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Barney Frank on Rick Warren, Obama, and the “Gay Agenda”

Jim Burroway

January 8th, 2009

Jeffrey Toobin has a great profile of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) in the latest New Yorker. First thing that pops out is that Frank intends to be much more aggressive than Obama:

Frank’s mordant view of human nature presents a contrast to the sunnier approach of President-elect Obama, a difference reflected in their dispute over Obama’s choice to have Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor, give the invocation at the Inauguration. “Obama tends to overstate his ability to get people to change their opinions and underestimates the importance of confronting ideological differences,” Frank told me. “It’s one thing to talk to somebody. I talk to more conservatives than anyone, because I’m trying to get legislation passed. But it’s another to make Rick Warren the most honored clergyman in the world.” In California, Warren supported Proposition 8, the successful anti-gay-marriage referendum. “Now, when we fight Warren in California, we are going to hear, ‘Oh, yeah, but Obama picked him for the inaugural.’ He doesn’t deserve that honor. And I don’t want to hear that the other clergyman at the inaugural, Reverend [Joseph] Lowery, supports gay rights. I didn’t vote for a tie in the election.”

Frank worries that Obama’s evenhandedness may prove to be a political liability.

I think we all can relate to that worry. Frank, on the other hand, won’t let that get in the way of what he thinks needs to be done for the economy (he’s chairman of the powerful Committee on Financial Services) and for LGBT rights:

Frank is uncharacteristically hopeful about the future, including gay rights. “We’re going to do three things in Congress,” he told me. “First, a hate-crimes bill—that shouldn’t be too hard. Next, employment discrimination. We almost got that through before, but now we can win even if we add transgender protections, which we are going to do. And finally, after the troops get home from Iraq, gays in the military. The time has come.” [Emphasis mine]

That last point is key. If we’re going to wait until after the troops get home from Iraq, then repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” probably won’t happen for a very long time. But his response to those who claim that this represents some sort of radical agenda was pretty good:

“I do not think that any self-respecting radical in history would have considered advocating people’s rights to get married, join the Army, and earn a living as a terribly inspiring revolutionary platform.”

Comments

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Pender
January 9th, 2009 | LINK

I was unimpressed with his comments. Really? ENDA, hate crimes, and DADT are the best we can do? Even Obama claims to support federal civil unions and the abolition of DOMA; why is Barney Frank willing to settle for such comparatively small victories?

Bobs Friend
January 9th, 2009 | LINK

“First thing that pops out is that Frank intends to be much more aggressive than Obama”

Good thing — so far since early last year, Obama has pretty much limited himself to conveniently vague pieties about “our gay brothers and sisters.” That kind of talk won’t buy any potatoes.

” ‘I do not think that any self-respecting radical in history would have considered advocating people’s rights to get married, join the Army, and earn a living as a terribly inspiring revolutionary platform.’ ”

Yeah, you gotta keep an eye on those “homosexual activists”. LOL!

Patrick ONeill
January 9th, 2009 | LINK

The Arizona Daily Star considers Frank to be a “flaming” extremist bigot, then.

http://dailymendacity.blogspot.com/

Leonard Drake
January 10th, 2009 | LINK

Patrick,

I, too, am frequently disgusted with the barrage of right-wing tripe that is allowed by the “Censor Board” at the Arizona Daily Star, while other comments, clearly not in violation are discarded. You will be happy to know, as other Box Turtle Bulletin readers, your message was reposted. Having said that, I don’t understand why it took more than eight or nine hours!! The comic of Barney Frank was clearly inappropriate and clearly in violation of their own standards, and I believe you properly called them on it. From a frequent[ly frustrated] Arizona Daily Star reader, thank you…

P.S. To read said comments in their entirety, please visit http://regulus2.azstarnet.com/comments/index.php?id=274532

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