Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Being Frank

Barney Frank was apparently hassled by a couple of women while on a flight to Boston. The women were opthalmologists and wanted to give him an earful about health care reform, but Frank preferred to read. Hilarity ensued when Frank's partner called the women "bitchy:" Barney Frank Gets a High Altitude Harangue

The problem started soon after the ophthalmologists - two sisters on their way to a conference in Boston - boarded the Virgin flight. When they discovered that Frank was sitting nearby, the women loudly dissed the landmark health care bill as an "Obamanation." (Frank was returning from LA, where he'd received an award from the Greenlining Institute, an economic development group for minorities, and appeared onJay Leno's show.)

"They wanted to talk to me, but I apologized and said I like to read and watch on planes," Frank told us today. "They began to talk louder and that's when Jimmy (Ready) said, 'If you're trying to be bitchy, you're doing a good job."

Needless to say, the women didn't appreciate the remark, and things got heated. (Attempts to locate or ID the women were unsuccessful.) Sexton, who's an HR director for the UK-based retailer All Saints Spitalfields, said flight attendants weren't working hard enough to defuse the situation, so she got involved.

"The women had been drinking, and they were crying and shouting," Sexton said. "They were clearly the antagonizers, and Mr. Frank was kind of minding his own business." (She said Ready also upset another passenger, calling him "Santa Claus.") Finally, the parties calmed down and remained quiet for the rest of the flight. (Sexton was offered some complementary wine for her trouble.)

There's some appropriately drama queeny talk in the article about people being afraid the plane would have to land because things were getting out of hand. Give me a break, s'il vous plez.

Reaction has been mixed. Glenn Reynolds says this sort of thing should happen more often
Two women ophthalmologists, whom Frank’s partner, Jim Ready, dismissed as “bitchy” — which really set them off. Frank got an earful. As far as I’m concerned, these guys shouldn’t be able to go anywhere without getting an earful. Luckily for Ready he’s the partner of a gay Democrat, because if he were a Republican that remark would have been sexist.
On the other hand, Althouse thinks an airplane is not the right place for political dialog and campy gay stereotypes:
It wasn't a political event, just normal transportation, and Frank was initially polite and said that he didn't like to talk on planes. He wanted to read. The women kept talking louder and louder to intrude on Frank anyway, which is pretty unfair to the other passengers on the plane. The "bitchy" remark, which sounds apt, was nevertheless stupid and impolitic, and it stirred things up, again to the detriment of other passengers.
Normally, I am on the side of Althouse. Except for the president, our congressmen should be able to travel freely without undue hassling. But, these aren't normal times. Frank, for one, should be getting an earful, not just for health care reform, but also for his role in inflating the housing bubble and then enabling the subsequent bailouts. Guys like Frank rarely get challenged for their failures (altho' Frank did get yelled at Bill O'Reilley once), and then when they are they puff themselves up about "hate" and "teabaggers."

Every piece of major legislation from the past 18 months has been passed in haste, without much oversight, and over the objections of a majority of the population. Maybe there were good sound reasons for TARP, the stimulous, the auto bailouts and health care reform; but we never heard them, and the MSM never applied the same "afflict the powerful" standard that they used when the GOP was in the majority.

Joe Wilson's "You Lie!" may have been rude, but it was the only way to get the message out that the president was indeed lying. Guys like Barney Frank have been able to blow off the thousands of protesters at the Tea Parties by labeling them bigots. But, what are you going to do with a pair of opthalmologists? People from all walks of life are frustrated and feel like they are being ignored. If things continued like this, Frank will yearn for the days when all he had to worry about was a couple of drunks on a plane.

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