Barney Frank is an experienced politician, and on the House floor there are few more able at working the political machine. What has surprised me in this election is how Barney Frank’s lack of experience campaigning in his own district would make this race so interesting. The Fourth Massachusetts Congressional District has been a friendly venue for Barney. No serious challenger has emerged to make him nervous in his nearly thirty years in Congress. I had considered this a great advantage for fund raising, incumbency, and voter loyalty as he set out for his first real campaign. However, while Barney has been on the campaign trail for others over the years, his lack of personal experience with the difficulties of a contested election for his seat are showing in unexpected ways.
With his years of experience, I expected Barney Frank would have a thicker skin regarding criticism of his record and understand the realities of political campaigns. His anger and frustration with voter questions and concerns has seemed unusual. He seems to be struggling to accept the reality that Sean Bielat is not just a name thrown on the ballot to have a Republican listed, but a real contender for a seat he has come to see as his own, not the district’s.
Bielat has actually grown more confident as a campaigner. He has shown no hesitation in benefiting from Frank’s lack of professional approach to this campaign. Bielat recently responded to a letter on Barney Frank’s campaign website regarding Social Security. He points out that while Barney Frank continues to claim Social Security is solvent, Bielat has a plan for improving Social Security. In his response letter, Bielat states that Barney Frank continues to avoid addressing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, corporate bailouts, spending, and the national debt. Most experienced politicians know you should never ask a question of an opponent you do not already know the answer to because it invites trouble. Barney Frank hoped to embarrass Sean Bielat by exposing his views on solving the problems with Social Security. In fact, Mr. Bielat stated positions most Americans know are on the table regarding Social Security. Responsible adult voters want there to be a debate on the best methods to make Social Security solvent. They want politicians to stop lying and start addressing the problem so there will be retirement available to those under forty who continue to pay into the system but are at risk for receiving no benefits. Barney Frank’s word that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were solid leaves few trusting his position that if we do nothing, Social Security will also be safe.
Frank was unable to deliver the Fourth Congressional District to Coakley during the Senate Race that brought Republican Scott Brown to Washington to replace Ted Kennedy. That was a warning sign to many of us that Frank’s power was not as strong as it had been prior to the election. However, I can state honestly I expected him to rally and put forth a professional defense for his seat. His lack of effort seems to indicate arrogance that voter loyalty will carry him through this election.
“Letter to Frank” Sean Bielat
“Letter to Sean Bielat” Barney Frank