Barney Frank | Deval Patrick | Massachusetts | News | William 'Mo' Cowan

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.

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  1. Frank being a poor sport as usual. Maybe if he had the jungle fever, he would have got the appointment.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 30, 2013 6:51:42 PM

  2. 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...

    Posted by: mike/ | Jan 30, 2013 6:58:27 PM

  3. 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!

    Posted by: Bingo | Jan 30, 2013 7:01:12 PM

  4. Using the excuse that you are trying to pick a minority should be outdated, ESPECIALLY in Massachusetts.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.

    Posted by: Opinionated | Jan 30, 2013 7:08:07 PM

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

    ^^Said no one, ever^^

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 30, 2013 7:10:36 PM

  6. So tedious. If you wanted to stay in Congress, Barney, you should have run for re-election.

    Go away.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Jan 30, 2013 7:18:57 PM

  7. Thank you Barney Frank for echoing President Obama in equating Stonewall with Selma and Seneca Falls, while Governor Patrick did not.

    Posted by: trees | Jan 30, 2013 7:27:07 PM

  8. Isnt this that nasty old guy who speaks funny? Ugh just go away old man!

    Posted by: molly | Jan 30, 2013 7:39:28 PM

  9. Isnt this that nasty old guy who speaks funny? Ugh just go away old man!

    Posted by: molly | Jan 30, 2013 7:39:28 PM

  10. Mike, MA's govenor is Deval Patrick not NJ mayor Corey Booker.

    Posted by: sugarrhill | Jan 30, 2013 7:39:45 PM

  11. 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.

    Posted by: sean | Jan 30, 2013 8:06:08 PM

  12. A black senator in MA is not a milestone if there has already been one. See Edward Brooke in office 1967 - 1979.

    Posted by: Andrew | Jan 30, 2013 8:14:24 PM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: Anon | Jan 30, 2013 8:21:09 PM

  14. 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.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 30, 2013 8:23:23 PM

  15. 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.

    Posted by: Rawn | Jan 30, 2013 8:24:37 PM

  16. 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.

    Posted by: Kyle | Jan 30, 2013 8:47:53 PM

  17. 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...

    Posted by: Marty | Jan 30, 2013 8:53:38 PM

  18. 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?

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 30, 2013 9:04:40 PM

  19. 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.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 30, 2013 9:23:26 PM

  20. 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.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Jan 30, 2013 9:26:20 PM

  21. 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.

    Posted by: Gary | Jan 30, 2013 9:26:24 PM

  22. Let's all act surprised at the choice.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Jan 30, 2013 10:04:49 PM

  23. 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.

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Jan 30, 2013 10:07:18 PM

  24. 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".

    Posted by: Bush-Clinton | Jan 30, 2013 10:08:24 PM

  25. 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.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 30, 2013 11:13:11 PM

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