A vote for Barney

Rick Holmes

Excerpts from an editorial to appear in Saturday’s MetroWest Daily News:

Barney Frank, who retired from the House Thursday after 32 years, initially expressed disinterest in the Senate, either as an interim appointee or as a candidate in a special election.

“It was kind of like, you’re about to graduate and they said, you’ve got to go to summer school,” Frank said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”  “But that [fiscal cliff] deal now means that February, March, and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial history.”

Frank said he has now told Patrick he’d like the interim position, but he would not be a candidate in the special election. “Put me in, Coach,” he said.

More than anyone we can think of, Frank would be an impact player coming off the bench.  He knows the budget inside and out, and has strong ideas about where to cut as well as what to protect. In the House, he earned a reputation as a master of facts, rhetoric and parliamentary procedure, all of which could be put to good use in the Senate.

Some might argue the Senate needs a conciliator, but we can’t imagine any newcomer who could fill that role. Still smarting from the fiscal cliff deal, Republicans are looking for a street fight, and in that context, Frank would be a ringer – one of the toughest kids from a nearby neighborhood, brought in at just the right minute.

Patrick will make up his own mind, and surely has his own priorities. He’ll likely consult with Kerry, the White House, and perhaps Majority Leader Harry Reid before making his decision.  But if he asked us, we’d say, “put Barney in, Coach.”