Patrick.
          From the OP:

          “I’ve told the governor that I would now like, frankly, to do that because I would like to be a part of that. It’s only a three-month period. I wouldn’t want to do anything more. I don’t want to run again.”

          You were turned off a little by something you only thought happened.

          • There was a confidential process

            And Barney went public with it.

            When asked, the Governor seemed a little…I don’t know about put out, but he was definitely on the side of “I thought it was confidential, that’s how I was treating it.”

      • One more thought

        If Doug wanted to “influence” the decision there are far better ways than expressing his opinion way down in the comments of some ethereal frontpaged diary on this website. Popular as BMG is, it’s not THAT popular.

        OK, go back to playing nice, because as of right now, I’m pretty pissed at some of you and it’s making me less inclined to frequent this place.

        • like Twitter? Which he posted and picked up by the Herald?

          Is that what you mean?

          I’m a fan of Doug Rubin, did some great work in the Patrick campaign. But I can’t wrap my head around why he felt compelled to publically go after Frank. And you know as well as I, that is exactly what has occurred. it feels like a hatched job now that I’m reading the Herald.

          This is how Doug describes himself on twitter:

          Advisor, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy campaigns. Former COS to Gov. Deval Patrick. Senior Advisor on both Patrick campaigns. Founder, Northwind Strategies.

          Under this billing he tweets:

          I respect Cong. Frank and what he has accomplished, but there are better options for MA Senate interim appointment. #masen #mapoli

          Not only did he post this publically, but he then felt compelled to blast this out to masen and mapoli hashtags so everyone will see it, journalists, etc. Joe Battenfield took him up on his invitation.

          • Didn't go "after" Cong. Frank...

            Cong. Frank went on TV and said he was interested in the interim appointment. He has every right to do that.

            I saw his comments and expressed my opinion – that I respect Cong. Frank and his work but feel there are better options for the interim appointment. I assumed I had the right to do that.

            I don’t see that as “publically” going after Cong. Frank.

            • You know that this is not about freedom of speech ...

              I found it disappointing that a political strategist who is close to Patrick felt compelled to blast this out to all media with hashtags that you know that all local political media follow.

              Your position, which you have earned by doing a great job in recent campaigns also hold cache which I believe you understand would have caught media. etc. attention.

              A savvy political media strategist using that cache in the manner which you did is what I had issue with.

              “I assumed I had the right to do that.”

            • better options?

              “I would prefer to elevate (anoint) a dark-horse candidate” would present an interesting and far less passionate response. When you say that Ralph de la Torre, Carol Fulp, Anne Finucane, Josh Boger, and Andrea Silbert are “better options” than Barney Frank, I think that’s such an outrageous statement that you are going to get a passionate response. I just don’t know how you make a reasoned case that the folks you proposed are better choices, and I suspect most of the political activists who populate this forum and put Deval in office would agree.

              • Please don't put words in my mouth...

                I made my case because I believe there are many talented people in MA who could serve in the Senate and do an outstanding job – some on my list and others I am sure I forgot to include. I also believe expanding our horizons and bringing people who have been successful in other areas into politics to help solve some of our pressing problems is a good thing – and will ultimately help build a better Commonwealth and country.

                You may believe that experience in Congress is more important in this case. I don’t happen to agree – but I respect your view. But saying that I can’t make a “reasoned” case for people who are civic-minded and highly successful to serve as an interim Senator is just wrong.

                • You are making a different argument

                  Could some of the people on the list be an effective public official? Yes, in much the same way that Deval Patrick became an effective governor. However, there are some significant differences between Deval’s campaign to become governor and this interim appointment.

                  First, Deval was vetted in the process. We had the opportunity to ask him thousands of questions on policy issues. We got to see what he thinks, how he thinks, what his core values are. These talented outsiders would enter the senate totally unvetted by the people of Massachusetts.

                  Second, there’s the job. We only need to look to the first few months of Governor Patrick’s tenure to know it takes a little time to get a feel for a public position. Governor Patrick had considerable support (such as the Democratic Governors’ Association) and the good will and support of the folks who voted for him. Even so, it took him a few months to really settle in and get a feel for the office and the challenges of public life. Even the most talented outsiders would be climbing the learning curve when the interim term expires. Can we afford this?

                  Even more important, legislating is very different than the world in which “people who are successful in other areas” have found their success. They would be moving from a world in which their world is law, where their experience and opinion go unquestioned, to become the least senior one of a 100 member legislative body where you can’t even do something with a clear majority. Outstanding? In an alien environment? They will be about as effective as a rookie substitute teacher in a middle school.

                  I think it is next to impossible to do an outstanding job as an interim senator. I think the list of folks who can do an outstanding jog is extremely short. Barney’s on the list.

  10. OK Doug...

    …cough up your list. Also, you’ve spoken for the Governor in the past. Are you now or are these your own words?

    • This is the kind of shit

      that loses us elections.

      Christopher you are way better than this.

      • Who knew?

        That expressing an opinion way down in the comments of some ethereal frontpaged diary on a popular, but not THAT popular, website loses elections?

        • I'm sad

          to see you act this way, really I am.

        • And, to be clear

          I am responding to the TONE of this response, not to the fact it’s on this goddamned website.

          Grow up please.

          • OK, it's about tone?

            Please, review the tone of your recent comments.

            • I'm pissed that someone expressing a rather innocent opinion

              got piled on like he was the Ebil Incarnate.

              What’s your excuse?

              • I'm pissed too...

                that Doug Rubin, a man we all respect, keeps toting the same line that “there are better options at this time for the Commonwealth” without bothering to suggest who they might be. I’m also pissed that Rubin uses Frank’s prior statement about retiring to project Frank’s current opinion, blatantly ignoring Mr. Frank himself who told us his opinion. To me,

                But he chose to retire, I asssume because he felt it was the right time for him to leave.

                is total bush league.

                And look, I’m not pissed. I just used that word to build off of lynne. I’m not even peeved. I just find it strange. Strange that someone so close to Mr. Patrick is making these kinds of public statements. Strange that Mr. Rubin has posted five times on this thread [plus twitter, etc] proclaiming that there are “better options” without telling us who they are. To me, that looks like dragging down, not building up.

  11. Completely on my own here...

    This is my opinion and my own words…it should not in any way be viewed as any indication of where the Governor is on this issue.

    • Pul- ese you just got a nice little (?) contract with the DSC

      to coordinate the DSC’s role in this special election. And you are speaking as an individual?

      • Seriously?

        I didn’t know I gave up my ability to voice my opinion just because I work in politics…

        That seems a bit against the point of BMG, doesn’t it?

        These are my opinions and mine alone. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am a bit suprised you would question that by raising my work with the Party. I am committed to helping the Party prepare for the special so we can be in the strongest position to win. I’m not going to apologize for that.

    • Doug,

      This remains a boring conversation to read or participate in if you aren’t going to reveal even one person who is a “better option”. I understand and respect the Governor’s insistence on keeping his personal conversations private, but you say you are speaking for yourself. So speak.

      An important question IMO is whether we are looking just for a reliable vote or something more. If the former, almost any of us BMG participants who meet the constitutional requirements would be good enough. But if we want someone who will participate more fully during the interim appointment, we need to know what they bring to the table and what they would accomplish in Washington. We know about Barney. In my book, he wins if we are only comparing him to an abstract “better option”.

      • Many great options...

        My point in this conversation has been that there are many great options for the interim appointment outside the “usual suspects” that have been floated in the media.

        Sending new and talented people to DC, like Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy, is good for MA and good for our political system. I think there are plenty of smart, experienced, talented individuals who could bring some new energy and ideas to Congress as the interim appointment.


        FULL DISCLAIMER: The names on this list are my opinion and mine alone, and are in no particular order.

        Leaders of academic institutions like Susan Hockfield (MIT) and Gloria Larson (Bentley).

        Former chief justice of the MA SJC, Margaret Marshall.

        Experienced government officials like Leslie Kirwan (former A+F Secretary) and Jay Gonzalez (A+F Secretary), Nonnie Burnes (former commission of insurance and former superior court judge) and Arthur Bernard (former COS to Gov. Patrick).

        Civic-minded business leaders like Ralph de la Torre, Carol Fulp, Anne Finucane and Josh Boger.

        Policy experts like Mike Widmer, Andrea Silbert, Barry Bluestone and Deborah Prothrow-Stith.

        These are just a few – I am sure I am missing many great choices. The point is only that if we broaden our thinking beyond the traditional, we open up a world of really exciting options that would benefit the Commonwealth and the Congress.

        • for naming some names. But my overall thought about all of them is this: they’d all probably vote in ways that most Dems would like, and they are all awesome in various ways – but none of them is awesome in a way that makes them likely to be truly effective in the US Senate for a 4-month appointment. The place is weird; it operates on a bizarre and arcane set of rules and customs; someone new to the Hill simply cannot master them in time to get anything substantial done in 4 months. I mean, Paul Kirk is a great guy, but did he do anything really memorable in his time as interim?

          That’s what sets Barney Frank apart from everyone you’ve mentioned. He knows how DC works; he has years of relationships built up – and yes, I’m aware that he’s pissed people off over the years, but the point is that despite all of that, he’s gotten lots done on the Hill, and he is already a respected (and, I’d venture, feared in some ways, which is IMHO a good thing) presence in DC. Folks with experience in state government; with judicial credentials; with academic or policy chops … I just don’t feel like they can hit the ground running the way Frank can. By the time they’ve figured out where the bathrooms are, the winner of the special election will be on his/her way to DC.

          And of course you’re right that it’s a great thing to send non-insider people like Elizabeth Warren to Washington. But that argument holds much less force when we’re talking about a 4-month interim appointment: Warren can (and will, I’m sure) be an effective Senator precisely because she has lots of time – six years, to be precise – to figure out how the place works and then get stuff done before she has to worry about being reelected.

          • Good points

            David, I think you make some strong points, and as I stated earlier, I have a lot of respect for Cong. Frank.

            Maybe I just put more weight on two points than you do – (1) Frank’s comments when he decided to step down from Congress, and (2) brining new talent and ideas to the Congress. We have a lot of experienced lawmakers in the Senate and House already, and it hasn’t really helped break the gridlock and inaction. I just think we have a better chance of making progress by giving some new, talented people a shot to bring some energy and new ideas to Congress.

          • I find this list to be rather anemic. Yes, it’s a great honor to be named to the Senate, and the appointee will have the lifelong privilege of the honorific “Senator” in front of their name. However, the list of people are mediocre to poor choices for this particular appointment.

            Legislating is a skill that is quite different than anything else in government. In the case of the senate, it requires a knowledge of the ground rules and the respect of the other senators. It will be very easy for the rest of the senate to dismiss an honorific appointee; “What do you know, and anyway, you aren’t going to be here very long…”

            If Deval Patrick wants an honorific and ineffective appointee, it will be a huge disappointment and it will not serve our nation well at a time of some challenging legislative maneuvering.

            I like Deval, but I think he has made some incredibly poor appointments in the past. None would be as obvious as a second-tier caretaker in our senate seat.

        • my thanks too

          But I pretty much agree with everything David said above. We have a good idea of what will be going on in DC between now and June, and it isn’t going to be pretty. I can see an advantage of having an insider type (Frank being one choice) filling the gap since knowing both the ropes and the people will be pluses. I need some help to see how any of these other fine folks would be as effective for this short term assignment.

        • What is particularly insulting...

          There isn’t a single municipal official on this list.

          • Great, so now his list isn't good enough?

            Look, am I missing something? Are we progressives supposed to hate Doug Rubin for some reason? Please inform me if that’s the case. I find it so hard to keep up.

            • No, we shouldn't hate Doug Rubin

              However, Doug Rubin is so far off base on this one, he needs to understand why he is receiving this reaction. I would have a hard time supporting some of the folks on this list for a state senate seat, never mind my representative in the United States Senate. I mean, do you want “civic-minded business leaders like Ralph de la Torre, Carol Fulp, Anne Finucane and Josh Boger” to be your interim brain surgeon? In the same light, what do they know about legislating of public policy?

              There’s at least one person on the list who I would actively work against if they somehow were to get a nomination – one that could do significant damage if they could figure out how to influence public policy during the time of this interim appointment.

              As a local elected official, I am enough of a realist to know that my low-rent civic involvement would get me on the list o the top 100 people who would qualify for this appointment. However, I am more qualified than a boatload of Mr. Rubin’s suggestions. It’s insulting that lots of other really good folks, who toil in the cities and towns trying to make government work in difficult times, don’t make it on the list of Mr. Rubin’s “many great options.” Take the enrolled Democrats who are town moderators, put their names in a hat, and make a random choice and I guarantee you will have a more qualified appointee than most of the folks on Mr. Rubin’s list.

              That also points to what I think was Governor Patrick’s greatest weakness. His transition team appointments were very corporate, and his education appointments were inconsistent at best. Paul Reville representing himself as speaking for the governor was an absolute disgrace.

              I am from one of those lefty communities that fueled Deval Patrick’s nomination efforts in 2006. We brought hundreds of folks out to the caucus to elect delegates. Just from talking to people who I consider to be Deval’s base here in town, the folks who passionately worked to put him in the corner office want Barney Frank, and would be very disappointed if the interim senator came from Doug Rubin’s list.

              Sometimes you need to go with the folks who brought you to the dance, even if you are governor.

              • oops

                Tpyo: The first line of the third paragraph should read:

                As a local elected official, I am enough of a realist to know that my low-rent civic involvement would not get me on the list of the top 100 people who would qualify for this appointment.

            • The all or nothing echo chamber

              I don’t think we need to agree that Doug Rubin’s list is all that great or that it implies that he’s hated. Seriously – the all or nothing echo chamber doesn’t benefit anyone. I applaud the idea of Congressman Frank getting the interim appointment. He’s an experienced and incredibly smart Congressman, and we need someone with that level of expertise in the Senate right now, not a newbie struggling with senatorial shoe tying. I hope he gets the nod, and that the appointment isn’t used for any other than getting us the best short term representation that Massachusetts needs.

        • My sense ....

          Jay Gonzalez is the guy Patrick would like to appoint. His name has been floated out there last week, wonder how that happened?

          It’s not a negative towards your comment, just my gut feeling. I was prompted to comment since Jay was the middle person you listed as possibilities, not the first or last, kind of stuck his name in there. Interesting.

          But coming back to the post which is about Frank, to me it’s a no brainier. I’d be excited to see him. Frank himself made a very compelling argument for himself and the reason he would like to continue serving over the next few months with the financial negotiations and reaching a fair deal. I don’t see anyone who is even remotely close to Frank in that area.

          I’d be interested to hear why you believe anyone one of the persons you mentioned would do better for the state an country within this very short time frame. Please, the real reasons, not he’s retiring, that’s weak and clearly argued against. I would like to hear the real stuff, that would be interesting to me. Hopefully you will comment. Thanks.

        • Possibilities with benefits

          Whomever is appointed may be part of a larger strategy for 2014. For instance, Andrea Silbert would be fabulous to showcase again (MA sending two talented, bright women to DC!) and set the stage for a Lt.Gov or Gov race. Depending of course, on where Governor Patrick wants to see Tim Murray in the future. Given the ongoing economic challenges an innovative mind could be highly advantageous to bore into some of the dead wood.

          On the other hand, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall would be fabulous as a brilliant mind but also a desirable Senatorial temperament with gravitas and an excellent compliment to Senator Warren.

          The candidate will serve a short-term, but the appointment could have a long-term strategy. N’est pas, monsieur Rubin?

          • Pablo, what's up?

            Disapprove of what…..please explain? I am simply hypothesizing that an interim appointment may have a a long-term strategy. I hope and believe that our Governor is a master strategist and that this interim senate appointment is an opportunity that is looked at from more than a single vantage point.

            • Okay, fine.....

              Proper spelling: n’est-ce pas

            • I disapprove of showcasing Andrea Silbert

              Deval Patrick became governor because he worked hard to earn support among Democrats. He earned the nomination. He was in living rooms across the Commonwealth, making his case. I really like him, in part, because he came out to the community and made his case.

              Andrea Silbert is an aggressive advocate for the privatization of K-12 public education, who wants to dismantle public education in favor of a system of privatized charter schools. She is totally unacceptable as a Democrat in a public policy position.

              Barney has a proven progressive track record and knowledge of the terrain. Nobody is better qualified for this seat, and Mr. Rubin’s list of allegedly “better choices” just makes me more passionate for Barney’s appointment to the Senate.

        • Will they stand up?

          Some of us may be asking the interim to stand up to our President on social insurance cuts. Will they?

    • I'm just not on the same page

      I like Mr. Rubin. I enjoy his participation, and BMG is significantly improved because of it.

      In this particular case, I’m just not on the same page as Mr. Rubin. I’m sensitive to and respectful of lynne’s concerns — I certainly don’t mean to any way “pile on” Mr. Rubin.

      I understand Mr. Rubin’s concerns about the Mr. Frank’s outspoken rationale for resigning, his earlier withdrawal from consideration, and his equally outspoken change of heart. I also understand Mr. Rubin’s desire to encourage, strengthen, and grow our lesser-known party members.

      In my view, these concerns are not strong enough to offset the disadvantages of having a far more inexperienced interim senator. I grant that Mr. Rubin and Deval Patrick may be fifteen moves ahead of all of us in political chess — I remain unconvinced.

      The only other thought that occurs to me is whether there is some sort of baggage or collection of skeletons that Mr. Rubin (and perhaps others) prefer to leave undisturbed. If there is some serious and secret reason motivating Mr. Rubin’s concerns, I suggest that he either make it public or forget about it.

      The bottom line, for me, is that I think the advantages of having Barney Frank be our junior Senator during the extraordinarily hostile political war that we know will happen over the next three months overwhelmingly and compellingly outweighs ALL the other concerns raised here, especially by Mr. Rubin. We almost surely face some mix of a constitutional crisis, shutdown of the government, ENORMOUS and even catastrophic reaction from the national and international market, and a host of equally grave risks.

      I want somebody in that seat who is NOT trying to figure out where the coat closet is.

      • I don't want someone in the seat to burnish their resume

        I want someone who can do the best possible job of representing Massachusetts given the inherent disadvantage of being a short-termer, which means little or nothing to “trade” in terms of offering other legislators future support for something in exchange for a vote now. Given his experience, knowledge and national reputation, that person is Barney Frank. The fact that he’d also be entertaining and quotable is just a bonus :)

        • Re: resume-burnishing

          That’s what it looks like to me, too. Someone whose primary interest is getting people elected would be more invested in improving the chances of a future candidate than in seeing someone who’s all done with being a candidate take a very high-profile appointment.

          I’d be happy to see Frank in that chair, because I think he’d do a better job than anyone else I can think of.

          • I can't have an opinion?

            I’m glad to learn from the many comments on BMG that I can no longer have a personal opinion – if I make a post, it must be motivated by my professional interest in “getting people elected” or some sinister backroom plot.

            The response on BMG to my comments has been pretty interesting – the simple fact here is that I respect Cong. Frank but believe there may be better choices for the interim appointment.

            • Doug, I don't question your motivation on this issue and believe you

              should be entitled to express your opinion about it. My concern is that while you have listed a number of possible alternatives to Rep. Frank, you haven explained why they would be better choices for the interim Senate seat. I think you bear the burden of proof in making your claim.

              As has been noted here, Barney Frank has served the people of Massachusetts very well for many, many years and has emerged as one of the leading voices in the nation on banking reform and related issues. Absent a compelling case to the contrary, it would seem he deserves this appointment.

              • "Doug, I don't question your motivation on this issue and believe you"

                Well, that’s good. A lot of people did. Right off the bat. Can you see why someone might get a little miffed about that?

                Just wonderin’.

                Judy in particular has totally disappointed me.

            • nothing wrong with

              being “motivated by my professional interest in “getting people elected” or (even) “some sinister backroom plot.

              That’s what you do. That’s what a lot of political activists do. All the time. Hard, if not impossible to separate your personal opinion for someone who only knows you as a professional political consultant, and doesn’t.know you personally.

              You are highly respected here as a professional and that’s why folks here are asking for you to explain your reasons why you think others would do a better job than Barney.

              • Exactly

                The simple fact is that I respect Mr. Rubin, and appreciate the work he’s done getting good people elected. I do not in any way want him to stop sharing his opinions here. All that said, it’s worth remembering that those opinions may be informed by his primary interests, as are all of ours.

            • OK, minor bone to pick now.

              I’ve seen this thread evolve to 80+ comments. I understand that when you expressed your opinion a number of people reacted. I echo all the things said about respect for you and the job you’ve done.

              All that said, I don’t see anywhere on this thread anyone telling you that you can’t have an opinion. I don’t see anyone anywhere saying that you shouldn’t be able to express your opinion. You certainly can have an opinion and express it too and I don’t see anyone here saying otherwise.

              Now people have certainly reacted to what you’ve said and have expressed opinions about what you’ve said and why you may have said it. And that’s ok too – they’re entitled too. Free country and all that. That’s the way the marketplace of ideas work. Just because a decent number of vocal people immediately jumped in and expressed opposition to your assertions does not mean people are silencing you or disenfranchising you.

              Now given that nobody’s telling you to not have an opinion or to be silent, I’d really appreciate you not going to that well anymore – for the sake of keeping this place reality-based.

              • No

                but that’s the impression I got too reading the tone and the defensiveness of most of the commenters here.

                Like I said, enough to make ME question whether or not I want to post here in the future. Imagine how Doug feels.

                I think people were severely defensive and rather rude in a lot of cases.

              • PS

                Love you hon! :)

              • Thanks for raising this point...

                I agree with you that no one has explicitly said I cannot state my opinion. But plenty of people have questionned whether there is some ulterior motive driving my posts, and instead of engaging in a back and forth over the merits of Cong. Frank versus other candidates, have decided to raise issues about me and my work.

                Having spent a lot of time on BMG, I knew when I made the original post that many people would not agree with me, but I felt there was an alternative view worth discussing. That’s why I did it.

                • All true.

                  “But plenty of people have questionned whether there is some ulterior motive driving my posts, and instead of engaging in a back and forth over the merits of Cong. Frank versus other candidates, have decided to raise issues about me and my work.”

                  They’re entitled to bring up the issues that concern them. You’re then entitled to call them out on it.

                  Alternative views are great.

                  Neither is a call for silence – that’s an entirely different thing. Lets just make sure we’re labeling content (our own or others) accurately. You being ‘not entitled to an opinion’ is a specific charge that just plain didn’t happen. By all means, point out the holes in others’ thinking about your motivations, but don’t object to it on the grounds that they are trying to silence you – that’s an entirely different thing.

                  In sports parlance, call the foul that actually happened – not the phantom foul.

                  Again, a minor bone to pick, but somewhat important if we want to remain reality based. Also, addressing what was actually said is important for people to understand each other.

            • Of COURSE you can have an opinion!

              You added this comment in the response chain to mine. I was as clear as I know how to be that I welcome and respect your opinion. I’m glad you’re here, I like what you’ve done, I view you as one of the “good guys”.

              In this case, my opinion differs from yours. That’s all.

  12. Larry Bird.

    Good team. Deep bench.
    One guy, with a history of success, steps forward and says;
    “I’ll take the shot.”
    While Doug may want to draw up a play for Greg Kite, I’m giving the rock to the guy who really wants it.

  13. Frankly speaking

    Frank just doused Frank all over MSNBC.

    Frank Phillips that would be doing the national dousing spot on Barney Frank.

    Never, ever, ever (……ever, repeat ten times-as eb3 would say) think Patrick is not the top dawg, Kingmaker/Queenmaker.

  14. Lynne, what was that for?

    I asked two reasonable questions:

    Who’s better (since he said there were some)?
    Are you speaking for the Gov (because that has been his role in the past and the Governor is responsible for making the appointment)?

    He has answered both to my satisfaction and I even uprated his reply to me, so I’m not sure why you’re quite so offended by it.

    • You were not reasonable

      You were snarky and bitchy. That’s how you came across. Judy was worse, though, I suppose. That’s not a good reflection on you.

    • Let me put it this way

      I read through this thread after a lot of the comments were made.

      I came away with the impression a lot of people were angry at Doug – not just asking for a clarification, but ANGRY he’d DARE question a Frank appointment – and that a whole lot of people also accused him outright of trying to influence the Governor or doing sneaky back-room sorts of things. All because he dared happen to disagree Frank is the best choice?

      I literally had to ask myself, “shit, is there some news or other that Doug Rubin isn’t the guy we like any more? Like he did some insider crap and now he’s on the outs with activist progressives? Cuz otherwise where’s this hostility coming from?”

      If that’s the impression I came away with after reading a lot of the stuff on this thread…when I know you guys so well…well. The only thing I can come up with is that people really like Barney Frank, and are defensive when someone suggests he might not be the perfect nominee.

      • Anger and passion

        I am certainly not angry with Doug Rubin. However, I am certainly passionate about this interim appointment.

        I think Doug is providing a valuable service in his post, because he is certainly taking the temperature of the progressive political community with a post that certainly looks like a trial balloon that has generated considerable passion.

        Bottom line: if Deval Patrick passes over Barney and appoints a second or third tier interim, the reaction from his base will range in a continuum that ranges from disappointment to anger.

        Message to the governor: If you don’t want Barney, you need to find another superstar.

      • You're angry over things that didn't happen.

        “a whole lot of people also accused him outright of trying to influence the Governor or doing sneaky back-room sorts of things”

        “a whole lot” “accused him outright”?
        That isn’t correct.

        • Let's review...

          First comment response out of the gate:

          more like the wizard of oz moving levers(2+ / 1-) View voters
          Behind the curtain now you are.
          judy-meredith @ Sat 5 Jan 4:50 AM

          Not too far downward:

          why he chose to retire(4+ / 1-) View voters
          You are willing to take a lot of grief in exchange for the ability to influence public policy. As brilliant as Barney is, the ability of a minority member of the House of Representatives to influence public policy is severely limited by the way the Republicans are running the place.


          • NO!

            The “why he chose to retire” remark was not an attack on Mr. Rubin, but was a counterpoint against Mr. Rubin’s argument that Barney had good reasons to retire and should remain retired. Tell me, how was that an attack on Mr. Rubin? Don’t we have the right to challenge weak arguments without being accused of attacking the writer?

            • Read it again

              The part I bolded:

              “You are willing to take a lot of grief in exchange for the ability to influence public policy.”

              I could have cut just that part out but I chose to bold it. You totally missed the point of my quoting it. ~sigh~

              • I guess I did

                I still don’t get it.

                I was tromping around the halls of Congress in the previous decade, and there was this uniform gloom on the part of the Democrats; the GOP controlled everything and the house rules prevented them from having any influence in the chamber.

                My sense is that, since the Tea Party – Boehner takeover, Democrats are even more frustrated. Spending more time in a GOP- Tea Party house has got to be frustrating, and making snarky comments on MSNBC sounds like a lot more fun. However, acid tongued commentary is no substitute for being able to play a meaningful role during a challenging six months. Barney’s argument makes perfect sense.

                How this relates to a discussion of arguing with, or being uncivil to, Mr. Rubin escapes me.

  15. I really did not mean it that way Lynne...

    …and if you think I am better than that as you indicated in another comment, then give me the benefit of the doubt. I’m not the least bit angry with Doug for suggesting there were other good candidates, though I did find it odd to say there were other candidates without naming names he had in mind.

    • Someone had already asked the question

      in a similar abrupt manner that you did, yet you felt the need to also do so? It looked really weird to me.

  16. Timeline not quite correct.

    My comment came before 9AM with only Judy Meredith, whose comment did not look like a question, before mine. All others came after 10AM, but may have looked like before me because stupid IE forces me to put any comment I have at the end of the thread. I generally don’t like to do the blog equivalent to hearing myself talk, so if I noticed a question or comment similar to what was on my mind I would have just uprated that one.

    • Free advice

      …and worth every penny:
      A. Stop using IE. It’s Microsoft’s attempt to create its own standards for the Web, which don’t always work with the standards generated by the bodies whose actual job it is to create them.

      B. If you must use IE, put a link in your comment to the one you’re responding to. Right-click the date stamp in that comment and copy it, then use the BMG link function to paste it into your comment. If IE doesn’t let you do those things, see A.

  17. I like Barney Frank

    He seems to understand the issue of income inequality and he’s not afraid to speak out about it. We need more of that. Since he will only be in the Senate for a short time, and not seeking re-election, he could really help push things along and be a powerful voice that is much needed. Of course, I could be missing something too. the last thing I want is a corporate hack appointed. I don’t think Barney Frank is one. Appointing a corporate or wall street hack would be a disaster.

  18. Lots of sturm und drang over what amounts to a temporary position. I’ve just read over some 80+ comments here and everybody, and I do mean everybody, seems a little testy: an unknowing visitor to our shores might be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that this temporary appointment is all that stands between us and armageddon, ragnarok and the return of the teletubbies…

    You know what I think? I think we’ve all spent the last 13 years in a highly adrenalized political environment that has left us all slightly, constantly, dazed and more than a little on edge. For this reason alone I advocate for the quick appointment of the safest and most effective interim Senator (and, yes, that would clearly be Barney Frank.) in order to minimize the fear uncertainty and doubt going into the special election: which special election promises to outdo previous elections for expectations, bluster, hype and sheer crap.

    But you know what else? It’s a stupid law. It was stupid when the feckless Mass Legislature conjured it to prevent Gov He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named from making an appointment and it’s a stupid law now: wholly political; fantastically shortsighted; and clearly ripe for abuse and political divisions. And we are, here and now, reaping the divisiveness inherent to the law. Spite is what you get when you make laws out of spite.

    So, in the interest of a smoother, more practical and democratic CommonWealth I suggest the following three actions:

    –Appoint Barney Frank as interim Senator
    –Hold the special election to finish out John Kerry’s present Senate term.
    –Repeal the stupid law

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