Lots of fallout from the retirement announcement of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank (D-Frank).
And an interesting compare-and-contrast in Sunday’s Boston dailies.
Start with the Boston Globe’s Political Intelligence column, which detailed the orderly transition of power that reigned in Massachusetts for decades:
For nearly a half-century before his death in August 2009, Edward Kennedy was an overarching political force, while two Massachusetts Democrats – former Governor Michael S. Dukakis and Senator John Kerry – won their party’s presidential nomination.
Those leaders, in turn, seeded the next generation, as the late Representative J. Joseph Moakley did in 1996 when he ensured his former aide, Jim McGovern, gained a seat on the House Rules Committee after being elected to Congress.
But things are different now:
Contrast that with last week, when Frank – not just a Newton Democrat but a leading liberal voice in the country – announced his retirement and openly criticized the dean of the congressional delegation, Representative Edward J. Markey of Malden, for not helping him retain a more favorable district.
Not helping him? Markey sandbagged Frank, according to this piece by Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr headlined “How ‘Brainy’ Frank Got Barney-Mandered”:
Back in 1976, Eddie and Barney were both state reps and Markey was running for Congress in a multi-candidate field. He had one advantage: Then-House Speaker Tommy McGee had gotten angry at him and thrown him out of his office. Markey’s desk was out in a dark State House hallway.
A perfect visual for a TV spot, but somebody had to come up with some catchy copy. And it was Barney who helped out his friend: “They can tell Ed Markey where to sit, but they can’t tell him where to stand.”
Perhaps Barney thought Eddie still owed him for that one, 35 years later. But in redistricting, it’s every man for himself.
Barney got caught flat-flooted. He didn’t wake up until the sky was dark with chickens coming to roost. To quote Oscar Wilde: It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.
Barney’s not laughing.