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OFF THE PLATE: DECEMBER 2008

Opinion: What's up Barney Frank's ass?

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barney_frank(Dec. 5, 2008)—Twice in one day we hear from the Massachusetts Congressman and House Financial Services Committee Chairman with a critique on President-elect Obama's pre-term decisions. Earlier, Frank said publicly Obama needs to be "more assertive" when dealing with economic issues, criticizing the President-elect for saying only one U.S. President can lead at a time. Frank went on to say  Obama needs to remedy the economic situation despite:

  • Obama's numerous discussions to the public about how he will deal with the economy once he's in office
  • Obama's willingness to work with Congress in advance on an economic plan that will be ready for him to sign once inaugurated
  • The President-elect's weekly public addresses on the state of the nation
  • Obama's post-election news conference by him and his economic transition team

 

Just now, I read the report that Frank and other Congressional Democrats are urging the President-elect to retain Sheila Bair as chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp as well as expand her role to regulate mortgages. This is supposedly sticky and worthy of Bair's supporters to raise to the media since Obama's newly appointed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have clashed in the past while Geithner headed the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Okay, now, it's a little more clear. Dismantle Obama with high-falootin' criticisms, then shoot back with a throw-him-under-the-bus request to retain home girl Sheila Bair. Frank went so far to play the gender card with this one saying, "I think part of the problem now is that, to be honest, Sheila Bair has annoyed the Old Boys Club," to the Consumer Federation of America audience.

Okay, Wall Street's a little bit (gross understatement) of a boys club and D.C.—no better. At the same time, Frank's approach in engaging the President-elect on his agenda, kinda not so cool. And troubling coming from someone who's been a promising voice in the sub prime lending debacle. My call? The Congressional Democrat backlash I predicted is starting to happen. As I've said before, it will be born out of jealousy, kowtowing to the GOP or both.

In this case, I think it's the former, even with its touches of political savvy to keep Bair in a position of influence with the FDIC.

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