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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Frank Talk From the Chair

Last night, over at New Republic‘s The Plank, Michael Crowley marveled at the appearance of Rep. Barney Frank in the chair of the U.S. House of Representatives (sitting in for newly-elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi), describing the visual impact on him as one of “cognitive dissonance,” and a reminder of how much things changed on November 7.This immediately reminded me of a much earlier appearance in the chair by Frank, in the early 1980s, during one of those interminable end-of-year round-the-clock sessions when junior Members were often dragooned into presiding in the wee hours. During a tedious speech by Republican Rep. Marjorie Holt on school prayer, Holt referred to America as “a Christian nation.” Frank interrupted her to observe: “If this is a Christian nation, why does some poor Jew have to get up in the middle of the night to preside over the House of Representatives?” Interestingly enough, when I Googled the quote to find a source, what popped up first was a reference to the hilarious incident in a 1984 piece by none other than Charles Krauthammer, appearing in–you guessed it–The New Republic–a piece reposted on the TNR site about two weeks ago. The more things change….

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