Burt Prelutsky

In the immediate wake of the Mark Foley affair, I wrote a piece in which I highlighted the hypocrisy of the Democrats in calling not only for his resignation, but for every other member of the GOP to vacate the nation’s capitol by nightfall.

I pointed out that in 1983, two congressmen -- one a Democrat, the other a Republican -- were caught having sex with House pages. Neither of the louts was booted out of Congress, as Newt Gingrich urged. Instead, they were censured. Which is the congressional equivalent of a doting father saying about his mischievous son, “Well, boys will be boys.”

The following year, the Republican, Dan Crane, who’d been involved with a 17 year old female, lost his bid for re-election. The Democrat, Gerry Studds, who’d been involved with a 17 year old male, was not only re-elected, but continued to hold his seat and wield power until 1996, when he finally decided to resign.

Some readers wrote to suggest I should also have mentioned Bill Clinton’s dalliance with Monica Lewinsky as further proof of the double standards the Democrats employ when it’s one of their oxen that’s being gored. Obviously, it had occurred to me, but Lewinsky was no longer a teenager when she took up cigars, and she certainly was no innocent babe in the woods…or in the cloakroom, for that matter.

There is, however, a much better example of Democratic duplicity, and he’s right there in the House of Representatives. I refer to Barney Frank, who, like Studds, is a congressman from Massachusetts. Also, like Studds and Foley, he is a high profile homosexual who’s been involved in a sex scandal.

In 1990, Steve Gobie placed an ad seeking employment. Apparently, the congressman was really impressed with Mr. Gobie’s references because he quickly moved him into his apartment. Soon, Gobie was running a male prostitution ring out of Frank’s place. In the meantime, in appreciation of Gobie’s excellent service, the people’s servant tried to use his influence to fix 33 parking tickets for his roommate.

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.