Don’t miss our editorial on his overdue departure from Congress.
If I may, I’d like to offer a more basic critique of the man. He’s a bully. The liberal establishment has a hard time seeing liberal bullies, I think because they see bullying as a conservative trait for some reason. It’s not. There are bullies across the ideological spectrum.
Still, that Barney Frank is a bully shouldn’t surprise anyone who subscribes to the most conventional explanations for why bullies are the way they are. Growing up a very smart gay Jewish kid with a lisp in Bayonne, New Jersey seems like a recipe for insecurity straight out of a sitcom script. It also helps to explain why Barney Frank can be so funny. He’s learned to channel his browbeating skills for political purposes, to be sure. And presumably, given his success in life he’s lost some of his insecurities. But you can still see it in the man. It’s closely tied to other character traits — arrogance, impatience, etc. But there’s still a distinct domineering, inquisitorial, nastiness to him, a bitter edge, that delights in the applause of the crowd as he torments his victims. As with all bullies, he rationalizes his behavior by telling himself that the victims deserve it and the applause is for his courage. But you can tell from that occasional smile at the discomfiture of his targets, that there’s something more primal at work.