The best and worst of Barney Frank

Barney Frank, the combative Massachusetts Democrat, is announcing he won’t run for re-election.

Frank is one of the most quoted politicians, partly because of his unusual ability to tell his constituents when they were wrong. This exchange with a constituent was classic Barney Frank.

Rep. Frank was an old-school debater, ignoring printed speeches in favor of off-the-cuff oratory, as in this exchange with Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2009 on the question of federal funds for ACORN.

But part of the representative’s style was often to to belittle those asking the occasional good question. The late CNBC anchor Mark Haines, who rarely let a speech go unchallenged by any politician, proved more than Mr. Frank’s equal in 2009.