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Rep. Barney Frank Goes on the Defensive … Against a Student

How much responsibility does Rep. Barney Frank have for the current financial crisis? That’s what a well-mannered Harvard Law wanted to know when the congressman stopped by the university this week. Except rather than engage the fella with a deserved response, the House Financial Services Committee chairman went on the defensive, belittling Joel Pollak’s question when, well, it’s one we would ask ourselves. On its face, Pollak’s question wasn’t loaded, but Frank interpreted it as such — probably because he’s faced the same criticism on the Hill for weeks. Now Pollak is loading ammo against Frank, heading to Fox News’ Greta van Susteren to revisit the encounter and, ugh, we find ourselves concluding this might actually be a fair and balanced segment.

By:           editor editor
On:           Apr 9, 2009
Tagged: , , ,

  • 41 Comments
    • David Anger
      David Anger

      Creep. The only thing that he has going for him is that he is Jewish – a respectful good son.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott
      scott

      I cannot find anything wrong with Joel. In fact, I find him to be very level headed and found his question was interesting. Barney inferred things that weren’t there AND didn’t answer the question. Which I abhor. Answer the effin’ question. I hate when people don’t do that. It’s being evasive, one way or the other.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GayIsTheWay
      GayIsTheWay

      STFU! Who wrote this article? Joel Pollak attacked Barney Frank with lies. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised Queerty would defend a STUPID, ANTI-GAY BIGOT like Joel Pollak since this website day in and day out puts loads of nearly naked haterosexual males online for gay men to worship. Obviously you believe haterosexuals are better than gay people.

      Republicans controlled the House of Representatives from January 1995 to January 2007. The housing bubble was underway years before Barney Frank became chairman of the Financial Committee. Yet you don’t see anyone question Republican House members. The reason Barney Frank is being attacked is because he’s gay and everyone knows that no one will defend him because he’s gay. Gay people run or participate in bashing because they are afraid and stupid, they can’t think on their own, they need a haterosexual to think for them. Haterosexuals want to link a gay man to this economy because it plays into the old haterosexual deflect responsibility notion that gay people ruin society. Haterosexuals don’t want to take responsibility for buying homes and junk they couldn’t afford on credit and then bailing out without paying for it.

      When did facts no longer matter? Before the creation of Faux News this dumbass kid would be a laughing stock. Now facts are irrelevant and emotions/ prejudices are everything.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @GayIsTheWay: Joel Pollack isn’t anti-gay. He’s rabidly pro-Israel, but he’s secular (as far as I can tell) and supports LGBT rights. In fact, that’s one of his many criticisms of the surrounding Arabic states.

      Barney Frank isn’t above criticism simply because he’s gay.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • unclemike
      unclemike

      I watched the entire unedited exchange, and Frank did answer Pollack’s question (which, to be fair, was slightly loaded with an assumption of blame). It took a long time for frank to give his answer, because he laid out a timeline of events, but he did answer it. Pollack just didn’t like what he said.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 12:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GayIsTheWay
      GayIsTheWay

      @Alec: Every study on anti-gay bigotry has shown haterosexual males are at least moderately anti-gay.

      One thing haterosexual do that is a tip off that they are bigoted is they either downplay or overplay gay people. In this situation Joel is overplaying Barney Frank’s role. In Joel’s mind Barney Frank could have stopped the financial crisis on his own. Once again it goes into the haterosexual take no responsibility notion that gay people can bring down an empire or destroy marriage. During the Prop 8 battle you saw the underplaying agruement that there isn’t enough gay people so it isn’t worth changing the law to recognize marriage of gay couples.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Heather
      Heather

      @GayIsTheWay: Haterosexual? Queerty thinks straights are better than gays?

      Wow. Tone down your own hate for a bit, yeah? Gay doesn’t mean Better. And straight doesn’t mean inferior. (nor is it the other way around.) These are individuals we’re dealing with. Broad-sweeping statements for either group ( straight or gay) is highly questionable. There are plenty of wonderful non-homophobic straights who aren’t “haterosexual.”

      Barney Frank isn’t above having his actions or words questioned. No one should be.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Elijah
      Elijah

      1. This interview was packaged by Fox as but another of their hit pieces on Frank. He’s FAR from perfect but “consider the source.”

      2. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but why should we take anyone seriously who

      a. bemoans “labeling” people, but repeatedly labels himself, though the label changes

      b. is one of those most dangerous and dishonest of species—the conservative convert

      c. worked to elect John McShame.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      You really don’t want to take Mr. Pollack’s side on this… He is a rabid social and political conservative, and while there’s nothing wrong with that on the face of it, if you bothered to watch the transaction, he made several accusations (not questions…but accusations) that Frank was directly responsible for TARP (For example…bush policy, get it?) for the subprime loan crisis…he was not a naive student asking for a roadmap to the meltdown…he came armed with an agenda, and ready to make a scene. This was staged. The tone of this post speaks VOLUMES about the person who wrote it’s [non]understanding of the event. But, maybe you just got foxed…

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      thanks Gay is the Way for some FACTS. This kid was trying to provoke a response and get on TV. The follow up interview proves it.

      If Joel really wanted to get an answer, he should have asked a specific question. “Do you have any responsibility for the current financial crisis” is way too broad.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      This reminds me of the republicans like to blame “big government” for supposedly forcing banks to give mortgages out to people who couldn’t afford them. I have read many oppposing editorials but as usual, the repubs tell half a story and this is what Joel was doing here. IMHO.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott
      scott

      @Jaroslaw: But couldn’t Barry Frank have just said, the question is too broad and really can’t be answered in that way. Then restate it the way it should be asked or how he would like and then just answer it.

      Idk. Maybe I’m ignorant of politics or stuff and I wasn’t there and I didn’t see any other clips other than the posted one but I think Barry over-reacted. And maybe, he got the question at a bad time and he was already aggravated. But he’s a politician and should be prepared for these type of situations. He’s an old hat politician.

      And are there any law peeps here preferably or debate peeps who could state what better way would there be to ask that question? Because honestly, again I haven’t looked at his role in this crisis but I see his face everywhere so I want to know as well, does he think he had any responsibility in this crisis?

      Apr 9, 2009 at 2:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      I’ve watched the video and I think that Pollack’s questions were loaded and he’s obviously a bit of an opportunist (anyone who uses FOX as a forum validates it, and I was very disappointed when President Obama appeared there). But that doesn’t make Pollack a homophobe by any stretch of the imagination. He has tunnel vision like most conservatives, but there’s no indication he’s a bigot.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 2:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marcus
      Marcus

      I doubt that Mr. Pollak would dare ask anyone involved in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act how they felt their actions contributed to the subprime crisis. Mr. Pollak may be a “good son”, but he also insinuates things that aren’t there and ignores things that are.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 2:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gayalltheway
      Gayalltheway

      Joel Pollack’s question basically sounded like this; “How guilty are you for causing the financial crisis?” Is that a fair question to ask? Is that the best question that a Harvard student can come up with when there are so many more meaningful questions to ask Rep. Frank? I agree when Rep.Frank said that his question is disingenuous. Pollack is obviously planted on the audience by the Republicannots to attack and provoke Rep.Frank on the subject. Now, nobody is saying that Rep. Frank is totally innocent on this matter. Even he agrees that he has to take responsibility for making some hasty decisions and overlooking some important things but he is not the only one to be blamed.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alex
      alex

      Fox fair and balanced? When was the last time they had an example of any republican leader that wasn’t thrilled to answer questions from a liberal person?

      Apr 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • roger
      roger

      gay or straight, barney is a thin-skinned idiot. this is one of thousands of examples of him FLYING off the handle when he is fairly questioned. and, ANY attorney or journalist knows that was a very fair question. barney is the gift that keeps on giving. his constituents might continue to send him to congress, but the GOP appropriately will use him and nancy as examples of what happens when the democrats rule the house. their rule will be short lived.
      as for fox (faux) news. liberals can now be happy that they have an alternative with msnbc (msdnc) and STOP that stupid rant. in the meantime, people like me who like NEWS not ENTERTAINMENT will watch some of cnn and cspan instead of either of those awful channels.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 4:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edgyguy1426
      edgyguy1426

      I was waiting for Rep. Franks to let him actually ASK the question…

      Apr 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dick Mills
      Dick Mills

      The sub-prime mortgage crisis had been boiling for at least 6 years before Frank became chairman. Jackasses on the far right want to ignore that. They want to infer that the responsibility lies on the Democrats in congress. It does NOT. It lies squarely on the back of Phil Graham and the Republican congress who slipped the Futures Modernization Act into the Omnibus Spending Bill that they sent to Bill Clinton on the last congressional session day of Clinton’s administration.

      Clinton could have vetoed it (the Omnibus Spending Bill – and by virtue, the Graham amendment), but with a Republican congress with the Cheney/Bush administration coming into office, it would have been pointless to veto it, not to mention that the Federal government would have had to shut down if the new administration didn’t have a spending bill.

      That Futures Modernization Act allowed all of those Credit Default Swap derivative contracts to be bought and sold by commercial banks without any – zero, zilch, zip, nada – regulatory oversight. It is those Credit Default Swaps that in turn allowed all of that “toxic paper” to be traded as if it were diamond encrusted. And, that is what caused the sub-prime meltdown. When banks bought something that was worth nothing and paid a premium price for it … meltdown.

      Barney Frank could have said that! In some ways he did, but not fully. But in every way, the question was unfair. Those derivatives need to be heavily regulated. Banks need to be barred from entering into questionable practices. Regulation is what Cheney/Bush and the Republican congress fought with every ounce of energy, and is the only thing that could have averted the sub-prime crisis.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John in CA
      John in CA

      The Republicans already used that “American Values, Not San Francisco Values” nonsense against Pelosi in 2006 and 2008. It worked out so wonderfully for them too, didn’t it?

      They only lost 51 seats.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joeb1212
      Joeb1212

      Barney Frank is an embarassment and should just go back to hiring his tricks for his staff……pun intended!

      Apr 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      @GayIsTheWay: I’m gay. I grew up with Joel. We completely disagree politically, but he’s in no way homophobic.

      I’m wondering what you base your charge of homophobia on? ‘Cause it sounds like slander to me…

      Apr 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      “I grew up with Joel. We completely disagree politically, but he’s in no way homophobic.”

      That’s some fair input, Sam. Most people are not really homophobic, but many people really are anti-gay. So I’ll ask you, since you seem to know Mr. Pollack, is he anti-gay? Do you have any evidence that he is not, minus your friendship with him?

      Apr 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scott
      scott

      @Gayalltheway: What would be a fair question? I actually think it’s fair. If you’re not responsible then say ur innocent.

      Look, as someone who is pissed that this happened and my 401k is in the toilet and I’ll be out of a job soon, you know what, I think it’s more than fair. I’d ask it of gay, straight, republican, democrat, anyone who is involved and in a position of power who could have done something. I want answers, accountability and I want something to be done.

      Oh and I don’t think being a Harvard student should matter what type of question should be asked unless he was cursing or he sounded like an idiot.

      @roger: Thank goodness. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Well, not to the extreme you felt. But, you get my drift.

      @edgyguy1426: LOL. I thought that too.

      @Dick Mills: Agreed. Barney could have said that, but he over-reacted. You said it. Are you currently employed, because maybe you should be handling PR/questions for him.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      And Pollak did sound like a complete idiot with his leading questions and accusations.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      He simply didn’t know what he was talking about if taken at face value…and if so, he’s a moron. So ignorant moron or partisan stooge…them’s the options.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @TANK:

      False dilemma. Oy gevalt. Ignorant moron and partisan lackey…that’s always an otpion.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Seth
      Seth

      @GayIsTheWay: Agreed… Joel WAS insinuating that Frank was responsible!

      And after that bit at the end about conservatives… this was bullshit… not fair / balanced at all.

      Apr 9, 2009 at 5:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      he was basically hinting gays were responsible for the recession..sounds like a younger Fred Phelps with more education…

      Apr 10, 2009 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @alan brickman: That’s crazy. He was suggesting FRANK should acknowledge having some responsibility for the crisis as chair of the financial services committee. Whatever you think about that, it is a far cry from claiming gays are responsible for the economic crisis.

      Good grief.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 11:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      @Mr. Enemabag Jones: “So I’ll ask you, since you seem to know Mr. Pollack, is he anti-gay? Do you have any evidence that he is not, minus your friendship with him?”

      Guilty until proven innocent, I see. Nice. What’s your evidence that he is anti-gay? Personally, I haven’t spoken to him since high school, but it would be very surprising if he suddenly decided to hate the geigh in his 20′s. I’ve found most people are taught to hate at a young age by their elders – and his parents most definitely didn’t teach him that.

      So, Joel seems to disagree with Barney Frank. Barney Frank is gay. How does it then follow that, therefore, Joel hates gay people? I think Barney Frank is a slimy, evasive, windbag sell-out. Does that mean I hate gay people? Could I just not like Barney Frank?

      Apr 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      Well, it seems like a tie, then, sam. Your statement is equally absurd…you’re gay (were you out in HS to joel), this joel fellow didn’t have a problem with you, therefore, he didn’t have a problem with gays. You talk out of your ass.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      @Alec:

      No, he was hinting that Frank is responsible for the economic recession. This is such a moot point…I don’t think any of you know the first thing of what you’re talking about…and are just partisan republicans.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 12:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @TANK: I’m a registered Democrat and well to the left of Barney Frank. I don’t agree with what Joel Pollack was implying (in fact, I think it is laughable). That still doesn’t make him anti-gay. Jesus.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      That’s just how it comes across, Alec. The criticism of frank is really FACT LIGHT. I’m not saying he’s not responsible in two years, but two years is a WHOLE mess less than 12 years of republican regulation and rule of the house. I suppose now we could blame him for the tax cuts and the patriot act, and maybe the impeachment of clinton while we’re at it. He voted for a bill to regulate fannie and freddie mac that was introduced by a republican house memeber (the subprime mortgage crisis, though significant, is not the most significant element in this recession…). FOR IT. He vocally supported regulating these institutions, and the republicans shot it down. You greatly underestimate his ability to get things he wanted done in a republican controlled congress. 2 years isn’t 12…and it takes a long time to reverse 12 years of damage.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK
      TANK

      I’m not saying he’s antigay. I think that’s a canard that detracts from genuine criticism of this douchenozzle. I couldn’t care less to be honest with you. There’s just no proof that he isn’t or is.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 12:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      “Guilty until proven innocent, I see. Nice.”

      You mean the way “your good friend” Joel thinks Barney Frank is guilty, without any evidence to back up his belief?

      “What’s your evidence that he is anti-gay?”

      I never claimed to know the man, Sam.

      “Personally, I haven’t spoken to him since high school,”

      Really? How much have you changed since HS? Could Mr. Pollack have changed as well? Were you out in HS in general, or to Joel in particular?

      “but it would be very surprising if he suddenly decided to hate the geigh in his 20′s.”

      Not surprising at all.

      “I’ve found most people are taught to hate at a young age by their elders – and his parents most definitely didn’t teach him that.”

      And I’ve found that many people who are taught not to hate, turn around and hate just to be different from their parents.

      “So, Joel seems to disagree with Barney Frank.”

      No. He claims Barney Frank bankrupted America.

      “Barney Frank is gay. How does it then follow that, therefore, Joel hates gay people?”

      I never stated that Joel hates gay people. You however claimed that he loves gay people. I merely asked for evidence, other a friendship you may have had years ago.

      “I think Barney Frank is a slimy, evasive, windbag sell-out. Does that mean I hate gay people?”

      No. But it might mean you are just a right-wing shill loitering around a gay blog. Hell, you could even be Joel. He seems like a bit of an attention whore.

      “Could I just not like Barney Frank?”

      Possibly. But doubtful are your reasons for not liking the man and obvious are your reasons for defending Mr. Pollack.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam
      Sam

      Wow. Silly me for thinking that the truth or logic would be more important in this conversation than who can be the loudest, bitchiest queen. But I guess I should’ve known that would be the case, given that this is a discussion about Barney Frank. Seems like his M.O. as well.

      @TANK: @TANK: “I’m not saying he’s antigay.”

      Oh, really? So you saying I’m “talking out of my ass” was what then? Your way of being neutral on a subject you know nothing about? And, yes, I was out in high school. And, yes, I find that being friends with gay people is generally a good sign that you don’t hate them. How asstalky of me.

      @Mr. Enemabag Jones: “I never claimed to know the man, Sam.”

      And yet, you’re trying to argue about who he is with someone who does know him. You should really try to make some cash off your ability to see deep into people’s souls from six minute television clips.

      “But it might mean you are just a right-wing shill loitering around a gay blog.”

      You got me. I spend my time commenting on various posts on this and other gay blogs just in the hopes that, someday, Mr. Joel Pollak would get on here via some random interaction that Fox strangely decided to cover, so that I could specifically say that I don’t agree with his politics but that these unsubstantiated claims that he’s a homophobe are untrue. How did you figure that one out? Yet another skill to cash in on.

      “But doubtful are your reasons for not liking the man…”

      Want a reason to not like Barney Frank? How about the fact that he’s a traitor to our community who has repeatedly thrown trans folk under the bus? Is that a good enough reason?

      Later, haters. I’m done with this BS.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      “Silly me for thinking that the truth or logic would be more important in this conversation than who can be the loudest, bitchiest queen.”

      You’ve set the standard, Sam, as low as it might be.

      “And yet, you’re trying to argue about who he is with someone who does know him.”

      KNEW him, Sam. You knew him years ago.

      “You should really try to make some cash off your ability to see deep into people’s souls from six minute television clips.”

      I’m still waiting for your evidence that Joel is not anti-gay.

      “I spend my time commenting on various posts on this and other gay blogs just in the hopes that, someday, Mr. Joel Pollak would get on here via some random interaction that Fox strangely decided to cover,”

      It just seems odd that you suddenly appear, happen to know Joel, happen to agree with his dislike of Barney Frank and happen to be gay. Odd all those coincidences.

      “so that I could specifically say that I don’t agree with his politics”

      You have said twice now that you don’t agree with Joel’s politics, yet you write this:

      “I think Barney Frank is a slimy, evasive, windbag sell-out.”

      You two seem to agree on something paramount to this discussion, which makes your appearance suspect.

      “but that these unsubstantiated claims that he’s a homophobe are untrue. How did you figure that one out? Yet another skill to cash in on.”

      Still waiting for your evidence that Joel is not anti-gay.

      “How about the fact that he’s a traitor to our community who has repeatedly thrown trans folk under the bus? Is that a good enough reason?”

      A good enough reason, yes. But your defense of Mr. Pollack is still questionable, considering you haven’t known the man since high school.

      “Later, haters. I’m done with this BS.”

      Yeah. Go hit Joel up on MySpace and let him know what a trooper you are, Sam.

      Apr 10, 2009 at 5:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      THANKS Dick Mills for #19

      Everyone seems to forget how hard the rethuglicans worked to dismantle regulation from the 1930′s (Glass/Steagall act is great example of a regulation they removed) to prevent a financial meltdown. Well Said.

      Apr 13, 2009 at 9:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      One more thing – whoever called Barney a “thin skinned idiot” should try running for office! Despite being openly Gay, he’s managed to do help the country, I think.

      I think the public is entitled to ask tough questions, but not to abuse public officials in the disingenous way this “student” did. Barney is a person too, if he flies off the handle a bit, so what; relative to what occurred.

      And did we even see the entire exchange or just the juicy bits?

      Apr 13, 2009 at 9:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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