Timothy Noah is a senior editor at The New Republic.
"Will Barney Frank Lobby For a Financial Services Company?" smirked the Weekly Standard.
Of course not, said Frank. "I will neither be a lobbyist nor a historian," he declaimed at a press conference announcing that he will not run in 2012.
I'm struggling to think of another House member who during his time in Congress has matched Frank's combination of talents: political skill, mastery of policy, personal courage, toughness in the face of opposition, and of course, devastating wit. (I've never been able to understand how the right-to-life movement could survive Frank's quip that Republicans think "life begins at conception and ends at birth.") His Dodd-Frank financial reform law, though very far from perfect, was probably the most important piece of regulatory legislation in a generation.
In recognition of these achievements, I hereby nominate Frank for Secretary of the Treasury. Tim Geithner has already stayed in that job too long, and Frank could bring to the president's economic team the spark that's been missing from the beginning. The wingnuts would go bonkers, sure, but Frank is reasonably well-liked on Capitol Hill, he's a known quantity to Wall Street, and the Senate just might confirm him.
I think it's worth a shot. Can you even imagine how great it would be to have a Treasury secretary with a sense of humor? I'm pretty sure we've never had one. I assume we've already had a gay Treasury secretary somewhere along the line, but Frank would be the first out-of-the-closet gay Treasury secretary, which would be something to celebrate. If not at Treasury, Frank should get a top cabinet post elsewhere in the Obama administration. You just don't let talent like this walk out the door.