Barney Frank Not Picked as Interim Massachusetts Senator, is ‘Troubled’ by How it Went Down

Former Congressman Barney Frank, who made known his desire to be picked as interim U.S. Senator from Massachusetts replacing John Kerry, was passed over by Governor Deval Patrick in favor of Patrick's former chief of staff William "Mo" Cowan.

FrankFrank told the Washington Blade he had concerns about the process:

“But let me tell you, there was one thing that sort of troubled me in the discussion about it — nobody was particularly quoted; they attributed something to governor’s office and others — was that the governor would want to appoint someone who’s either a minority or a woman,” Frank added. “And what troubled me is the question of LGBT people was just kind of swept out. I’ve never asked for any appointment based on me being gay, but when they begin talk about the importance of diversity and leave us out, that troubles me.”

While Cowan’s appointment was hailed a milestone for diversity in terms of race because he’s black, Frank said the lack of attention to being LGBT as a diversity factor suggests those involved with the decision were unaware of President Obama’s inaugural address in which he mentioned the 1969 Stonewall riots in the same line as other iconic civil rights moments.

“It’s almost as if some people didn’t listen to the president when he said, ‘Seneca, Stonewall and Selma,’ and didn’t hear the Stonewall part,” Frank said.

Comments

  1. mike/ says

    while Booker made his decision for political reasons, not choosing Barney with the upcoming budget & deficit problem is a bit of a disaster for the country…

  2. Bingo says

    Barney doesn’t seem to think that the word “minority” includes him.

    He blew this by going public so that if Patrick appointed him he would have looked like he had been bullied into it. And a governor can’t let things look that way if he’s going to continue running things and fighting political battes here in MA.

    Well done!

  3. Opinionated says

    Using the excuse that you are trying to pick a minority should be outdated, ESPECIALLY in Massachusetts. If you are going to use that as your excuse when you clearly intend to use a form of nepotism then Frank is right, you need to include ALL minorities and not pick and choose. Honestly if he wanted a minority rep then why not a Muslim American?

    Truth be told he simply picked his chief of staff, a common move as this is the closest person to them and Mo Cowan seems quite qualified. Not to mention they know the game better than almost anyone outside of the politician themself. I personally feel Frank could have let this go as it doesn’t need to be a big issue but he makes a point, albeit not one that interest much.

  4. Stefan says

    I’m shocked that a politician would base an appointment on his personal and professional relationship with a colleague. Shocked.

    ^^Said no one, ever^^

  5. sean says

    Barney Frank:
    * as experienced a Congressman as you’ll find

    “Mo” Cowan:
    * no one has ever heard of him in Mass.
    * he’s never held political office
    * he’s not from Mass.

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the black governor picked another black dude. Just a coincidence. I’m sure he’s the best fit and most qualified to represent MA.

    What a joke.

  6. Anon says

    Sean (one or two comments above) said it well.

    Governor Patrick isn’t even pretending that he based his decision on what is best for the Senate or for our Country.

    So much for experience.

  7. andrew says

    Barney should leave the stage gracefully and not pull a Romney. I am glad that Barney will not have a vote in the Senate when the Hagel nomination comes up in a few weeks. He had already announced his opposition.

  8. Rawn says

    I guess the governor is concerned by neither effectiveness nor appearances. There was really only one right choice in this case, at this time, and Deval Patrick blew it. No other person in the state is ready to step in and fill Kerry’s shoes, certainly not one of the governor’s cronies.

  9. Kyle says

    Barney Frank does raise a good point that representing sexual orientations is not (usually? ever?) considered when increasing diversity is proposed. That there are no openly gay men in the Senate is a shame.

  10. Marty says

    said it once, say it a thousand times…white gay men are not minorities…discriminated against? yes? minorities? no. Until we can have an honest discussion about the differences between skin color, race and sexual orientation, we will never make progress in this area…

  11. Bill says

    Marty, why are white gay men–or anyone gay, for that matter–not a minority? Are they (we) a majority? That’s news to me! Exactly what definition of minority have you invented?

  12. GregV says

    Barney did not express himself well here. Openly gay people ARE in the minority, both among voters and in the Senate. In fact, we would need to quadruple the number of out gay and bi people in the Senate to match our percentages among voters in exit polls. And out gay males have always and still do make up zero percent of the Senate, so really there never has been a minority less represented in the Senate than gay males.
    If someone specifically told him that only certain categories of minorities would be considered as underrepresented, then he should have said so, and that should have been his point of argument.

  13. Wilberforce says

    This is one reason the left is so weak. They promote from identity politics, not from merit.
    It’s also a reason why corporations are so efficient, because they usually promote from merit.
    This could also be a pr problem for us, with the right saying reverse discrimination. And they would be correct.
    But that’s not the point. Barney was obviously the most qualified. And we need the best people we can find to do our work.

  14. Gary says

    Barney doesn’t know when to hang it up. His time has passed. He entertains himself with his own ramblings. Unfortunately he’s more damage than good to our cause at this point. And I wish everyone would stop hiding behind Stonewall. It was a bar fight broken up by police – not the second coming.

  15. Homo Genius says

    ummm.. ok from a purely political stand point it was a decent choice. Someone to fill the seat until there is an election. Giving it to Frank or any of the other players would have unfairly set them up.

    I am also very sure there have been plenty of gays in the senate. It could use a little flava.

  16. Bush-Clinton says

    Yes, let’s keep the same people in office for as long as they want…we don’t need new blood, new ideas, new perspectives…just the same ones over and over….but hey, as long as they’re “briliant”.

  17. Ryan says

    I would have loved to see Barney Frank get it, but he really painted Governor Patrick into a corner by coming out so fervently for the position. It could be seen by others — though I doubt it was the real motivation — that Frank was basically trying to force the appointment through popular support.

    I’m more akin to think Frank just has a big mouth, and instead of doing things quietly, was asked so many times publicly over whether he’d like the position… that he just decided to answer it.

    I’m a little upset that Barney decided to come out swinging against the Governor, though, particularly by laying an allegation that LGBT is’t viewed by the Governor as being a minority (which is what I gather Frank is trying to say).

    It should be pointed out that there isn’t a Governor in this union who is more supportive of LGBT rights than Deval Patrick, who came out fervently in favor of it in his run and was the most significant force in our state in keeping marriage off the ballot, forever protecting our civil rights in the Hub of the Universe.

    Moreover, he did that before his daughter ever came out as a lesbian, which she has subsequently done.

    There are very few people who are more supportive of our rights than Governor Patrick, and it’s very possible that no politician has done more to advance our cause — from protecting marriage equality to passing the toughest-in-the-nation anti-bullying law to getting the transgender rights bill through and more.

    I’m sure Frank just feels a little upset, particularly since he was so public about his interest, but ultimately it’s the Governor who makes the appointment, and he’s made it pretty clear from the get-go that his preference for these kinds of appointments are people who will quietly vote the right way and have no real political ambitions… and there’s really nothing wrong with that conclusion, even if it’s not the one I’d make.

  18. kevin says

    No one should be surprised at Patrick’s appointments. He runs one of the most politicized administrations in MA history. From Cabinet Secs to secretaries, it has nothing to do with their skill, but everything to do with your ability to s+++ Patricks D+++

  19. Brian in Texas says

    Get a grip folks. The special election for the permanent holder of the Senate seat will be in April. This is at most a 2 and half month appointment. If Barney Frank really wants the seat he can run for it just like anyone else.

  20. andrew says

    The special election to fill Kerry’s Senate seat is scheduled for June 25th. So Cowan has a slightly less than 5 month appointment. The only thing an interim appointee like Cowan is expected to do is to be a reliable democratic party vote. Hopefully the liberal democratic Congressman Ed Markey will defeat former conservative Republican Senator Scott Brown in the upcoming special election.

  21. says

    I agree with Barney, and the most important factor was that Barney knew what was going on and stated that when he made himself available. As for a minority , with Barney They would of gotten 2 for the price of one… gay and Jewish. Barney Frank was one of the best financial minds during his time in office, and sat on the Banking Committee, and with the budget coming up would of been the right choice. He said he was available for interim time, and of step aside and made way for who ever felt they would be the best person to fill Kerry’s shoes. The Governor’s choice gives the Republican an opportunity to win one more seat, and with Harkin of Iowa not running a better chance for the GOP to take over the Senate.

  22. says

    Nothing wrong with Barney volunteering for the post, but doing so publicly was a choice likely to cause discomfiture all around. There are exactly two black senators; there aren’t any openly gay senators, but there are almost certainly more gays than blacks.

    It’s not the governor’s fault that few black people pass as white. If Barney wants more openly gay senators, he could probably “out” a few of them.

  23. Caliban says

    Deval Patrick had a choice between sticking a feather in Barney Frank’s cap on the way out the door

    OR

    Raising the profile of a relatively unknown politician who actually HAS a political future and might get reelected.

    Barney Frank wasn’t OWED this position, he wanted it to satisfy his ego, no matter how it effected the chances of keeping a Democrat in that seat. It was about his vanity, not political reality.

  24. Mickey says

    Barney Frank is a cranky old man with a predeliction for boy-prostitutes (or does he think the world forgot about that). Hes the wrong guy for the job, straight or gay.

  25. Lars says

    Sour grapes.

    Frank would have been a perfectly acceptable placeholder — and a valuable voice during the upcoming spending debates. But why on earth he tried to apply public pressure to Patrick is beyond me. Doesn’t work that way, and a seasoned politico like Frank should know that.

  26. CD in DC says

    not sure what that does for his credibility that he wanted to “rest” after 30 years and be with his husband and then he campaigns for a temporary appointment to the Senate? Maybe he’s lost it, he’s sure lost me.

  27. ratbastard says

    Good!! The man is a total D-bag. If you have had to deal with him, you’d understand.

    And, yes, yes…I know he’s ‘Brilliant’. Just retire, Frank.

  28. ratbastard says

    OF COURSE Gov. Patrick’s administration is totally politicized! Everyone, including ‘progressives’ should have seen the writing on the wall when the first things he did as governor were get himself a new taxpayer funded Cadillac SUV [hence his nicknames ‘Cadillac Deval’ and ‘Coup Deval’], have his statehouse office totally renovated and redecorated, and use a state helicopter to get from his [very nice] home in Milton [which borders Boston] to and from the state house, roughly 10 miles both ways. Patrick is a corporate shill disguised as a soft spoken, well educated ‘minority’ progressive. ‘Progressives’ do have a nasty habit for falling for people like Patrick…or Obama.

  29. Hank Plante says

    I am surprised at the vitriol on this site against Barney Frank. Gov. Patrick missed an opportunity to acknowledge Barney for his long service to our country, and instead chose a political crony who has no interest in the job long-term.

  30. says

    This appointment is entirely due to the fact that the successor to Jim Demint’s seat is a black conservative. The left absolutely couldn’t stand to see the only African American senator being a conservative. No other factors went into it.

  31. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTONSTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    WHEN I SAW Towleroad’s HUB FOR Senator “Mo” Cowan, I WAS GETTING READY TO “GO-OFF.” RECENTLY, I CRITICIZED C-SPAN FOR NOT HAVING ANY MATERIAL ON Senator Cowan. I AM GLAD Towleroad DID NOT TELL ME THIS black SAID SOMETHING IN SUPPORT OF gays.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  32. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTONSTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    HMN ….. A FEW MINUTES AGO, I MADE A COMMENT ON THE TEXAS CONGRESSMAN WHO DRANK AT A gay party. I THOUGHT I COULD NOT SEE THE POST BECAUSE I FORGOT TO CLICK-ON THE “Post Icon.” NOW, I JUST MADE A COMMENT ON Barney Frank. I KNOW I CLICKED THE “Post Icon.” Towleroad, THANKS FOR REMINDING ME YOU CENSOR ME WHEN I STEP-ON Y’ALL’S sacred cows.

    GOODBYE,
    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  33. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTONSTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    I ASSUME Towleroad’s USERNAME, “CHRISTOPHERSTOPHER ALLEN HORTON,” IS A SUBLIMINAL WAY TO SAY, “Watch him!” OR, “He is effeminate.” I ASSURE YOU, ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME WOULD TELL YOU THAT IS FAR FROM THE CASE. IN THIS CURRENT CLIMATE OF “American-soil terror,” IT MAY BE A GOOD IDEA TO PLACE ME IN-LEAGUE WITH The Tsarnaev Brothers.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

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