Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts received an enthusiastic reception as he addressed more than 200 Democratic partisans in Columbia on April 18. The event was part of a program sponsored by Howard County for Obama 2012.
In a 30-minute presentation that covered a wide array of issues, Frank condemned the potential referendum that would overturn the Civil Marriage Protection Act signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley on March 1. “I am looking forward to the people of Maryland showing that equality is alive and well here,” he said to a loud ovation.
Without referring to notes, Frank showcased his signature humor and sarcasm, poking fun at Republicans’ opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street reform, the Economic Recovery Act, consumer protection and bipartisanship. He defended the Dodd-Frank law and blamed GOP’s control of Congress from 1995-2007 for allowing the problems to develop in the financial sector.
He also chided GOP members of Congress for their desire to increase defense spending at the expense of social programs and the Supreme Court on the Citizens United ruling, calling it “the most significant threat to our Democracy since the Civil War.” Frank also strongly defended President Obama’s stance on Israel.
Frank, who has been in Congress since 1981 and is retiring and the end of this term, suggested a bumper sticker for his Democratic colleagues: “We’re not perfect but they’re nuts.”
On the subject of marriage equality, Frank noted, “Everywhere that same-sex marriage has taken place, after a year or more the opposition dissipates.” He pointed out that in his home state where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004, there has been no impact whatsoever on others. Frank added that he “always thought men didn’t want to get married but women did, and when same-sex marriage was legalized, it proved it.”
Frank’s presentation was preceded by Jason Waskey, chairman of the Obama campaign in Maryland who urged volunteers to help in Obama’s re-election efforts in Maryland and the neighboring battleground states of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman introduced Frank, whom he referred to as a hero, and he reiterated his support for marriage equality to thunderous applause.