Barney Frank Swats Down Questioner
For comparing Obama’s health-care plans to Nazis
There are many reasons we love Barney Frank, the charmingly disheveled, wittily brilliant, gay, Jewish Democrat who represents Boston’s ritzy suburbs in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the latest is this: At a town hall meeting in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, last night, he provided an object lesson in how politicians should react when confronted by nutso constituents making lunatic Nazi comparisons about President Obama’s health-care reform proposals. “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy?” asked his normal-appearing but apparently deranged interlocutor. His response, if you haven’t already seen or read it:
When you ask me that question, I am going to revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question: On what planet do you spend most of your time? … You stand there with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis. My answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining-room table; I have no interest in doing it.
Are you listening, Arlen Specter? (Yeah, OK, granted it’s easier to be contemptuously dismissive of your wingnut constituents when you haven’t faced serious—if any—opposition in a quarter-century and won your last election 68 percent. But still.)
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at email@example.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.