Rep. Barney Frank (D-Awesome) on Rep. John Boehner (R-Lame):
“Does Boehner need any justification? It says it right there on his partisan hack license that he can say anything that he wants.”
Now, I could let that stand by itself. It is whole and complete in its power of pwn. But Barney Frank is not a one-trick pony. He is not merely a man of clever one-liners, he is also master of the long-form smackdown. Digby presents one of his recent classics:
It occurred to me today that the way to get Wall Street’s so-called best and brightest to slink off in shame is to dig into their sex lives. After all, that’s all it took to conveniently take down one of the Democratic party’s top experts on corporate crime and turn him into a pariah. It’s really too bad. He would be very useful right about now.
It doesn’t always work, however. After all, there’s Rep. Barney Frank, who the Republicans once tried and failed to destroy for his personal life and are now holding personally responsible for the collapse of the world financial system. And he’s not having it.
Frank reminds them of the facts in his inimitable style:
In the House of Representatives, the majority party has almost unlimited power over the minority party. The majority party owns the committee chairmanships; it controls what bills come to a vote; and it is under no obligation to consider the ideas of the beleaguered minority. When the Republicans were in the majority they ruled with an iron first; it is no accident that Tom DeLay was known as “The Hammer.”
That is why I find it particularly flattering the Republicans now claim that in the years 1995 to 2006 I personally possessed supernatural powers which enabled me to force mighty Republican leaders to do my bidding. Choose your comic book hero — I was all of them.
According to the Republicans’ misty memories of the period before 2007, I allegedly singlehandedly blocked their determined efforts to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and my supposed intransigence literally caused the worldwide financial crisis.
Fortunately, we have tools to aid memory — pencil and paper, word processing, transcripts, newspapers, and the Congressional record. And as described in the most reputable published sources, in 2005 I in fact worked together with my Republican colleague Michael Oxley, then Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, to write a bill to increase regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We passed the bill out of committee with an overwhelming majority — every Democrat voted in favor of the legislation. However, on the House floor the Republican leadership added a poison pill amendment, which would have prevented non-profit institutions with religious affiliations from receiving funds. I voted against the legislation in protest, though I continued to work with Mr. Oxley to encourage the Senate to pass a good bill. But these efforts were defeated because President Bush blocked further consideration of the legislation. In the words of Mr. Oxley, no flaming liberal, the Bush administration gave his efforts ‘the one-finger salute.’
The Republicans can claim some supposed successes despite my awesome power. In 1999 they passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which overturned a Depression-era law preventing commercial banks from acting like investment banks. In 2000, they passed another bill which loosened regulation of derivative markets. I voted against these bills — but to no avail.
If I ever do ScriptFrenzy, I think it’ll be a comic book with Barney Frank as the superhero. It’s just too bad the supervillians he faces are so comically inept.