So much for talk that the person who fills in for the remaining months of Secretary State-to-be John Kerry’s remaining Senate seat will likely be a caretaker. Former Rep. Barney Frank, one of the most outspoken Democrats, a politician who in many ways seems like the quintessentially “happy warrior” (even when he’s angry) is making it clear he would like the position. And not just so he can hold the seat: he wants to be in on the debt ceiling fight:
Barney Frank, one day out of Congress, said on Friday that he has asked Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to send him back as an interim senator when Sen. John Kerry becomes secretary of state.
“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.”
Frank said he wouldn’t run for Kerry’s seat in a special election, which would most likely take place this summer.
Other names mentioned as a possible caretaker for Kerry’s seat include former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis and former Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice Margaret Marshall — who crafted the historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the Bay State. Patrick has said he won’t name an interim Senator until after Kerry officially resigns.
In an interview with the Boston Globe after his “Morning Joe” appearance, Frank said Patrick was playing his cards close to the vest.
“He said, ‘Thank-you for telling me,’” Frank told the paper. “As you expect, he was noncommittal.”
Frank would certainly liven up the debate ceiling battle. And he is one of the media’s favorites since he does’t mince words and shows great glee in political combat. But, in the end, it’s up to Patrick — and in Massachusetts the scramble to replace Kerry has clearly begun.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.