BARNEY FRANK: Truth, Lies, Privacy
Throughout his eighteen-year tenure in the United States House of Representatives, Representative Barney Frank has received all types of criticism and praise, ranging from derogatory statements pertaining to his sexual preferences, to outstanding compliments similar to the ones received by the great orators in the history of our country. Many of these comments surfaced during the recent impeachment trial for President Clinton, where Representative Frank dazzled and enraged many of his political colleagues with his unique “laser-sharp wit and quips” (Alvarez, 1998).
Throughout his political career and most recently, the impeachment trial, Representative Frank freely voiced his opinion of the President and his actions with an almost invincible aura emanating with each comment. It is true that Representative Frank emerged as one of Clinton’s strongest defenders, but Representative Frank did not assume the typical role of a completely loyal and faithful supporter. Representative Frank made exhilarating arguments in defense of the President, and he publicly denounced the President’s actions just as quickly when he did not agree with them. By supporting the President in such a fashion, it is hard to imagine why Representative Frank was not constantly under attack, but rather still able to clearly state his opinions to an audience that was still very eager to listen.
Of course like any other politician, Representative Frank has his allies and his enemies, yet he does not seem to weigh them as heavily as other politicians appear to. Enemies or simply people who do not necessarily see eye to eye with Representative Frank, have branded Frank as:
“very intimidating, harassing, with an ability to use humor that enables him to win debate on tactics alone, rather than substance,”says Jones.”His style reminds me of a petulant adolescent who has to have his own way. He’s a stand-up comedian in congressional clothes, a very funny guy in the Don Rickles/Jackie Mason mold”(Elvin, 1998).
Another one of Frank’s rivals, Howard Phillips of Conservative Caucus, who began debating with Frank in their undergraduate days at Harvard, stated that Representative Frank is:
“a person of great energy, and great passion, for the wrong causes. God gave him extraordinary talent and he’s using it for evil rather than for good. Barney is a very capable fellow with a very distorted view of what’s right and what’s wrong”(Elvin, 1998).
Along with the negative criticism directed at Representative Frank comes a great number of positive, uplifting compliments such as the following by Representative Henry Hyde: