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Friday, March 20, 2009

Is Barney Frank "Bad For The Gays"?

Note: This is a cross-post with Gay Patriot. I ask the question, they give the answer.
There is a peculiar, somewhat uniquely, Jewish phenomenon. It's called worrying about what is "bad for the Jews." Many have noted this phenomenon before, so I don't claim originality here.

Groups which traditionally have been targets of prejudice tend to view events in terms of how the event affects the perception of the group. When a Jewish person does something publicly stupid or criminal, it is "bad for the Jews" because others will form a negative perception of Jews based on the person's conduct. So David Berkowitz (a killer), and Julius Rosenberg (a traitor) were "bad for the Jews" even though their crimes had nothing to do with being Jewish.

The "bad for the Jews" phenomenon is exaggerated when the conduct fits an existing stereotype. Bernie Madoff was about as "bad for the Jews" as you can get because he took advantage of Jewish investors AND perpetuated negative stereotypes of Jews in finance. Oy veh, was Bernie ever "bad for the Jews."

With Jews, the question of what is "bad for the Jews" is not limited to such bad actors. No, we tend to view almost everything that happens with this eternal question in mind. But what about other groups, do they have an "it's bad for the [insert group name here]" complex?

I saw a post over at Gay Patriot about Barney Frank's romantic relationship with someone at Fannie Mae at the time Frank was quashing attempts to rein in Fannie Mae's lending (the mainstream media sure has been silent about this). The post linked to a prior post calling for Frank to be referred to the House ethics committee.

Barney Frank, the most visible gay member of Congress, also has been in the news lately calling for AIG heads to roll, and generally contributing the decline in our public discourse. Frank's demand for "names" of AIG executives who received bonuses brings back the worst memories of political witch hunts. The call by Frank for confiscatory taxation as punishment for these executives is reminiscent of the confiscation of property in the Soviet Union from the "kulaks" who were persecuted because of their wealth.

While Frank may not be the equivalent of Berkowitz or Rosenberg, he arguably has caused more economic harm by corrupting the banking process in the name of affordable housing than Madoff stole. The truth on this subject is starting to leak out, and over time, the public will come to know that one of the architects of our credit crisis was also the person who sought to have heads roll over the credit crisis.

Frank is Jewish, but I'm not sure he is "bad for the Jews." Frank's primary public persona is being gay, not Jewish (obviously the two are not mutually exclusive). Will gays be held responsible for Barney Frank, in the way that Jews are being held responsible for Bernie Madoff?

So I posed this question to the folks at Gay Patriot. Is Barney Frank "bad for the gays"?

Their answer is here.


  1. I always thought Frank's primary persona was "Corrupt, Incompetent Congressman and Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services".

    He is a disgrace and bad to anything he is associated with, bad for MA, bad for Democrats, bad for Fannie/Freddie, bad for my blood pressure.

  2. Well, fer sure, he's not "good" for gays.

    But bad for gays? I don't think perceptions of Franks's gayness are involved in prior criticism of him. Used in satire and ridicule? Yes. But so is his speech impediment. All fair game given his many baseless attacks on people he disagrees with.

  3. Now he has done it.

    I don't know what he was thinking berating a Justice of the Supreme Court, but if I had an ounce of compassion left in me for this sorry excuse of a congressman it is gone.