Upon his retirement, Barney Frank will be the subject of many glowing tributes. The Massachusetts Democrat’s real legacy is creating the problems associated with empowering and then failing to control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then imposing the onerous and unconstitutional “solution” of Dodd-Frank.
Though his career probably should have been cut short by scandal years ago, Frank did show some decent instincts on civil liberties, such as when he stood up to the anti-gambling scolds. Yet he oddly spent the rest of his time trying to snuff out economic liberties and moving the national Democratic Party so far to the left that many of his possible successors as ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee — including Maxine Waters — are likely even worse.
Frank’s decision to hang it up may reflect Democratic doubts that they will retake the House and regain their committee chairmanships in 2012. Frank faced a tough reelection fight in 2010 but that district will be an uphill battle for any Republican next year, with Barack Obama a heavy favorite in the commonwealth and Scott Brown hanging on for dear life.