Dee from the Desk: Barney Frank, gets frank
Some say after leaving office politicians become more honest, a little bit more “frank” if you will. But one politician who was always known for his sometimes overly blunt approach is former Congressman Barney Frank.
On Wednesday the 16-term Congressman spoke to a room of University of Massachusetts Law Students where he discussed politics: then and now, and addressed the issue of whether the government was broken.
Frank discussed politics from Bill Clinton until today and talked about the constant state of gridlock as the President very rarely had the majority in Congress. He noted when the president did have the majority that congress “got things done.” Here he highlighted the economic stimulus and “Obamacare.” Frank wasn't as excited about Obamacare as some would think. He said he agreed the President should apologize for the mishandling of the healthcare bill and said that if it were up to him he would make Medicare open to the masses. Frank said that there are ways to fix the healthcare bill and noted that he had “some ideas.”
In typical Barney Frank fashion, he noted he would be okay with people going uninsured as long as they found a way to “stamp on their foreheads, if you find me laying here bleeding please just walk away.” Joking aside, he quickly noted that, that is something that no American would be willing to walk away from someone in need, stressing this is why Americans need health insurance.
Frank said the problem with government today is that the people running it are opposed to government. He said the people controlling the Republican party oppose the public sector and the Republicans are having a difficult time internally between the “extreme” Republicans and the mainstream Republicans.
He also said that the Government is a victim to an interesting paradox where the majority of people dislike government but they like what government does for them.
Barney Frank had two provocative solutions for the economic woes of the United States. First, he said the country needs to slash military spending. He noted that he thinks its ridiculous for the U.S. to be asking Afghanistan to continue to let the U.S. to spend money in their country. He noted it's time that the U.S. pulled out of the war that he once voted in favor of. He said the military is not working in “the way it should work,” and instead of looking for the next mission the military should return home.
“The military should make bad things stop happening, not make good things happen,” said Frank.
A second solution offered by Frank addressed the expense of incarceration. “It should not be against the law for you to ingest anything as long as it does not make you get violent against others,” said Frank. Frank commented that the United States is spending too much money keeping people behind bars because they have used drugs.
He said heroine and cocaine do not make people violent instead it is the effort to get the drug that generally causes violence and robberies. On the same noted Frank recognized that alcohol does have the tendency to make people violent and it is legal.
Frank wrapped up his address to the UMass Law faculty and students by noting that Speaker John Boehner will most likely go down as the worst house speaker in recent history.
Dee DeQuattro is the assignment desk manager and digital news coordinator for ABC6. She studied politics and communications and holds a master's degree from Providence College. Follow her on twitter @deedequattro and log on to ABC6 .com for her latest in depth coverage of politics and news