You can count me amongst the people that think Barney Frank should be appointed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to replace John Kerry once he goes to State, although my support would be less enthusiastic if he doesn’t also say that he won’t run for the seat when Kerry’s term expires. The power of the incumbent is terrible and I like clean and fair fights when it comes to elections.
Frank would be a clear and strong voice for progressives in the Senate, where the Democratic caucus as a whole tends to be corporatist and cowardly with only a few exceptions and often held hostage by conservative Democrats that make New England Republicans look like, well, Massachusetts liberals. I’m sure he wouldn’t be without his drawbacks, of course. But who isn’t?
What seems to be the biggest stumbling block towards that appointment is Deval Patrick may end up throwing a temper tantrum because of Frank’s aggressive lobbying for the job. So what you have here is a strong progressive voice for government reform that would be an ideal Senator for deep blue Massachusetts, a voice good for his state and his country, probably not getting the job because the state’s Democratic Governor who is great friends with Frank wants to be his own man.
Things like this make Democratic voters sick because it’s actually worse than putting party first and country last; it’s putting self first and everything else second. Although that specific behavior is more common in the modern GOP, it’s the sheer number of stupid decisions that Democrats make, like this one, that drive Democratic voters nuts.
Given a fair hearing without having to swim a sea of lies amidst a storm of substance-free rhetoric, I think Democratic ideas tend to prevail more often than not. Think Medicare, Social Security, fiscal responsibility through balanced spending cuts and tax increases, some of the key and hugely popular components of the PPACA like pre-existing conditions, and even gun regulation. Here we have a clear opportunity to temporarily appoint a voice in favor of these ideas that may never come to pass because one Governor can’t swallow his pride. That’s basically the entire story of the Democratic Party.