Ostensibly retiring over a redistricting issue, Barney Frank’s recent admissions show that he actually blames a rise in political power among the people. Congress is no longer powerful enough to ignore the people:
“To my disappointment, the leverage you have within the government has substantially diminished,” Frank said. “The anger in the country, the currents of opinion are such that the kind of inside work I have felt best at is not going to be as productive in the foreseeable future and not until we make some changes.”
In other words, the people are too nosy and suspicious of closed-door deals, and Congress does not have sufficient power keep the people at bay. For Frank this means no more “inside work.”
“Inside work” has been Frank’s specialty, masked by divisive outward displays of partisanship. Politico reports,
Frank rose to prominence during the early years of C-SPAN coverage of House floor action, perfecting the art of drawing sharp contrasts in public debate while negotiating compromises behind closed doors. But there’s no room for that in modern American politics. Any deal struck behind closed doors, no matter how small or well-intentioned, is considered suspect by the public.
Meanwhile the 32-year veteran of “inside work” will actually be remembered mainly for his open homosexuality, as an NPR interview opined: “That is perhaps his legacy in that he really did break through a lavender ceiling.”
The Frank admission nevertheless reveals a slight improvement in American politics. If the people are indeed able to stop such compromises, then the prospects for liberty are at least steady if not improving. Conservatives who welcome “compromise” don’t realize that every compromise with the left means a win for the left—for every compromise with the left means a little bit more leftism. Conservatives can never win these battles unless we maintain the sharp contrast, stand firm for our ideals, and then roll back the tyranny. If it takes less “leverage” today for people to accomplish that, then it’s a small victory.
But such victory means at least halting and exposing the “inside work”—and that means getting rid of the closed doors, and definitely the lavender ceilings, too.