Brilliant, but acid tongued and generally unpleasant, Mr. Frank ruled with an iron gavel, ran over critics with delight and treated committee members and especially Republican colleagues as lesser forms of life.
Mr. Frank’s departure in January 2013 will remove from the House one of its more offensive members. Until then, this petulant, abrasive and downright nasty Congressman will keep making his presence known.
However, it is unlikely that Mr. Frank is leaving for the reason he should depart Congress: out of shame for all he did to stop reform of Fannie and Freddie while there was still time to avert the disaster that almost took down the American economy.
In 2003, he called Fannie and Freddie “fundamentally sound financially” and accused the Bush Administration of trying to “exaggerate a threat of safety… [to] conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see."
A year later, he said talk of financial problems at Fannie and Freddie were “an artificial issue created by the administration...I don't think we are in any remote danger here."
In 2007, as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and just as Fannie and Freddie – overleveraged and stuffed to the gills with risky mortgages they’d encouraged and facilitated – were about to go over the cliff, Mr. Frank attacked President George W. Bush’s call for reform as “inane.”
Yet when Fannie and Freddie went belly up in the fall of 2008, Mr. Frank voted for the same Bush Administration reforms that could have averted the bankruptcies of Fannie and Freddie.
Why did Mr. Frank oppose giving these two gigantic financial institutions the same scrutiny as a local bank, a neighborhood savings and loan or a community credit union?
Fannie and Freddie provided “grease” for the Democratic political machine