Barney Frank isn't just another liberal. And he is much more than just an openly gay congressman. He is a powerful legislator who happens to be chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
This makes Frank a central and influential player in government's response to the current mortgage crisis that has rocked our financial markets. The decisions that Frank, a Democrat, makes can put taxpayers on the hook for not just billions, but trillions of dollars. These are decisions that effect our pocketbooks but also our freedom. They influence the size and scope of government in the lives of every American citizen.
So, yes, I care a lot about what Barney Frank thinks, and how he thinks, on any subject that I know matters to him.
It's why I paid particular attention when Frank decided to join the liberal chorus attacking conservatives on the issue of John McCain's selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.
In an op-ed in his hometown paper, the Boston Globe, Frank portrays conservatives as small-minded and intolerant folk who are willing to hypocritically look the other way, and forgive where they normally would not forgive, in order to get one of their own into a position of power.
With regard to Palin's sister's divorce, and the pregnancy of her teenage daughter, "people of the right," according to Frank, "seek to impose strict standards on others, and blame them for falling short, while making exceptions for those close to them."
This, in contrast to liberals, who for Frank are honest about and realistic in addressing life's many challenges, and ready to forgive, at the drop of a hat, those who stray off the path.
In Frank's mind, liberalism is tantamount to respect and compassion. And conservatism amounts to intolerance and self-righteousness.
My guess is that Crystal Dixon, who I wrote about earlier this year, doesn't quite see the world as Barney Frank does.
Dixon, a black Christian woman, wrote an op-ed that was published in the Toledo Free Press, as a counter point to a pro-gay opinion column that had appeared in the paper. She challenged that column and expressed her sense, as a Christian, that homosexual behavior is unacceptable. She also challenged the premise equating unwillingness to accept homosexuality to racial discrimination ("I cannot wake up tomorrow morning and not be a black woman").
Dixon was fired from the administrative position she held at the University of Toledo for writing this column and expressing her views.