Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Liking Barney Frank Better and Better Every Day.

"I think it's bad precedent to put us in charge of deciding whether people act like jerks. I don't have time to monitor everyone's civility"
-Barney Frank on whether or not Congress should rebuke Joe Wilson.


Eric said...

No, he doesn't have time to monitor everyone's civility, but he ought to have time to decide whether the House will enforce its own rules. Which Wilson broke--had Wilson shouted "You lie" at Obama on a street corner, or if he'd even used the word I suspect he was actually thinking at the time (hint: rhymes with "bigger") in a "town hall" setting, it would be a matter of civility. And of him being an asshole, for that matter.

But the House has rules of conduct, which Wilson arguably broke, though it seems there may be some wriggle-room that would get him off on a technicality. If Wilson broke those rules, he deserves a rebuke for being out-of-order.

Let me put it this way: if I'm sitting in my office chatting with a colleague, and I say, "Judge X is an ignorant, stupid fuck," it would be a matter of taste or decorum or class or maybe civility. But if I stand in front of Judge X in open court and say, "Your Honor, you're an ignorant, stupid fuck," I'm going to be taking my meals at the county jail for the next thirty days.

I generally like Rep. Frank, but I think in this case he chose the chance to make a pithy, ornery statement over thoughtfulness. He does that sometimes.

Nathan said...

Actually Eric,

In this instance, I think Frank took the opportunity to call one of his "colleagues" a jerk in a way that would be heard by all. I approve.

I also have no doubt whatsoever that Mr. Wilson is now, and will continue for the foreseeable future, feeling a freeze-out of epic proportions. That may not be as satisfying as the official rebuke, but it's a hell of a lot more effective.

Eric said...

You may have a point there re: Frank calling Wilson a jerk.

I'm looking at a Salon piece on what the House actually did and Wilson's reaction to it, and it may have been a hollow act of political theater after all, which is hardly surprising but nonetheless pathetic.

Todd Wheeler said...

Barney Rocks.

WendyB_09 said...

Well, it certainly shifted the focus away from the President's health care reform initiative! A week later his rudeness is still front page news. Which I'm sure Wilson is way too proud of and thinks it's just great. So all his apologies are pretty hollow at this point.

What an asshole.

Barney's right...there are more important things on the national agenda!