“It is a newspaper truism that what is good for journalism is bad for the country and vice versa. Let’s just say that regarding the pending retirement of Congressman Barney Frank, we’re delighted to make the professional sacrifice.” Editorial, ‘The Barney Frank Era’, The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2011
“This country has never had a congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him. For over 30 years, Barney has been a fierce advocate for the people of Massachusetts and Americans everywhere who needed a voice.” President Barack Obama, ‘prepared statement’, November 28, 2011
Barney Frank, for over 30 years, has been a singularly bad apple in the House of Representatives, infecting for the worse every policy issue that attracted his interest. He is a poster-boy for personal and political corruption. As usual, President Obama simply does not know of what he is speaking.
The political world is well-rid of Barney Frank. If the Great Fire of London served to rid London of the insect-bearing rats that perpetrated the bubonic plague, so the redistricting of Massachusett’s 4th congressional district has rid the House of Representatives of a political rat who has systematically worked to infect American politics with progressive socialism and his country with moral and wealth degradation.
Barney Frank is no stranger to these columns so I shall dwell but lightly on his infractions on this auspicious occasion. A few lowlights will suffice. In this column I deal with the Steve Gobie episode. In my next column I shall deal with the Herb Moses episode.
The Steve Gobie episode:
In 1985, Barney Frank had not come out in public as a practising homosexual. He was still in the closet. In that year, as a member of the House of Representatives, Frank hired Steve Gobie, a male prostitute who was a convicted drug user, for sex. In itself this was a criminal act. Moreover, this was no one night stand. Frank housed Gobie in his own rented-apartment, and hired him as a personal aide, housekeeper and driver, and paid for Gobie’s attorney and court-ordered psychiatrist. This economic and sexual relationship endured throughout the period 1985 to 1987.
In 1987, Frank became the first member of Congress voluntarily to disclose his homosexuality. Back in Massachusetts that simply fueled increased electoral majorities. In Washington, it raised the level of scrutiny concerning Frank’s personal life.
In 1987, Frank belatedly kicked Gobie out of his residence after his landlord advised him that Gobie was running a homosexual male escort service out of the apartment. Abandoned by his John, Gobie’s friends convinced him that he had a gay male version of Mayflower Madam available for marketing, with himself as the Madam and Barney Frank as the compliant sub- landlord and sexual partner.
In 1989, Gobie attempted to initiate a bidding war for the story between WUSA-TV (Channel 9), The Washington Times and The Washington Post.Eventually, he gave his story to The Washington Times in the hope of securing a book contract. Ever quick-witted, Barney Frank fell back on his Democratic colleagues for protection, requesting the House Ethics Committee to investigate, ‘in order to insure that the public record is clear’. The Committee cleared Frank of prior knowledge of the escort service operation and recommended a reprimand for Frank using his congressional office to fix 33 of Gobie’s parking tickets and for mis-statements of fact relating to Gobie’s criminal and probation record.
A complaint House of Representatives voted 408-18 merely to reprimand Frank. Frank won re-election in 1990 with 66 per cent of the vote from his constituents in the Peoples Republic of Masachusetts.
Bill Clinton famously remembers shaking hands with President John Kennedy as the tipping point in creating his lifelong interest in politics. How many young Clinton’s would be fired into public service by shaking hands with post-Steve Gobie Barney Frank? More likely they would hasten to the nearest restroom in order to to wash their hands.