Barney Frank, architect of the housing crisis, has a breathless piece in Politico arguing that Republicans ought to embrace Reagan and learn to apologize for America’s misdeeds. Curiously, though, Frank has never apologized for his own, political and personal.
As his evidence, Frank mentions the inexcusable internment of the Japanese Americans and how Frank allegedly worked with Reagan to give the Japanese-American victims of internment monetary redress.
Frank leaves out, of course, how his party was behind the internment in the first place. He ignores the culpability of fellow progressives like Governor Earl Warren and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who helped to execute that shameful act. Earl Warren’s biographer, G. Edward White, writes that Warren was “the most visible and effective California public official advocating internment.”
“The Japanese situation as it exists in this state today may well be the Achilles heel of the entire civilian defense effort,” Warren wrote. It was nonsense, but enforced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who is something of Frank’s ideological hero.
But there is no such thing as a national apology because there is no such thing as collective guilt. There is only individual guilt and individual shame and Barney Frank is shameless.
When will Barney Frank apologize for the role he played in the financial crisis?
Peter Wallison, member of the Federal Crisis Inquiry Commission, notes Frank’s involvement:
Barney Frank was the principal advocate in Congress for using the government’s authority to force lower underwriting standards in the business of housing finance. Although he claims to have tried to reverse course as early as 2003, that was the year he made the oft-quoted remark, “I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation toward subsidized housing.” Rather than reversing course, he was pressing on when others were beginning to have doubts.
For most of his career, Congressman Frank was one of the leaders of the effort in Congress to meet the demands of activists like ACORN for an easing of underwriting standards in order to make home ownership more accessible to more people. It was perhaps a worthwhile goal, but it caused the financial crisis when it was done by lowering mortgage underwriting standards. In the end, it was a colossal policy error by Congress and two presidential administrations.
Indeed in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Frank blamed capitalism, not his meddlesome economic policy, for the economic failures he caused. “This is equivalent to what FDR had to do . . . to save capitalism from its own excesses,” he said.
Frank’s own excesses are never mentioned, namely this: When will Frank apologize for allowing a “male companion” to run a homosexual prostitution ring from his home?
Frank paid Stephen L. Gobie, a male prostitute, for sex and then hired Gobie as his personal assistant and driver. Gobie continued running his homosexual prostitution ring from Frank’s residence all the while Frank was fixing Gobie’s parking tickets. In the wake of the scandal, which nearly destroyed Frank’s political career, he pled ignorance.
Frank later admitted to talking to a psychiatrist and taking antidepressant meds. Friends and colleagues worried about his mental health and Frank lost a lot of weight.
Rather than apologize for that heinous act, Frank continued to run for office and serve. He even considered running for Senate in 2005, should John F. Kerry have won the presidency.
”I was pretty dysfunctional for five or six weeks,” he later admitted to The Boston Globe in 2004. Funny I thought it was for thirty-two years, his entire time in Congress.