Barney Frank’s Candid Conversation About Being Fat. Oh, And Getting a Cabinet Post


Before he’ll “let” President Obama nominate him to be Housing and Urban Development secretary, Rep. Barney Frank wants two more years in Congress with the current commander-in-chief and Democrats controlling the legislature. And then he’ll be ready to make history.

The 15-term Frank says he’s after the Cabinet position, but not just yet. In Barney Frank, The Story of America’s Only Left-handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman (a book political wonks have been expecting for months and months), Frank’s former staffer Stuart Weisberg spends 501 pages skipping through the congressman’s life, including what he ultimately wants for his legacy: to be the first openly gay American to serve in the cabinet. This, as we’re certain readers will remind us, is a big deal!

But the tome is worth picking up for other reasons. Namely, for the scandal! Frank, who participated in the book and was interviewed for it, talks about his prostitution “incident.” Also in there: his struggle with weight loss. And finding clothes that fit him. Which sounds like all the crap your average gay guy has to deal with. Except for the “wanting to be a Cabinet member” thing. And, okay, some of us don’t mix company with hookers.

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  • ThatguyFromBoston

    What’s wrong with hooker?

  • M Shane

    A ‘hooker” is different sexually than a” hustler’ in commo parlance. Both are Ok, just working people. If barney was caught with a hooker(female variety) it seems eversomuch more harmless.

  • Fitz

    I am fine with him hanging with sex workers. I am not fine with his lips crazy glued to Obama’s ass, and especially un-ok with his chiding of LGBT people who hold the obama-man accountable.

  • Cam

    Frank lives in a consequence free bubble as far as his sexuality is concerned. he is a Congressman, he doesn’t have a boss, nobody chides him for being late to work, not coming in, being gay etc… It’s not a big shock that he is not very concerned with the everyday rights of most gays out there. In some ways he is like Mary Cheney, both of them are sheilded from the reality of being gay by their political clout.

  • Fitz

    @Cam: Well said

  • Steve

    After Barney Frank gets actually sponsors some legislation. And, after he uses his influence (especially, his ability to hold other legislation in his committee) to get some of our issues passed. Then, he will have earned some of our support.

    I want to see DOMA repealed. He had not even sponsored a bill. I need a title and a bill number to ask my own Representative to support. Without a bill, there is nothing to support.

  • San Francisco Treat

    First, just because I don’t visit prostitutes doesn’t give me the right to disparage people that do. We’ve all done things that we aren’t proud of and wouldn’t want aired publically.

    Second, Rep. Frank has sponsored pro-gay legislation for years and is a leader for the LGBT community that I admire. Political realities currently preventing movement on some issues critical to achieving equal treatment under the law cannot be laid at Rep. Frank’s feet. The fact is we are well served by having one of the smartest and most politically astute congressmen be publically gay. This man makes us all look good regardless of the slow pace of the movement (which is historically not slow at all).

    Third, the moment there are even close to enough votes in Congress to repeal DOMA, you can be damn sure that Rep. Frank will be sponsoring that legislation and using every lever of power at his disposal to get it passed. He’s not uncaring or clueless, he’s saving his load for the right time. I thought our community understood that,

  • J. Clarence

    @Cam: What do you mean “not very concerned” with gay rights. The man has been one of the most staunch advocates on the hill for years, often times going head to head with conservatives who make outlandish statements. Most recently in the Hate Crimes bill in the house.

    Unfortunately, the man has another day job besides being a homosexual, which is to be the chairmen on the Finance committee, which means he has shit to do.

    Just because a person does not devote every iota of a second they have to gay rights does not mean that they do not care about it. Frank is smart politician and one of good liberal ones, and has to balance his priorities like everyone else.

    And how is he shielded from the realities of being gay when Rush Limbaugh on others on the right make “Your anus” jokes about the man all the time.

  • Jaroslaw

    Cam, I usually like what you have to say, but I have to chime in here with #7 & 8. I used to talk about Gay stuff too much for most of my friends and I’ve had to tone it down a bit. Now when I say something, they listen. But I can’t talk about it 24 hours a day. Neither can Barney.

  • Cam

    @J. Clarence: You said “@Cam: What do you mean “not very concerned” with gay rights. The man has been one of the most staunch advocates on the hill for years, often times going head to head with conservatives who make outlandish statements. Most recently in the Hate Crimes bill in the house. ”

    It is easy for him to go head to head with conservatives, they are in the opposit party. But he is now giving cover to the Dem’s by being the “Good Gay” and saying that they do not need to persue any of the gay rights promised us in the campaign. Again, it is easy for him to tilt at windmills when Bush was in power and the congress was controlled by the other party. Funny though that as soon as the Democrats take over, we have a Dem President who promised us our rights that Barney starts shutting up, unless of course the party needs him to go in front of the cameras to talk about why this ISN’T a good time to push ahead with gay rights. Some in the media constantly tell us that the Black community is so anti-gay, but if you look at Congress you have Hetro, Black Rep Alcey Hastings demanding answers from the White House for not pushing ahead with gay rights, meanwhile you have Barney Frank hitting the news backing up freeze. The ONLY thing that got any response out of him was when gays were threatening to boycott his fundraiser. Guess we know what he REALLY cares about.

  • Russ

    Barney Frank is not the enemy.
    It’s way too early to count out this Congress or this Administration on gay rights when the economy, the wars, and health care remain as larger problems to resolve.
    If you don’t think that initiating a national debate now on DOMA, don’t ask/don’t tell, or any other major gay rights initiative wouldn’t be playing right into the hands of the President’s demagogic critics on the right then you don’t know history and you don’t know this country now.
    We need to keep working to enlighten and educate with patience, dignity and tolerance.

  • San Francisco Treat

    Look, the point is some equality issues are easier lifts than others.

    DADT could have been rolled back months ago and with little blowback given the 70+% popular support.
    Hate Crimes extension can move whenever Obama snaps his fingers and no one is going to flip out and start bleeding his political capital over it.

    If those are the issues you are concerned about then you have every right to be upset. We are all upset.

    However, if you are talking about ENDA – that’s a heavier lift with the right of the blue team. It’s going to take some time to get it done, but I still believe it will be achieved.

    Further, if you are talking about DOMA – the politics of the next 3 years simply will not permit movement through Congress. It’s not going to happen this term. You’re going to have to wait for term #2 for anything there and while we don’t have to like it, that’s what I would advise the president and I’m still waiting to marry my love of 7 years. It would be stupid politics for Obama to take action on DOMA while he still has to run for reelection. This country is still a little too homophobic (read stupid) for him to pull that off.

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