Barney Frank, who as a liberal gay Jewish Democrat from Massachusetts is not exactly a hero to the right, and who has never shied from contention, didn't hold back when a recent town hall attendee accused him of supporting "a Nazi policy." Frank, rather than balking and stammering as have most Congressional Democrats besieged at townhalls, seized the opportunity to mock his accuser. What followed was a minute or so of something resembling surprisingly decent stand-up comedy. Update: Rush Limbaugh has added his own, er, "joke," which is below.
- Bravo The blogosphere, which has been feeling pretty tense to us here at the Wire lately, is eagerly enjoying the comic relief. Vanity Fair's James Wolcott, crying "Bravo," declared Frank "gruffly stuck a cork in the spout of one particularly egregious Hitlerizer." Wonkette's Jim Newell quipped, "HEY, 1988 CALLED, IT WANTS ITS LAROUCHIES BACK." Mother Jones's Kevin Drum introduced the video by writing, "Here's a clip from the Barney Frank Show, soon to be a reality series on MSNBC. "
- Tarantino Politics The Atlantic's Chris Good drew a pop-culture analogy. "If [Quentin Tarantino's new film] Inglorious Basterds is Nazi porn for Jews who have dreamt (like The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg) all their lives of killing Nazis," wrote Good, "the Frank clip is town-hall porn for Democrats who've dreamt all August recess of out-dueling a wild-eyed opponent of Obama's health plan."
- Credit Where It's Due Even conservative critics of Frank have to laugh. "I’m not Barney Frank’s biggest fan (that would probably be him), but he handled this idiot with an 'Obama = Hitler' sign exactly the right way," wrote conservative blog Little Green Footballs. Libertarian blogger Julian Sanchez tweeted, "OK, even I think the Barney Frank thing is awesome." Hot Air's Allahpundit and Reason's Nick Gillespie, though strong opponent's of health care reform, couldn't help but enjoy Frank's performance.
- Wet Blankets The one critic was Sean Hannity, whose correspondant at the town hall said Frank "came here to provoke as much as he did answer questions." Meanwhile, ever-serious Dave Weigel and John McCormack are debating whether the wingnut townhaller represents liberals or conservatives.
- Update from Rush Limbaugh Not wanting to be left out of the comedy, Limbaugh has jumped in. "But the killer for me was, here's Barney Frank saying, 'What planet do
you live on?' to this woman," he said on his radio show. "Isn't it an established fact that Barney
Frank himself spends most of his time living around Uranus?" Wow.