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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Barney Frank's Challenger

Via Wonkette, I see that the Washington Times has adopted the lost cause of trying to defeat Barney Frank in the fall by pumping up his challenger, Chuck Morse.

Declaring Rep. Barney Frank "out of place" and "the last gasp of limousine liberalism," native Massachusetts businessman and conservative talk-show host Chuck Morse is out to unseat the liberal incumbent.

The Times neglects to mention that Morse is bonkers. First of all, that's former talk-show host, on WROL-AM, a station I didn't know existed. Jonathan Saltzman explains in an August 28, 2003, Boston Globe article (Lexis, no link) that Morse writes online columns in favor of things like a flat tax and has self-published his books, including one titled "Why I'm a Right-Wing Extremist." Then there's the familiar Republican strategy of dishonestly presenting Barney Frank's votes:

Morse, a Republican and political newcomer, said in a statement that as a "husband and father of a young child," he was baffled by Frank's vote against a wide-ranging package of child safety measures that President Bush signed into law April 30.

The centerpiece of the legislation was a national expansion of a voluntary rapid-response network to help find kidnapped children - the so-called Amber Alert. The alert is named after a 9-year-old Texas girl who was kidnapped and later found murdered in 1996.

"I felt outraged that he voted against this bill," said Morse, who lives in Brookline and until recently hosted a show on Boston radio station WROL-AM. "This gives law enforcement a tool to help save kidnapped children. I'm concerned about that as a father, obviously."

Morse and his wife, Barbara Morse, a lawyer for the federal government, have a 4-year-old daughter.

But Frank, a Newton Democrat who has represented Massachusetts' Fourth District since 1981, said he voted against the bill because the House version--unlike the Senate one--contained a raft of unrelated measures that he opposed.

Some of them gave federal judges less discretion than ever to craft sentences for criminals - a change that US Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist has lamented, Frank said. Another measure made it easier for federal prosecutors to close nightclubs when owners know that patrons are using illegal drugs such as Ecstasy.

Frank said at least one parent of a murdered child implored the House to reject the omnibus bill and pass the stand-alone version of the Amber Alert.

"This guy doesn't know what he's talking about," Frank said of Morse.

Morse also criticized Frank for opposing the Homeland Security Department bill when Frank did so not because he wanted to weaken domestic defense but because he wanted there to be union protection for departmental workers.

Morse apparently believes that since Frank's congressional district voted for Romney in 2002, it may go Republican for him. He forgets that Romney is a slick, media-savvy campaigner, and I highly doubt Chuck Morse will prove to be another Mitt Romney.