Barney Frank confronted one of those “Obama is a Nazi!” types at a town hall meeting the other day. Video here.

QUESTIONER (holding a picture of Obama with a Hitler moustache): Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama expressly has supported this policy? Why are you supporting it?

FRANK: When you ask me that question I am going to revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question. On what planet do you spend most of your time?

You want me to answer your question? As you stand there, with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the first amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.

Why is it that the Democrats insist on finding the most vapid, milquetoast nonentities to lead them in Congress? Why are we stuck with empty suits like Pelosi and Reid (and before them Gephardt and Daschle) when we could have people like Barney Frank leading us?

Granted, Frank has the luxury of representing a district populated primarily by sane people. His audience was cheering him as he unloaded on the hapless questioner. Still, it is so refreshing to hear a Democrat speak like a normal person as opposed to a politician, and to stick up for basic common sense.

Comments

  1. #1 SLC
    August 19, 2009

    The reason why here is no possibility of Representative Frank becoming Speaker of the House is because he is an out of the closet gay man.

  2. #2 truthspeaker
    August 19, 2009

    The same reason Howard Dean wasn’t the Democratic candidate for president in 2004. The people in power like the status quo.

    Plus he’s openly gay.

  3. #3 Mike H
    August 19, 2009

    Perhaps Bawney Fwank isnt Speaker because he would have to explain why he was balling a Fannie Mae executive, Herb Moses, while sitting on Fannie’s oversight committee all the while its execs were running it into the ground costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

    Could that be a reason why he aint Speaker?

  4. #4 NewEnglandBob
    August 19, 2009

    Barney Frank is right where he should be, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

  5. #5 Dave M
    August 19, 2009

    Gephardt, wow, I totally forgot about that guy. Can you believe he ran for President?? Heck, I think I forgot about him *during the campaign*.

  6. #6 RBH
    August 19, 2009

    What I found most interesting about that scene is the video of the woman. Her affect was flat, she showed almost no visible emotion. She looked like a pod person. That was a little scary.

  7. #7 Joe
    August 19, 2009

    Your point is well taken, and I couldn’t agree more about Pelosi and Reid, but being speaker requires different skills than the ability to make snappy remarks.

  8. #8 Lucas McCarty
    August 19, 2009

    It’s not hard to find Frank’s own statements about his chairmanship on his Wikipedia page and he was on The Daily Show not long ago very confidently calling out accusations about him and explaining what his decisions really were and why they were made.

    Whether he’s right or wrong, he doesn’t back out of a challenge and isn’t evasive.

  9. #9 Eric B
    August 19, 2009

    I cannot agree more. I read about his comments while working on my computer….and I wanted to give him a standing ovation right there in my office. Why do more Dems not have the same sized testicles as this man? Stop trying to appease, the Repubs never worried about it when Bush II was in office, and just DO THE RIGHT THING.

  10. #10 Tony P
    August 19, 2009

    Same reason on the local level we get scaredy-cats in leadership positions.

    Right now I’m very displeased with out House Speaker and Senate President.

  11. #11 Jason Rosenhouse
    August 19, 2009

    RBH –

    I had exactly the same reaction to the audience member. She even proudly held up her picture of Obama when Frank was calling her out.

  12. #12 mxh
    August 20, 2009

    I haven’t really been watching network news lately, but my guess would be that Frank’s response will get essentially no airplay.

  13. #13 Tyler DiPietro
    August 20, 2009

    I can also see why Frank was personally offended, being a Jew and all. It would be like walking up to a black congressperson and asking “Why do you support this KKK/Jim Crow/slave-trader policy?”

  14. #14 Dave M
    August 20, 2009

    You might think that, mxh, but the networks do like dramatic moments, and in fact I saw the clip on ABC (I think it was).

  15. #15 megan
    August 20, 2009

    All I can say having met the man during the ’04 DNC convention is “YOU GO with your bad self!” and after his retort to the dumbass woman…”Aww, SNAP!”

    They don’t teach anything about WWII, rise of fascism and Nazis in Germany and Europe anymore in schools do they. Just 2-3 paragraphs for NCLB testing?

  16. #16 MikeB
    August 20, 2009

    Megan – the one thing you do get taught in history in the UK is the rise of the dictators, Hitler, Stalin, et al. I suspect that the Germans also get a lesson or two.

    As an archaeologist, I wish the subject spread was a little more even, but that’s the way it is. On the other hand, I wish the people demonstrating against decent healthcare in the US might at least have a look at the History Channel once in a while…

  17. #17 JN
    August 20, 2009

    Empty suit?

    That’s hardly fair.

    Pelosi is stuffed with cash.

  18. #18 Art
    August 20, 2009

    IMO one of the biggest reasons why the GOP and wingers so easily resort to calling people Nazis, Hitler, socialist, etc, comes down to the fact that they have no understanding of who or what these people and movements were about. Calling someone a Nazi or Hitler in a day and age when most people actually knew something about them, in a day when most every family had someone who was victimized by them, who was killed by them, or had fought against them in a bloody war would get you a bloody nose and no policeman would raise an eyebrow. There were just some names you didn’t use.

    Now days Hitler is just a distant historical figure who ‘did bad things’. Nazism is remembered as National Socialism even though that was misnomer after June 30, 1934. Known as “The Night of the Long Knives”. When Hitler had the leaders of the SA Brownshirts rounded up and executed. An event the Teabaggers, the GOP’s equivalent of Brownshirts, similarly used to intimidate the opposition, need to keep in mind. After June 30 socialism was essentially dead as a concept within Germany.

    Of course pointing out that Hitler was not a socialist is only necessary because of the rise of historical ignorance and the disappearance of genuine socialist, and communists, from the American political scene. Most Americans have never met a socialist or communist and are completely unprepared to tell you the difference between them. Their profound ignorance makes all such distinctions meaningless.

  19. #19 Jerry Coyne
    August 20, 2009

    Right on. We just elected a really smart black man, so can a really smart gay person be far behind? And — dare we hope — some day a really smart atheist?

  20. #20 FastLane
    August 20, 2009

    When I saw this clip (I forget which forum/blog), it was followed by Hannity whining about how mean Frank was. That was an extra dose of irony for the day.

  21. #21 eric
    August 20, 2009

    IMO one of the biggest reasons why the GOP and wingers so easily resort to calling people Nazis, Hitler, socialist, etc, comes down to the fact that they have no understanding of who or what these people and movements were about.

    I doubt the people resorting to Nazi references are particularly concerned with historical accuracy. The goal is emotional impact, not informed comparison.

    I think much of the U.S. population has a much simpler problem than not understanding 20th century history: they do not understand what the word “socialism” means or what counts as socialist. When someone in a town hall meeting demands the government keep its mitts off of Medicare, that doesn’t demand a history lesson. It demands a vocabulary lesson on “Medicare” and “government.”

  22. #22 Mixonph
    August 20, 2009

    The reason he is not the speaker of the house is he is an idiot. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are sound investments” one month before a government take over. Or how about the fact that is in charge of the committee that is SUPPOSE to keep the shitstorm that occurred and is still occurring. (How many banks have failed this year?) And before you blame Bush remember the Democrats have controlled both houses for 3.5 years now, they created the rules that crippled the banking industry.

  23. #23 bmkmd
    August 20, 2009

    Republicans run the country when elected as if the vote were 90 to 10 their favor. Democrats win decisively and Obama can’t stop trying to get a “bipartisan” solution to a problem the Republicans dont’ see as a problem (Insurance companies help the stock market, don’t they?), and have been totally obstructionist.
    The Democrats need to use the leverage they have from the election, from the 57% of American who want a governemnt option to private insurance.
    Obama needs to pay attention to how popular Frank’s is in calling a spade a spade, and he needs to step up to plate and play ball. He was right about presidents needing to have the ability to change course if the circumstances change, and now is a time when our country needs a better health care infrastructure. Our contry needs Obama to lead, not grovel for non-existant bipartisan goals.
    The Republicans don’t know what reason is, what respect is, what tolerance of diferences of opinion is, what honesty and truth are when trying to solve these problems.
    They don’t deserve a say if they are only going to lie and lie in wait to shut down anything progressive.
    So, lets hear it for Barnie Franks. Obama should be as outspoken. He’d be a hell of a better leader.

  24. #24 Jim Harrison
    August 21, 2009

    The Fox network apparently taught Mixonph his math as well as his politics. The Democrats have not controlled both houses for 3.5 years. They have controlled the House of Representatives for 2.5 years and the Senate for half a year.

    Rightwingers obviously favor deductive reasoning. Since they take it as axiomatic that they are right, it just couldn’t be their fault if anything goes wrong. Ergo it must have been Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae that caused all the trouble or maybe some mysterious and unspecified set of regulations. No, Mixonph, it’s your side’s fault. You screwed up the county. You wasted all that money. You supported torture and unprovoked war. You shat all over the Constitution and even the Magna Carta. The Democrats are not the advocates of Teutonic-style politics in this country. That would be the Conservatives. I’m not saying that all extreme right wingers are fascists, mind you. Then Republicans are ginning up their own ghastly but authentically American form of criminal politics. That said, your shameless use of the big lie technique shows what side of street you are working. Your mobs of thuggish, heavily armed supporters may wear hoodies instead of brown shirts but their style is !00% Sturm Abteillung.

  25. #25 Mixonph
    August 21, 2009

    And when democrats were calling Bush and Republican NAZI’s that was fine but if someone dares do the same?

  26. #26 mediajackal
    August 21, 2009

    Mixonph: ‘At’s because Bush and the Rethuglicans who went along with him were fascists. Born-again fascists.

    Gott mit uns, my ass.

  27. #27 Troublesome Frog
    August 24, 2009

    And when democrats were calling Bush and Republican NAZI’s that was fine but if someone dares do the same?

    No, that was out of line too. There are degrees of stupid, though. Which comparison to fascism is more apt:

    1) Offering government-funded health insurance.
    2) Making people “disappear” and torturing them.

    I’m far from a fan of the over-the-top accusations, but one of those is rhetorically excessive and the other is just flat stupid.

  28. #28 Evolution denier
    August 26, 2009

    Because barney is too stupid. It was barney and the democraps that fixd the housing market and made it crash. They thought that lending people money to buy houses they coul not pay for was a great idea becuase it was “tolerant” of poor people. The idiot never learned that you can’t spend money that you do not have.

    If you had 35 cents and wanted a coke (not pepsi, they are anti-Christian)from the machine that requested 50 cents guess what? You don’t have the money to get the coke! Idiot!

    barney cannot do simple fisrt grade math calculations.

    Plus the fact that he cannot speak without slobbering all over you doesn’t help matters either.

    My friend at work who hates Frank and his speech impediment, layed out a good joke about him today though:

    If barney Frank created an new football team the team would only have wide receivers and tight ends. get it?

    The team would be in San Fransicko and be called the San Fransisco Fudgepackers.

    Other than that, he’s not much good at anything else and probably isn’t even good at being gay.

  29. #29 Tyler DiPietro
    August 26, 2009

    Shorter Evolution denier: “Barney Frank caused the housing crisis by forcing the poor banks to give money to shiftless darkies.”

  30. #30 Rumpleforskin
    August 27, 2009

    Which communist set of rules did you follow to say this? I know that socialists have been wanting control of America for a long time. Which goal was this under? Look up 45 steps of communism in America to find the complete list of horrible goals the far left stalinists have planned for the greatest country in the world – soon to be a shithole of leftists homo fudgepackers, and marxists. Marxism and its followers should be banished from America for eternity.

  31. #31 LMB
    August 31, 2009

    What a breath of fresh air. Barney Frank said what needed to be said. Bravo!

  32. #32 cinsel sohbet
    September 1, 2009

    Thank you, you answered the question I have been searching for which was whether or not to place keywords when blog commenting.

  33. #33 Evden Eve
    February 7, 2011

    It demands a vocabulary lesson on “Medicare” and “government.”
    good.

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