Home / General / Quite Frankly, That’s Devastating

Quite Frankly, That’s Devastating


Someone needs to hire Barney Frank to write for them right now:

Recently, while waiting to be interviewed by the Huffington Post, I read something that gave me a very odd sensation. I knew what it must have felt like to be an alleged Iraqi weapon of mass destruction: Dick Cheney had lied about us both.

A copy of Cheney’s autobiography was on the table, and I gave it what is known as a “Washington read” – I went to the index and found my name – and read one of the most inaccurate criticisms ever made of my public record. Cheney wrote that in 2003 the Bush administration had sent legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Congress, but “it was killed by Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank.”

That year he led us into war to destroy weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. And I was not the chairman of the financial service committee in 2003 – or in 2004, 2005 or 2006. A Republican was.


To be clear, Cheney’s statement that I killed the bill as chairman of the Financial Service Committee in 2003 is not an exaggeration; it is not a misinterpretation; it is not a distortion. It is a lie.


As a final demonstration of the right wing’s total rewriting of history on the subject, when our committee did vote out a bill to restrict subprime mortgages, we were attacked in an editorial on Nov. 6, 2007, by The Wall Street Journal for interfering with the free market. In a passage they now must wish they never wrote, the editorialists strongly defended the subprime loans that were a major cause of the crisis: “But for all the demonizing, about 80 percent of even sub-prime loans are being repaid on time and another 10 percent are only 30 days behind. Most of these new homeowners are low-income families, often minorities, who would otherwise not have qualified for a mortgage. In the name of consumer protection, Mr. Frank’s legislation will ensure that far fewer of these loans are issued in the future.”

As to Cheney, I guess I should feel consoled that he simply lied about me, and did not invade my home.

PolitiFact has rated Cheney’s claim that Frank was chair of the Financial Services Committee in 2003 mostly true, since there were years when he was chair. Close enough for a Republican!

[HT: JfL]

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    In a passage they now must wish they never wrote,

    Who’s naive now, Kay?

    We are talking about the WSJ here after all.

    • Kurzleg

      The WSJ cannot fail; it can only be failed.

  • The prophet Nostradumbass

    The very first comment on that article is hilarious. He first says that nobody cares what Frank has to say, then goes to great lengths to complain about what he said.

  • Anthony

    I wonder if there’s a section in which Hank Paulson bursts into Cheney’s office crying and dramatically confessing that Cheney was right about letting Lehman Brothers collapse.

  • herr doktor bimler

    That’s not the way the past really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own memories. And while you’re studying that memory — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new memories, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s editors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.

    • Dear Deputy Chief of Staff Karl ‘The Architect’ Rove Liz Cheney: Go fuck yourself.

  • Manta

    “I knew what it must have felt like to be an alleged Iraqi weapon of mass destruction: Dick Cheney had lied about us both.”

    So Barney Frank’s existence was a Cheney’s fabrication to scare the rubes?

    • pseudalicious

      Everything makes sense now.

  • LeeEsq

    Go, Barney, Go.

    • Jared

      Why don’t you tell us more about how there’s no apartheid in Israel?

      • Thread-Jacking Troll Association

        Because he isn’t one of us, Jared.

  • Hogan

    That will definitely leave a mark on whatever Cheney now has instead of skin.

    • fka AWS

      That will definitely leave a mark on whatever Cheney now has instead of skin.

      Like Cheney gives a damn. It’s a nice smackdown, but it would be so much more satisfying if there were one iota of possibility that the subject of said smackdown would feel any sense of shame, remorse, humility or even anger about it.

    • BigHank53

      I’d back off and nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

  • And then there’s the underlying barb that he wouldn’t have picked up Cheney’s book if it weren’t somewhere he happened to have some spare time. I always assume that people who mess with Frank are mental masochists. They must know it is going to unleash a verbal ass paddling.

    PolitiFact has rated Cheney’s claim that Frank was chair of the Financial Services Committee in 2003 mostly true, since there were years when he was chair.

    Jesu, is this true?

    • PolitiFact


    • witless chum

      Not yet.

    • SNF

      I can’t find it on Politifact’s website.

    • “Yolk here.”

    • Timb

      It was so plausible, I even went to check. Damn you, Scott, for making me your patsy

    • rea

      PolitiFact has rated Cheney’s claim that Richard I was Queen of England in 2003 mostly true, since there were years when he was the English monarch.

      • Breadbaker

        “PolitiFact” (quotation marks mandatory) has rated Cheney’s claim that Helen Mirren was King of Switzerland in 1184 “mostly true” since Mirren once did play a European monarch in a movie.

  • Speaking of things people wish they hadn’t done, here is Frank on the House floor babbling something about there being no leverage in the housing market.

    • joe from Lowell

      From the article you didn’t read:

      I had been too sanguine about Fannie Mae in 2003, but I changed my opinion by 2004. In 2005 I worked with the House Republican Chairman, Mike Oxley, to pass a bill to restrain it. What then happened was a serious dispute among Republicans. The bill the Republican House passed to restrain Fannie and Freddie died – in Oxley’s phrase because “President Bush gave me the one-finger salute.”

      See how that works?

  • Jon H

    Hey, how about the Washington Post give Richard Cohen’s column to Barney?

    • LeeEsq

      The editors of the Post aren’t that smart.

    • People with conventional views would gag.

    • drkrick

      Cohen has that column specifically to make sure no competent liberal gets it by accident.

  • rvman

    Frank wasn’t Chair. But he was ranking member, Bush did propose reforms, and the Democrats, led by Frank, did block it in committee.

    Significant details must still be worked out before Congress can approve a bill. Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

    ”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ”The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

    Here is the NY Times article about the proposal.

    • catclub

      “led by Frank, did block it in committee. ”
      How does that work for a minority? Did they filibuster it?
      Did progress require unanimous consent?

      • mds

        Yes, Rep. Frank in fact personally led the filibuster on the floor of the House of Representatives. Which was unnecessary showboating, since the approval of the ranking member of the minority party on committees was required in order to report out any legislation in the GOP-controlled House, in compliance with the Horseshit Rule.

        Anyway, thanks to Democrats dragging their feet, a bill to more closely regulate Fannie and Freddie alone, who were followers rather than leaders in the otherwise-unregulated subprime market, was critically delayed. By the time new Chairman Frank got around to proposing his own legislation, which targeted subprime more generally, Countrywide was already beyond help. And Countrywide, as we all know, was a major defrauder wholly-owned subsidiary of Fannie Mae. Connect the dots, sheeple!

        • NBarnes

          You… uh… can’t… there’s no filibuster in the House. You know that… right?

          • Malaclypse

            There is also no sarcasm on LGM threads. You know that… right?

          • mds

            Gauis Julius Caesar’s undead spirit, Barnes, I even referred to “the Horseshit Rule.” I mean, I know it can be hard to tell these days, since wingnut dumbshits still blame Barney Frank for a bunch of what the House did from 1995-2007, but “Connect the dots, sheeple!” is supposed to be an internet tradition by now. Must I abandon sarcasm entirely? Liberally sprinkle in the young folks’s “emotion icons”? Always include <sarcasm> tags? What?

            • Timb

              Just write it like you did, because it made me happy

            • More Poe, less Ravens.

        • Jordan

          I feel like this story left out crucial details about tying onions to one’s belt.

          • joe from Lowell

            Barney Frank made everyone give one out of every five bees to blah people.

    • joe from Lowell

      Frank wasn’t Chair. But he was ranking member,

      And we all remember the huge amounts of power wielded by the minority party in the House in 2003.

      Bush did propose reforms, and the Democrats, led by Frank, did block it in committee.

      Really? Does the House banking committee allow for a minority filibuster? By all means, explain how those mean Democrats, led by Barney Frank, managed to block something while in the minority. Take all the time you need.

      • Jordan

        They had Librul Media, Gay Mafia, STAR, Endangered RINOs, and East Coast Elitists. That gives you wingnut bingo, and hence the ability to block any and all legislation.

        • Timb

          I love this, so much I want to marry it

        • Hogan

          Not many people realize that Hollywood Squares was based on the House rules.

          Paul Lynde for the block, please.

        • joe from Lowell

          I hesitate to ask, but: STAR?

          • Jordan

            Well, it is the freespace mandatory socialist energy efficiency program for housing that drastically raised prices and so directly led to the housing bubble. Or whatever. Star Jones works too (her tenure as a co-host on The View directly overlaps with the housing bubble. COINCIDENCE?)

        • southend

          And ACORN. You forgot ACORN.

    • Rob in CT

      I imagine that’s why Frank’s article includes the line “I was too sanguine about them in 2003, but by 2004 I’d changed my mind.” He did come out against the 2003 oversight proposal. I’m still not clear (the Times article does not say) how the Dems blocked it since the GOP had control of the House… how did the Dems have control of the committee?

    • efgoldman

      Majority rule, how does it work?

      • joe from Lowell

        The Democrats complain that Senate Republicans use record numbers of filibusters to block Senate business, while rvman complains that Barney Frank and the House banking committee minority blocked a bill the Republicans supported in some unexplained manner.

        Both sides do it.

      • DrDick

        Don’t ask a conservative!

    • Glenn

      The official history of this proposal as reported by the (GOP-controlled) Financial Services Commmittee:

      Legislative History
      On June 24, 2003, Mr. Baker introduced H.R. 2575 with twenty
      original cosponsors. On September 25, 2003, the full Committee
      held a hearing on the bill and on the Administration’s proposal for improved GSE regulation. No further action was taken on this
      measure during the 108th Congress.

      • Julian

        Sure, but I think the clear subtext is that Barney Frank blocked it.

      • Hogan

        Well, yeah, because the entire committee was locked in Barney Frank’s basement until the end of the 108th Congress in 2004. But you won’t hear that reported in the lamestream media.

      • Orly Teetertotter

        I won’t believe a word of it until I am granted an onsite in person unscheduled inspection of the original long form vault preserved record.

  • The funny thing here isn’t so much Cheney making a mistake – he’s an old dude, and who even wrote that book for him, really. I sincerely doubt it was an intentional misstatement.

    The funny part is the publisher’s evident assumption that there is just no point in even pretending to fact-check a manuscript from Cheney. I mean, where would that end?

    • efgoldman

      there is just no point in even pretending to fact-check a manuscript from Cheney any winger.


    • Rob in CT

      This meme that Barney Frank (and Democratic attempts to help the poor/minorities – the CRA, etc) is to blame for the financial panic of 2008 goes back to, as I recall, late 2008. Possibly very early 2009. I don’t think it originated with Dark Cheney, though it’s possible. It entered the wingnutosphere and became “fact.” It’s entirely possible that it therefore is the sort of thing that “everybody knows” in some circles. Why would one fact check such a thing? ;)

      • Rob in CT

        Dark s/b Darth. Meh.

      • catclub

        Agreed – it is just accepted. Except by Barry Ritholtz!

        He fights it valiantly – but only with facts – so the meme continues.

      • Crunchy Frog

        That’s correct. In a desperate attempt to blame Democrats for the George W. Bush stock market crash of 2008 the wingnut press came up with two theories that are now considered as fact amongst all wingnuts from Scalia on down: 1) that a community lending law from the late 1970s forced those poor unfortunate banks to grant mortgages to shifty, lazy, dark skinned people who blew all the money on cadillacs and t-bone, chicken-fried watermelons, and 2) that gay congressman Barney gay Fag Frank (who is gay, not that there is anything wrong with that, some of the GOP’s top aides best friends are gay) prevented the GOP from avoiding the collapse by blocking reform legislation in his powerful position in the minority party in the House.

        Both charges were utter bullshit – you may recall Frank addressed the one about him directly during a Democratic press conference during the height of the 2008 crisis after House GOP members had blocked the first bailout bill. But, as we know, you can’t kill a zombie wingnut lie. These are both now part of the GOP gospel and part of the what all GOP candidates must believe in order to be elected.

        • Rob in CT

          My parents really believe it. My father has said, repeatedly, that Barney Frank, Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson (!) are to blame for the crash. He is not stupid, though he is now aged and watches a lot of FoxNews. Ergo, this is FACT, despite it making no sense whatsoever.

          • Barry Freed

            My parents are the same. You have my sympathies.

            • cpinva

              yep, mine too. on top of that, my mother is convinced the gays are taking over television!

              • cpinva

                sorry, that should have read: TAKING OVER THE TELEVISION!!!!!!!!!!!

                • Gays on the telly? Isn’t that risky? What if they fall off?

                • Fed up in PA

                  somebody bring paul lynde back from the dead to confirm that

        • Timb

          GOPers are still angry that the CRA in question outlawed red-lining

          • catclub

            And they probably do not know if they are referring to the Civil Rights Act or the Community Reinvestment Act

            • Hogan

              You mean they’re not the same thing?

          • I got sick enough of the CRA charge that I did a little research and wrote three posts on it back at my place (here’s the main one). Thank gawd for the NY law firm Traiger and Hinckley. They crunched enough 2006 loan data to murder this lie in its bed. Turns out the banks regulated by CRA were the most responsible lenders during the crisis.

            • timb

              “murder’ the lie? Oh, sure, it’s dead to normal people, but it’s a zombie lie on the Right

            • Not to mention the fact that geographically the housing bubble doesn’t match up well with the CRA story. A lot of the horrible mortgages were in places like suburban Phoenix, not places where the CRA is actually a bigger factor like the poorer neighborhoods of Chicago. Plus, you know, there were the same, or probably even worse, problems in Spain and Ireland, where even Dick Cheney has never claimed that Barney Frank was in charge o lending standards.

      • I would push it back to lat 2007 when there was coverage of a sudden increase in mortgage defaults. The immediate response was HA HA SOME BLAHS LIED TO GET MORTGAGES AND NOW THEY’RE ALL HOMELESS!! Then it was HA HA SOME DEADBEAT POORS LIED TO GET MORTGAGES…!!

        And then enough of those fuckers had to admit their audience and even people they knew were in deep shit so calling them deadbeats wasn’t safe and they shut up for a bit.

        One problem the Right repeatedly creates for itself is it attempts to re-write history that is burnt into too many people’s memories.

        Maybe 100 years from now it will be Accepted Truth that Democratic President George Barack invaded Iraq and his squad of Black Panther Acorn Thugs caused the housing crisis, but at that point no one will give a shit.

      • joe from Lowell

        You know who helped lead the pushback against the Big Lie about the Community Reinvestment Act?

        Then San Francisco Federal Reserve Board President Janet Yellen,, prior to Obama’s appointment of her as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors.

      • Timb

        Limbaugh says it everyday. Two journalists wrote a book blaming Frank and the GSE’s. I hate to flash back to Sorkin, but the line “to make you afraid of the problem. And, then to tell you who’s to blame for it” is pretty much like the Right

      • Malaclypse

        This meme that Barney Frank (and Democratic attempts to help the poor/minorities – the CRA, etc) is to blame for the financial panic of 2008 goes back to, as I recall, late 2008. Possibly very early 2009.

        Spring/Summer 2008.

        Also, too, I miss Tanta.

        • Crunchy Frog

          Me too.

          • Malaclypse

            She could make a 30,000 word blog post on how banks recognize income on neg-am loans into something you didn’t want to end, because she made it so fucking fascinating. The internet is a poorer place without her.

            Also, Mortgage Pig and Excel Art.

        • Rob in CT

          Fucking hell, they spewed it before the sh*t even fully hit the fan. Bastards.

          • joe from Lowell

            Reason magazine and its commenters were hot and heavy on that line in 2008.

            Which made it so much fun to throw in their faces a CATO report from about 2003, which argued that we don’t need the CRA because non-bank mortgage companies were offering all sorts of innovative mortgage products in low-income and minority neighborhoods.

    • Joey Maloney

      In heartache and tears. And possibly a faceful of buckshot.

    • Timb

      That IS funny. I actually laughed loudly, which caused stares. I blame you, Anderson

    • Randy

      I sincerely doubt it was an intentional misstatement.

      What in the man’s history would lead you to that conclusion?

      • Origami Isopod


        • Yeah. Precisely. Cheney didn’t end up lying about everything because he’s got Alzheimers, like Reagan–if the lie weren’t deliberate but were the product of old age the book would have been full of inadvertant admissions of the truth mixed with fantasy stories about his sexual prowess and ability to seduce beautiful women.

      • Trollhattan

        I think at some point (likely soon after listing the many reasons not to march on Baghdad during Desert Storm) Cheney took on the persona of Younger Bear, the contrary warrior in Little Big Man, and has steadfastly continued ever sense. Certainly suits him.

        • Trollhattan

          sense, since, cents, scents, sins…scheiss.

  • JustRuss

    IANAL, but could Frank sue Cheney and his publisher for defamation of character? From what I can recall from Journalism 101, seems he’d have a case. Even if he lost, oh what fun!

    • Breadbaker

      Putting New York Times v. Sullivan aside, the chances that Barney Frank could, with a straight face (which of course Barney doesn’t have), claim that Dick Cheney’s statements about him can have an impact on his character for libel purposes is zero.

      • Hogan

        Reminds me of the Onion headline: “Gay Man Admits to Being Governor of New Jersey.”

      • Glenn

        So true. That actually raises an interesting question I’ve never thought of before. One sometimes uses the term “libel-proof” to describe certain persons/plaintiffs — meaning, they are already held in such disrepute that nothing you say could defame them further. Might there be a similar concept for speakers/defendants, i.e., their credibility is already so low that no one would take their otherwise-defamatory comments seriously?

        Of course, Cheney would seem to fall in both categories.

  • jkay

    Cut that out! I miss my decades-long CSPAN Frank dose, and you’re doubling the reminder….

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