Barney-baiting newspaper The Boston Herald has been running stories since last week's Republican takeover of the House that Republicans are eager to put Barney Frank's head on a platter, using his alleged interference with attempts to "reform" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the starting point for "investigations" into Frank's role in the entire mortgage meltdown mess. Predictably, the pugnacious Frank has fired back with both barrels, in effect echoing a former foe, George W. Bush, by exclaiming "Bring It On!"
A lot of this post-election vitriol reminds me of threats issued by left-wingnuts in the aftermath of the 2008 Democratic general election victories to launch investigations into the Bush administration's conduct in the run-up to the Iraq War. The "Bush Bashers" quickly lost their zeal when Democratic party leaders told them that they had bigger fish to fry, like cramming health care and financial reform legislation down the nation's throat. At this point, I suspect many Republicans might have traded investigations for both sweeping pieces of "reform," but for the country's sake, it's probably just as well that we didn't go there. The partisan moon battery that we've seen too much of from both ends of the political spectrum lately would have been driven off the deep end had such investigations been pursued.
While regular readers know that my feelings for Barney are not tender, I don't see the benefit to such a probe. For one thing, Republicans don't have clean hands in the run-up to the economic collapse of 2008 and certainly aren't going to like it when Democrats rake up as much dirt on them as they hope to on the Democrats. For another thing, in case guys like Ed Royce didn't get last Tuesday's main message, it's this: a majority of Americans loathe all of you clowns in D.C. precisely because you spend more time screwing with one another than you do addressing the nation's problems in any kind of constructive manner. Waging a jihad against Barney Frank isn't in your "mandate," my brothers.
Moreover, does anyone they think that an experienced street fighter like Frank is going to roll over and play dead? He may be slimy, but he's an intelligent and ruthless slimeball, and frankly (no pun intended...ok, maybe a small one), I think that this last election proved that no matter what Frank's found to have done, unless it involves something that would shock the conscience of Brie-eaters (like attending a John Rich/Cowboy Troy/Trace Adkins concert), he's going to be re-elected by his district's voters until he drops dead at his desk.
Here's an idea: when it comes to assigning blame for the mortgage debacle, why don't we all do what we should have done before we passed a 2300+ page financial reform bill: wait until the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that was set up by Congress in 2009 to determine the causes of the crisis finishes it work and issues its report, which is supposed to happen by December 15, 2010. I know, that's radical thinking, but there you have it. They'll be plenty of time after that report is issued to engage in a flurry of finger-pointing, blame-gaming, and Monday-morning-quarterbacking that should satisfy everyone in D.C. with an axe to grind.