After an initial demurral on the question, Barney Frank has changed his mind about taking a temp job across the corridor on Capitol Hill. Joe Scarborough asked the retiring Rep. Frank whether he’d consider accepting a temporary appointment to fill John Kerry’s Senate seat while Massachusetts arranges a special election, and Frank not only says he’d like to do it, he tells the Morning Joe panel that he’s already applied for the job:
“A month ago, or a few weeks ago, I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It was kind of like you’re about to graduate, and they said: ‘You gotta go to summer school.’ But [the fiscal cliff deal] now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial history.”
He added, “I’ve told the governor I would now like, frankly, to do that [serve as interim senator].”
Frank said he wouldn’t run for Kerry’s seat in a special election, which would likely take place this summer.
As I wrote before, this makes a lot of sense — at least from Deval Patrick’s perspective. He may have a lot of backers that he needs to please, but none of them will have the ability to hit the ground running for a three-month gig like Frank. The longtime Capitol Hill fixture has personal clout and media reach already, while a state-based pol would likely get overlooked. Frank is fully briefed on the big issues on debt and spending, which means less work for Harry Reid and Democratic leadership. With a commitment not to run in the special election, that should cement Frank’s bid for the appointment.
That may give Scott Brown a boost, too. Frank will almost certainly be a voice for the hard Left on the spending debate, and he’ll demand even more taxes. His visibility will give Brown some ammunition against the Democrats in the spring, where he’ll contrast Frank’s public demands for more taxes with his own spending-reduction approach, which may appeal more to voters even in Massachusetts after three months of the new round of tax hikes passed this week.