Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thank you, Barney Frank

Thank you, Barney Frank


Say what you will about Barney Frank (and, undoubtedly, you will).  I'll simply note for the record that the congressman last night delivered a master class for his more timorous colleagues on how best to handle the town hall clowns. It's simple, really: Speak eloquently and slap them silly.

When some rebel without a clue showed up with a sign depicting President Obama in a Hitler mustache and demanded that Frank explain why he supported a "Nazi policy" on health care, his answer went like this:

"I'm going to revert to my ethnic heritage (Jewish), and answer your question with a question. On what planet do you spend most of your time?...As you stand there, with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated."

But the ignorant don't always get the message, even when slapped silly. This one still sought an answer to her "Nazi policy" question, so she asked it again. That was when Frank delivered the priceless clincher:

"Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table, I have no interest in doing it."

Message to other congressmen: Really, now. How hard was that?


Inquirer National Political Columnist
About this blog

Cited by the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the nation's top political reporters, and lauded by the ABC News political website as "one of the finest political journalists of his generation," Dick Polman is a national political columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is on the full-time faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, as "writer in residence." Dick has been a frequent guest on C-Span, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and the BBC. He covered the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 presidential campaigns.


All commentaries posted before April 18, 2008, can be accessed at

Dick Polman Inquirer National Political Columnist