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The Wit Of Barney Frank - A Brief Sampler

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Barney Frank announced this week that he would not seek another term in Congress. Frank, who was first elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1980, is perhaps the most unique lawmaker currently serving in Washington.

The first openly gay member of Congress, that bit of trivia forms only the smallest piece of his reputation. Witty, intelligent and openly pugnacious, Frank's legacy will largely be tied to the Dodd-Frank act, the financial reform bill that he helped steer through Congress along with now-former Senator Chris Dodd.

In a political world of pre-packaged soundbites and perfectly crafted speeches delivered ahead of time to journalists, with pertinent quotes pulled out and highlighted, Frank usually spoke off-the-cuff. And the results were often more interesting, more funny and more memorable than almost any other words uttered in Washington.

So on the occasion of the announcement of his retirement, here are some choice Barney Frank quotes:

"Memory eventually fails us all, but apparently the decline strikes one party far more than the other."

"If I was going to limit free speech, I would make it a misdemeanor to use metaphors in the discussion of public policy."

"Gay people have a different role than other minority groups . . . Very few black kids have ever had to worry about telling their parents that they were black."

"The problem with the war in Iraq is not so much the intelligence as the stupidity."

"Conservatives believe that from the standpoint of the federal government, life begins at conception and ends at birth."

"People might cite George Bush as proof that you can be totally impervious to the effects of Harvard and Yale education."

"In the business I am in, sometimes you get credit for the sun shining and sometimes you get blamed when it rains."

"[A Republican candidate] said that if the Democrats won, Nancy Pelosi would allow me to implement the radical homosexual agenda . . . I don't have one. I felt inadequate. I mean, I do think we should allow gay and lesbian people to serve in the military and get married and have a job but, by tradition of radical standards, being in the military, working for a living and getting married are not the stuff of radicalism."

"But on those occasions when I do strongly disagree with the Democrats and I don't say anything, I think I forfeit my right to have people pay attention to me when I say the things that I don't like about what Republicans are saying."

Most of these, and many other Barney Frank quotes can be found on the quote database searchquotes.com and on barneyfrank.net, a campaign site paid for by the Barney Frank for Congress Committee.

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