Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vintage Barney Frank cartoons

16-term Congressman from Massachusetts Barney Frank announced yesterday that he would not run for office again in 2012. He cited his redrawn district as one factor, and that at 71, he wanted to spend some time in academia before settling down to retirement.

As the first out gay man in Congress, he has been the subject of occasional Q Syndicate cartoons over the years. Rep. Frank's office requested the original of this one from August, 1998.

At the time, revelations of the affair between President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky were coming out fast and furious; that the famous semen-stained blue dress was in existence and in evidence was a recent headline. While many congressional Democrats whispered that perhaps it was time for Clinton to resign and let Al Gore assume the presidency, Barney Frank was vocal -- and alone -- in his defense of the President.

Later that year, Frank was joined in the House by Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), who has the distinction of  being the first openly gay non-incumbent elected to Congress. The above cartoon  refers to an incident where Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) was recorded referring to the Gentleman from Massachusetts as "Barney Fag."

After a separate incident of Armey making a poor joke about Frank's homosexuality, a reporter asked Frank if he wanted an apology from the Texan. "I’m trying to think of what I would be less interested in than an apology from Dick Armey," he replied. "Maybe the lyrics to the national anthem of Bhutan."

I'll wrap this post up with a cover I drew for Q Salt Lake. Playing up Rep. Frank's role on the House Banking Committee, I drew him as he might look on U.S. currency. This was in 1999, well before the subject of this week's Q Syndicate cartoon advocated throwing Mr. Frank in jail for the temerity of imposing rules and regulations on the banking industry whose reckless abandon (not, as Republicans have been trying to convince people ever since, schoolteachers' retirement plans) created the worst recession in 80 years.

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