Desperation: Bill Clinton to stump for Barney Frank

Evidently Frank, who has been in Congress since 1981, sees Republican challenger Sean Bielet approaching in his rear view mirror. Why else would Democrats need to bring in heavy-duty firepower to campaign for a guy who represents a district typically considered very safe for Democrats?

Former President Bill Clinton will lend his star power to veteran Democratic Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.) at an afternoon rally on Sunday.

The 42nd president’s appearance with the powerful 15-term House member comes as conservative bloggers and commentators have energized nationwide support for Frank’s GOP challenger, 35-year-old former Marine Sean Bielat. (Bielat now serves in the Marine reserves.)

Bielat said Clinton’s visit shows that Frank is getting nervous about his reelection bid.

“It means he’s taking us seriously, he realizes that there is a threat this year. I don’t think he’s campaigning effectively, but he hasn’t had to do it since the ’80s,” Bielat said in an interview with The Hill.

Indeed, there have been years when Republicans haven’t even bothered to mount a challenger to Frank’s incumbency. But this year may be different, with voters seeing Frank for what he is: A corrupt politician who has been in Congress for far too long.

Frank and Bielat were supposed to debate one another on television this weekend but Frank was a no-show. You can’t blame him, though. I mean, could you defend a quote like this one from 2003?

I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two government sponsored enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis…

The more people, in my judgment, exaggerate a threat of safety and soundness, the more people conjure up the possibility of serious financial losses to the Treasury, which I do not see. I think we see entities that are fundamentally sound financially and withstand some of the disastrous scenarios. And even if there were a problem, the Federal Government doesn’t bail them out. But the more pressure there is there, then the less I think we see in terms of affordable housing.

That was in response to the Bush Administration’s attempts to crackdown on the subprime market in 2003. Frank, looking to get mortgages to as many unqualified individuals as possible, joined with other Democrats in blocking the legislation. I couldn’t defend that quote; could you? Now you can imagine why Frank wouldn’t show up.