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Barney Frank wants to be a senator. Is that a good thing or bad? (+video)

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Barney Frank says he wants to be a US senator. Is that a good thing or bad?

Let’s back up and fill in the background here, shall we? Representative Frank (D) of Massachusetts just retired after 16 terms in the House. For 32 years, he’s been pretty much the sharpest-tongued person on Capitol Hill, as well as cantankerous, intelligent, irritating, effective, and outrageous, often all at the same time. He once summed himself up this way: “I’m a left-handed gay Jew. I’ve never felt automatically a member of any majority."

He’s had low moments. In 1990, the House voted to reprimand him for fixing parking tickets for a live-in aide who was also a male prostitute. Republicans consider him the definition of a tax-and-spend liberal.

He’s also had highs. As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, he helped write the 2010 Dodd-Frank act of financial-institution reforms. The left wing of the Democratic Party considers him a hero.

In the past, he insisted he was leaving Congress for good. He demurred even after President Obama tapped Sen. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts as the nominee for secretary of State, opening up an interim Senate seat. Frank said he was just too bone tired for the job.

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