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Barney the Bully

Reading about Barney Frank’s grandstanding on the AIG bonuses, then later about his hectoring AIG president Edward Liddy, I realized that he was using his power as Chairman of a congressional committee to bully corporate executives to score political points.  This behavior is entirely consistent with his manner in addressing ideological adversaries, demonize them so as to more readily dismiss their arguments.

Why is it that someone as smart as this Massachusetts Democrat would resort to this level of argument?  Why does he refuse to take issue with their arguments, preferring instead to insult their persons?  I mean, it’s highly likely that he, perhaps due, in some degree, to his intelligence, was a victim of similar behavior, bullying, on elementary and middle school playgrounds?

As I wrote nearly three weeks ago, describing Bush/Rush hatred as a kind of “Revenge of the Liberal Nerds.”  Like Barney, the Bush-haters

. . . were themselves not the popular kids.  They were more likely to be the geeky kids whom the popular kids (the cool crowd) picked on.  And they so hated George W. Bush because he reminded them of the guys who seemed to glide through high school socially while they struggled.

Similarly, Barney bullies corporate executives and conservatives.  Perhaps, he’s not doing to wreak revenge.  Perhaps, he just needs to vent his inner demons.  But, whatever he’s doing, it’s clear, Barney Frank, by dint of the way he has exercised his power as a chairman of a congressional committee, has become a bully.

And the mainstream lets him get away with it.  Indeed, they continue to applaud his actions.  And maybe that’s why he continues to bully.

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28 Comments

  1. I have a much darker view of these things.

    The world can be divided into 2 kinds of people: Those who believe the individual’s life belongs to the State, and those who don’t. Most politicians, and especially Democrat ones, are ‘statists’ – people who think the individual’s life is the State’s to dispose of. Maybe they started life as playground bullies; maybe they started life as kids being bullied; maybe neither. Wherever they started, they have ended up as statist politicians: people of self-importance, modern-day feudal nobles, people who enjoy the sheer exercise of power.

    So is Frank a bully? That, and more. He enjoys the sheer exercise of power. He has little life and no accomplishments, that I know of, outside of it.

    Same with Hillary, Queen Pelosi, and many more. Not true, however, of Reagan, Lincoln, George Washington, Harry Truman, etc. The greatest American leaders are invariably people with lives, and even a few accomplishments, outside of politics. Because the American experiment itself is about creating a country where the individual doesn’t belong to the State; the individual can have a life outside of politics. We’ve been steadily losing that, but it’s what America is supposed to be, and what I hope America will one day become again.

    Then there is the Barney Frank / Ted Kennedy / Hillary / Queen Nancy road: the road where the State and politicians feel entitled to mess in private affairs and do so self-righteously. That road slowly but sure ends in totalitarianism; Orwell’s 1984.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 27, 2009 @ 5:12 pm - March 27, 2009

  2. And may I hat-tip V the K for pointing out the following in another thread:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brad-wilmouth/2009/03/26/olbermann-dean-crazy-call-president-fascist-olbermann-called-bush-fas

    Newsbusters documents an exchange on Olbermann’s show, where Howard Dean comes out against ever calling the sitting President a fascist – something awkward for Olbermann, because Olbermann had done it to Bush. The exchange is fascinating for many reasons. Howard Dean doesn’t even come off as the good guy necessarily; back in the days when Bush really *was* President and Olbermann was calling Bush a fascist, Dean failed to speak up. Dean seems to be having a “sudden conversion”, now that someone like myself might otherwise call his Dear Teleprompter a fascist.

    BUT – All that is a digression. I want to quote a bit of the exchange that is relevant to my points about Barney Frank. Let’s look at Olbermann’s definition of fascist:

    “If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend. You’re a fascist! Get them to print you a T-shirt with fascist on it! What else is this but fascism?”

    *By Olbermann’s definition, Barney Frank should be called a fascist*. Because that is exactly where Frank is headed with his endless, bullying interference in business: A world of “seamless mutuality [between] government and business.”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 27, 2009 @ 5:25 pm - March 27, 2009

  3. Back on topic, Dan I think your question of “Why is it that someone as smart as this Massachusetts Democrat would resort to this level of argument” is appropriately answered as I observed yesterday…

    Frank, I think, is an evil corrupt man who long ago stopped serving the public interest and is now engaged in a kind of ego-politics where policy is less important than HIS exercise of power.

    Frank has what we could call “The TomDelay Sickness”.

    These guys look at all policy as just another opportunity to exercise power, THEIR power, and damn the staffer who gets in the way or the expert witness in testimony who doesn’t agree with the politico with the gavel.

    It’s why I like guys like Conrad or Alexander or Lugar. For them it’s clearly less about their power and more about the policy moving forward. It’s like they really do take the office as a public trust.

    Barney takes it, I fear, as a right. It’s why he’s a bully. It’s why he’s outrageous. Sort of like “It took me a long time to get here and I’m going to play the SunGod as long as I have power.”

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — March 27, 2009 @ 5:38 pm - March 27, 2009

  4. your obsession with barney frank is bordering on creepy.

    Comment by bob (aka boob) — March 27, 2009 @ 6:53 pm - March 27, 2009

  5. The people running most of the investment houses deserve to be insulted. They were warned by countless underlings that what they were doing was dangerous and they ignored and dismissed the warnings. (This isn’t second hand information, by the way.)

    Comment by Houndentenor — March 27, 2009 @ 7:00 pm - March 27, 2009

  6. I think that the psychoanalytical/repressed adolescent experience model of understanding politicians behaviour can only go so far.

    Comment by Randy — March 27, 2009 @ 7:09 pm - March 27, 2009

  7. So you’re all for insulting Barney Frank, Houndtenor? Cool.

    bob, I feel the same way about you.

    Back on topic. I think he’ll go as far as he can. Barney Frank, pushing the envelope in a bad way.

    Comment by The_Livewire — March 27, 2009 @ 7:12 pm - March 27, 2009

  8. We have this misguided idea that a victim learns from his victimhood and has more empathy towards others. The opposite is true, most bullies were bullied by other. Child abusers and molesters were the ones who were abused and molested as children.

    Being a vicitim does not teach one mortality. If anything, it teaches that being the aggressor is the preferable postition to be in.

    I’ve noticed that many bureaucrats are mini tyrants. Be it the clerk at the DMV or many member of congress.
    I’m listening to Amity Shlaes’ book, The forgotten Man, about last century’s great depression. It is very unsettling to hear how history is repeating itse;f in many ways – notibly how government grows, takes away freedoms, and even uses it’s power to prosecute ‘unfavorable’ people.

    Comment by Leah — March 27, 2009 @ 7:13 pm - March 27, 2009

  9. #1: “The greatest American leaders are invariably people with lives, and even a few accomplishments, outside of politics.”

    #7: “We have this misguided idea that a victim learns from his victimhood and has more empathy towards others. The opposite is true…”

    Two excellent points from ILC and Leah, no sweat. Meanwhile, all bob can do is excuse Congresswoman Frank’s shameless, disgusting conduct by accusing others of having a strange and frightening “obsession” with her.

    Comment by Sean A — March 27, 2009 @ 8:10 pm - March 27, 2009

  10. #5: I don’t think you’ll find too many people here who think the investment banks are pure and decent – with no blame whatsoever. I personally think most of them are grossly overpaid to gamble with other peoples’ money.

    The outrage is that Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd chair committees in Congress that are supposed to write the laws governing the financial industry.

    And what we have are corrupt pols who are living large on money and goodies from the industry they’re supposed to be regulating. Doesn’t that seem like an obvious problem?

    Frank’s bullying is a smoke screen (that seems to be working). The last thing he wants is for the public (and his idiot voters) to notice his fingerprints all over the dead body that was our economy.

    If some exec got up in the middle of one of these Stalinesque show trials and told these poseurs to go f*** themselves, they’d be instant heroes.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — March 27, 2009 @ 8:11 pm - March 27, 2009

  11. Leah, I’ve been meaning to get that book. I happened to catch her interview on Michael Medved’s radio show a while back when it came out.

    Comment by Sean A — March 27, 2009 @ 8:12 pm - March 27, 2009

  12. #9: “The outrage is that Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd chair committees in Congress that are supposed to write the laws governing the financial industry. And what we have are corrupt pols who are living large on money and goodies from the industry they’re supposed to be regulating. Doesn’t that seem like an obvious problem?”

    No, SoCalRobert, in bob’s world, what you call “outrage” is just a scary “obsession.” Obviously, we all need to just get over it. Only leftist outrage is patriotic. From the right, it’s an unhealthy psychological problem that needs treatment and heavy medication.

    Comment by Sean A — March 27, 2009 @ 8:18 pm - March 27, 2009

  13. I’ve seen the same behavior among my outspoken liberal neighbors. They seem to have been the unpopular people in high school and are vicious in their attacks against Republicans/Conservatives. They also WORSHIP Jon Stewart and have adopted his snarky arrogance when “discussing” politics (i.e. bashing Republicans).

    Comment by Annie — March 27, 2009 @ 8:24 pm - March 27, 2009

  14. Good piece. Barney the Big Gay Bully. So true.

    Comment by American Elephant — March 27, 2009 @ 8:34 pm - March 27, 2009

  15. Sean A – not sure what treatment I need but heavy medication sounds better and better 😉

    Another reason I’m peeved with Bawney and the gang is that these characters all stand around with a “who farted?” look on their faces when things go awry… as if they had no clue…

    Comment by SoCalRobert — March 27, 2009 @ 8:37 pm - March 27, 2009

  16. SoCalRobert, that’s exactly the point Ann Coulter made on Hannity the other night. She said all of these idiots remind her of OJ Simpson saying he was going to hunt down Nicole and Ron’s “real killer.” Congresswoman Frank and her band of corruptocrats are piously touting their own “bravery” for going after those “Wall Street bad guys” and promising that they will get to the bottom of this outrage/mess, but IT’S THEM. They are the ones who are responsible. And because they’re Democrats, they get to continue living in a consequences-free environment while private citizens have busloads of ACORN scumbags and reporters in their driveway denouncing them as Satan. And if this status quo is questioned in any way? Well, obviously you’re a homophobe (whatever the hell that means this week).

    Comment by Sean A — March 27, 2009 @ 8:47 pm - March 27, 2009

  17. I wonder if these liberal sorts who are whining about evil investment bankers can explain to us why they support and endorse the behavior of Barney Fag, especially given this little episode.

    Troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston didn’t look much like a candidate for aid from the Treasury Department’s bank bailout fund last fall.

    The Treasury had said it would give money only to healthy banks, to jump-start lending. But OneUnited had seen most of its capital evaporate. Moreover, it was under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives’ use.

    Nonetheless, in December OneUnited got a $12 million injection from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. One apparent factor: the intercession of Rep. Barney Frank, the powerful head of the House Financial Services Committee.

    Mr. Frank, by his own account, wrote into the TARP bill a provision specifically aimed at helping this particular home-state bank. And later, he acknowledges, he spoke to regulators urging that OneUnited be considered for a cash injection.

    So in other words, Barney Fag has no problem with “fat cat” executives and “sidestepping” regulations as long as it benefits the Obama Party.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — March 27, 2009 @ 11:46 pm - March 27, 2009

  18. #5. Do an internet search on Ron Paul and his presentation to Barney Frank and his Committee in 2003 warning them of the follie of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Then tell me the hell you aren’t upset with Barney for doing the exact same things that he accuses Execs of doing!!! Your are about 6 years too late for making a lame excuse for Barney Frank. This clown had over 6 years to fix the problems that we, the people are now reaping!!!

    Comment by Duffy - Native Intelligence — March 27, 2009 @ 11:55 pm - March 27, 2009

  19. To ILC’s #1 post:
    Are you so sure Lincoln wasn’t a statist? He sure seemed to like a strong, centralized government as opposed to decentralized, state-based control. Just sayin’. :o)

    Comment by Brendan In Philly — March 28, 2009 @ 12:32 am - March 28, 2009

  20. Brendan, recall one thing about Lincoln, he was a wartime president and believed in “centralization” for the sake of the war. His political philosophy suggests a far different world view.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — March 28, 2009 @ 12:40 am - March 28, 2009

  21. Leah #8- Victims DO learn from victimization. Unfortunately, while many of them learn that it’s better not to be a victim, a lot of them learn that it’s better to be the victimizer.

    Comment by DaveP. — March 28, 2009 @ 1:34 am - March 28, 2009

  22. Perhaps, he’s not doing to wreak revenge. Perhaps, he just needs to vent his inner demons.

    It’s a distraction is all it is.

    your obsession with barney frank is bordering on creepy.

    Your defense of a slobbering SOB participating in trashing the economy is downright pathetic.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — March 28, 2009 @ 1:53 am - March 28, 2009

  23. “SoCalRobert, that’s exactly the point Ann Coulter made on Hannity the other night.”

    whenever you find yourself starting a sentence this way, you would be better off stopping right there.

    Comment by bob (aka boob) — March 28, 2009 @ 8:32 am - March 28, 2009

  24. “Hello my name is bob, and I can’t refute any points.”

    “Hi bob!”

    Now here’s my question. How can we get this kind of information to the masses, short of making the American Idol contestants sing the speeches?

    Comment by The_Livewire — March 28, 2009 @ 8:52 am - March 28, 2009

  25. #23: bob, you mean YOU would be better off if I stopped right there.

    Comment by Sean A — March 28, 2009 @ 9:15 am - March 28, 2009

  26. your obsession with barney frank is bordering on creepy

    I can’t wholly disagree with that.

    Comment by Ignatius — March 28, 2009 @ 11:01 am - March 28, 2009

  27. […] when I thought I had said all I needed to say about Barney Frank, that unhappy bully comes up with another idea certain to slow the economy.  Didn’t he do enough when he thwart […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Barney Wants Government to Set Executive Salaries — March 31, 2009 @ 3:47 pm - March 31, 2009

  28. […] I’ve suggested before, it seems that in bullying corporate executives and Republicans, Barney’s venting inner […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Did Barney Violate House Rules in Questioning Sanity of Republican Colleagues? — April 2, 2009 @ 6:42 pm - April 2, 2009

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