"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 previously said that he'd have no interest in running to replace Sen. John Kerry (who's likely to be confirmed as the next secretary of state), but before that special election takes place later this year, Gov. Deval Patrick has to appoint a placeholder to serve during that four-month interregnum. Last month, Frank said he wasn't saying "no" to the notion; now he's upgraded to "please enroll me in summer classes, pa!"
He added, "I've told the governor I would now like, frankly, to do that [serve as interim senator]."
But this is Barney Frank we're talking about, and you know he has no intention of sitting quietly in the back of the classroom. Nah, his bad self wants to wreck shop, naturally:
"I think there are progressive ways to work on Social Security and Medicare. I think making the case against them (Tea Party Republicans) on the debt limit is important," he added. "A split emerged in the Republican Party over the fiscal cliff, with mainstream Republicans splitting with the radical right. I think it's important for us to continue to exploit that. We need to reach out to conservative Republicans who nonetheless are willing to compromise, and find a way to reach a deal."Patrick has been mum about who he might pick as interim senator—Frank said he was "noncommittal" after he expressed interest to him—and has also insisted he won't name anyone until Kerry is formally confirmed and resigns his Senate seat. The governor obviously has a lot of options, but Frank brings at least two things to the table: experience and combativeness. Maybe the better way to view the temporary post is to think of it like hiring a substitute teacher: Do you want a pushover, or do you want a hardass? Barney Frank clearly gives you the latter, and Massachusetts could certainly do worse.