Burt Prelutsky

When the facts hit the fan, even the liberal Boston Globe called on Frank to resign. But, like Studds and unlike Foley, he decided to tough it out. Once again, Congress circled the wagons, letting their colleague off with a reprimand; the final vote was 408-18. If you have any curiosity at all, you have to wonder about those 18 nay-sayers. Were they sensible people who had decided that such votes were simply a waste of everybody’s time? Were they, perhaps, clients of Mr. Gobie, fearful that a vindictive Barney Frank might out them? Or were they the only 18 people on the face of the earth who actually believed Barney when he claimed he had no idea what was going on under his own roof? One final tidbit worth noting: among the 18 was none other than Nancy Pelosi!

Naturally, Frank won re-election in 1990 by a 2-1 margin. Over the ensuing years, the margin increased to such an extent that these days, he pretty much runs unopposed. In Massachusetts, they don’t send their troublemakers to jail or rehab, they send them to Washington.

Today, with nearly a quarter of a century in Congress, Barney Frank is one of themost powerful members of that august body, undeniably one of the 600-pound gorillas in the Democratic party. What’s more, in 2004, in a survey of Capitol Hill staffers, Frank was deemed to be the most intelligent Democrat in the House. (Talk about damning with faint praise!)

The same survey concluded that Barney was the funniest guy in the House. I, myself, have no way of knowing, however, if the respondents were referring to his wit or his lisp.