The most telling thing about the exchange between Barney Frank and a conservative student (which I blogged about yesterday and which has been making the rounds of the rightosphere) questioning him in a public forum at Harvard is how quick the Massachusetts Democrat is to attack.
How dare someone pose such a tough question! How dare someone ask him to consider if he might have done something wrong. Barney’s used to getting softball questions from an adoring media. Tough questions mean someone <strike>is</strike> must be accusing him! They’re part of some nefarious right-wing plot!
The Congressman accuses the student of “making an accusation which is totally inaccurate” and asks him to suggest what he, the Congressman, should have done. That very response showed his arrogance. He acted as if he never erred, well only once, just that one time when he took some bad advice. That he would ask someone else to suggest his errors suggests a man who rarely, if at all, engages in any sort of introspection, rarely considers if he had done anything wrong.
His failure to address his misdeeds is particularly telling given his repeated defenses over the years of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) whose failure sparked the financial meltdown.
Instead of even considering if he had made errors over the years*, Barney rambles on about a “systematic right-wing attack to try and divert the blame for the deregulation.” It’s all the right-wing, isn’t it Barney? He doesn’t acknowledge his own failure to support (indeed, his active opposition to) increased regulation of the GSEs.
When I posted on Barney’s failure to acknowledge his mistakes (more that just a failure to acknowledge his mistakes, a failure to even consider if he had made any), a critic was quick to chime in that I was pushing a debunked myth. He linked a post on the Community Reinvestment Act, something I didn’t even address in the post. He then went out to attack Republicans.
In short, just like Barney at Harvard, this reader didn’t address the substance of the “question,” (well, in the reader’s case, the post) but was quick to attack his ideological adversaries.
No wonder the unhappy Mr. Frank is such a hero to the left. Just like all too many of our critics who ignore the points of our posts and attack us instead, the mean-spirited man from Massachusetts ignores the question, accuses the person posing it and goes on a tear against the “right-wing.”
You think a guy so smart would relish such a challenge. You’d hope that a guy so powerful would be able to acknowledge his mistakes.
*Recall how, in 2004, the media was in a tizzy when then-President Bush wouldn’t admit to making mistakes in Iraq.