Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Barney Frank, Joe Sestak and the Fix endorsement hierarchy



Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has endorsed Rep. Joe Sestak (Pa.) in his Democratic primary challenge to party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank threw his support behind Rep. Joe Sestak's challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania today, a move that raised one very obvious question: Where does such a move fit in the Fix's Endorsement Hierarchy chart?

We, of course, have the answer. But first, a quick refresher on the categories of the Endorsement Hierarchy -- a concept "borrowed" from Sports Guy Bill Simmons "levels of losing":

The Symbolic Endorsement: Ted Kennedy backing Barack Obama during the 2008 primaries.
The State-Specific Statewide Endorsement: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist throwing his support to John McCain just before the Sunshine State presidential primary.
The Celebrity Endorsement: Oprah Winfrey for Obama
The Newspaper Endorsement: Des Moines Register for John Edwards in 2004.
The State-Specific Non-Statewide Endorsement: Former Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.) backing Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) in the Kansas Senate primary
The Turn About is Fair Play Endorsement: New York state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) backing Democrat Bill Owens in the NY-23 special election earlier this year.
The Obligatory Endorsement: Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran endorsing McCain's presidential bid in 2008.
The Non-Endorsement Endorsement: Former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder passing on state Sen. Creigh Deeds in the 2009 Commonwealth governor's contest.
• The Pariah Endorsement: Rod Blagojevich's endorsement of Roland Burris.

Frank's backing of Sestak falls into the top category -- the symbolic endorsement -- with a caveat.

In the release touting Frank's backing, Sestak focused on the Massachusetts Democrat's hero status among the gay, lesbian and transgender community. Sestak coupled the Frank endorsement with the announcement of support from Lt. Dan Choi who was dismissed from the military under its "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The message from Sestak is clear: on issues of gay rights, he is the candidate willing to stand up and fight while Specter is a newbie to the cause. (Specter has said he would be willing to vote in favor of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and penned a piece in support of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act .)

(Frank is, of course, an accomplished legislator and wizard on financial matters but the emphasis of Sestak's release and of pairing Frank's endorsement with that of Choi is clearly aimed at playing up the Massachusetts Democrat's status within the gay community.)

While Frank's endorsement send an important message to a critical constituency in a Democratic primary, it's also important not to make too much of it. This is not, after all, Ted Kennedy passing the torch of hope and change within the Democratic party to Barack Obama.

But, in a primary race where the candidate who can get further to the ideological left is likely to wind up on top, Frank's endorsement is a nice get for Sestak.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 7, 2009; 3:11 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The most important number in politics today
Next: Politics and Pints!

Comments

GoldAndTanzanite: Other than his mother, who thinks Barney Frank is brilliant? The guy protected the stupid lending practices of Fannie Mae (and Freddie Mac) which triggered the meltdown, maybe because he was in bed (literally) with Herb Moses, a then executive for the now-government controlled Fannie Mae. Or maybe he is brilliant because he claims he did not know his former lover, Steve Gobie, was using their apartment for his prostitution ring. Congress censured the "brilliant" Frank for using his congressional office to give Gobie (whom he paid for sex and knew was a prostitute) a job as his aide and fixed his parking tickets. Maybe he is brilliant because he claims not to know what marijuana plants look like even though he is author of the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act. He made this claim after his lastest lover was arrested for growing marijuana at their Maine home. "Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was present during his partner James Ready's marijuana arrest in 2007, according to a police report." The Huffington Post 11-7-09. Brilliant alright.

Posted by: Childrex | December 8, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

How can one use the term "newbie" when discussing an opponent of Joe Sestak? Sestak barely knows his way around the House, and he's already pining for higher office, as was the case with his naval career. From day one this guy felt the office of Congressman was beneath him. He is a "newbie" through and through. Here in PA, he carried through on not one promise he made during the course of his campaign. I'm the last one to call myself a Specter fan, but Sestak is a sleezebag brought in when the time was just right for the left. That time has passed already. He is a very poor candidate, in a very poor primary battle! He is a weak speaker, has a weak posture, and owes the left his office and will never forget that. Plus he drives the symbolic Toyota Prius Hybrid. Hey Joe, Ford makes some hybrids too. So much for helping to use all that stimulus money you gave the auto industry. Who does he think he is, Larry David? Sestak is a FRAUD!!! Do a LITTLE homework Mr. Fix!

Posted by: RedGreen | December 8, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

If the Simpsons is the best cultural reference the left's got to argue for the strength of its ideas, it's ailing.

==

NO idea what you're talking about here, I've never seen that show, 'cept maybe two minutes passing by, what do you mean?

Trying to imagine what it must mean to the racist Base knowing that an "openly gay" Congressman is serving in the House, and not only is he failing to lurch from one moment of intense shame and self-loathing to another, he's widely respected and in many ways regarded as brilliant.

Must really mess with their heads.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 8, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

If the Simpsons is the best cultural reference the left's got to argue for the strength of its ideas, it's ailing.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 7, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow a reference to Barney Frank attracts almost as ugly a crowd as a reference to Palin.

Keep it up, Cletus.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 7, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

A royal endorsement from the Queen of Massachusetts.

Posted by: eldergent | December 7, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Did you say that Barney Frank endorsed Joe Sixpack?

Posted by: rkerg | December 7, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Yowsa, Barney Frank and Sarah Palin in the same bed...er, ooops, I meant, "thread".

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 7, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

From the TNR blog about this:

"Because the people that would care can't lower their opinions of her any further, and the people who admire her won't care (or likely would sympathize)."

Sounds like he nailed it.

Not that Asians were going to vote for the witch anyway.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 7, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Off topic for a sec--

Why no mention of the big Sarah Heath Palin story reported in HuffPo and all over the entire blogsphere today except, well, in this space?

Palin says she left Hawaii, where she was in college, because there were too many Asians and Native Hawaiians there. Too many Asians, she says. And too many Hawaiians in Hawaii. The source for this story? Unimpeachable--Her DAD!

From HuffPo:

"Palin, though notoriously ill-traveled outside the United States, did journey far to the first of the four colleges she attended, in Hawaii. She and a friend who went with her lasted only one semester. "Hawaii was a little too perfect," Palin writes. "Perpetual sunshine isn't necessarily conducive to serious academics for eighteen-year-old Alaska girls." Perhaps not. But Palin's father, Chuck Heath, gave a different account to Conroy and Walshe. According to him, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: "They were a minority type thing and it wasn't glamorous, so she came home." In any case, Palin reports that she much preferred her last stop, the University of Idaho, "because it was much like Alaska yet still 'Outside.' ""
______

If BHO had said this, Fox would have had a three hour special on it and put it on a 24/7 scrawl at the bottom of the screen.

This development is, of course, totally consistent with Charley James' "S@mbogate" reporting for laprogressive.com. The MSM is dodging the story. Why? And how will this affect Michelle Maglagang's cheerleading for Phalin? Developing...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/06/palins-father-she-left-ha_n_381724.html

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 7, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

hi there. my name is hillary clinton, and my ankles are NOT fat! they are big boned.'

Really substantive, for the sandbox.

==

Another poster who will be cuddled and coddled and whom anyone else insults at their peril.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 7, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

'That's three posts in one day with the 'don't make too much of it' disclaimer. That's a lot of hedging for one day.

Anti-Lieberman ads? "impact should not be overstated."
Palin popularity? "Before we get too far ahead of ourselves."
Frank's endorsement? "important not to make too much of it."

Where does that put today in The Fix Hierarchy of Column Confidence?'

Silly? and then there's Stupid:

'hi there. my name is.. *tap* *tap* *tap*. is this thing on? someone, my teleprompter seems to have gone down. can someone tell me my name? yes, MY name. barump? my name is barump? are you sure? ohhh.. BARACK. name is barack and.. and.. and.. i guess that's about all i had to say. joe?

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian

hi there. my name is hillary clinton, and my ankles are NOT fat! they are big boned.'

Really substantive, for the sandbox.


Posted by: drindl | December 7, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Joe Bruno goes down.
I'll bet Elliot Spitzer is smiling tonight.

Crony capitalism is a (bipartisan) disaster.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 7, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

and now.. a few words from joe biden.

"hi."

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | December 7, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

hi there. my name is.. *tap* *tap* *tap*. is this thing on? someone, my teleprompter seems to have gone down. can someone tell me my name? yes, MY name. barump? my name is barump? are you sure? ohhh.. BARACK. name is barack and.. and.. and.. i guess that's about all i had to say. joe?

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | December 7, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

hi there. my name is hillary clinton, and my ankles are NOT fat! they are big boned.

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | December 7, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

hi, my name is john bohner (pronouced bō'nər), and my friend is bwawny fwank, and he endorses woe swestwak.

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | December 7, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

hi thaer.. my name is bwaney fwank, and i wendorse woe steshtwak.

==

OK who let the Republican in here?

Someone call Orkin.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 7, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

hi thaer.. my name is bwaney fwank, and i wendorse woe steshtwak.

Posted by: AuthoritativeAuthoritarian | December 7, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I think Sestak is going to win this Primary, and will handily defeat Toomey in the General.

==

If a screaming nutbar like Toomey could win in Pennsylvania then something would have gone really astray.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 7, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

Nice one. I'd say that The Fix is lacking confidence today, preferring to hedge his bets, but that certainly may not be the case.

Heisenberg, Heisenberg, wherefore art thou, Heisenberg.

Posted by: mnteng | December 7, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the Sestak campaign is clearly emphasizing the Frank endorsement to the gay community. Clearly the Frank endorsement may in fact have special meaning for homosexual Democratic Primary voters. However, I'd also suggest that since Frank is also a relatively prominent progressive/liberal on nearly all issues, those non-gay Democratic Primary voters merely seeking to support the more "liberal" alternative might also regard the Frank endorsement as a worthy cue as to which candidate should receive their support.

I think Sestak is going to win this Primary, and will handily defeat Toomey in the General.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | December 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

You might call this the "consign all of Pennsylvania except Philly and its bedroom counties to the Republicans in the general election" endorsement. Except that would be horribly unwieldy.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

That's three posts in one day with the 'don't make too much of it' disclaimer. That's a lot of hedging for one day.

Anti-Lieberman ads? "impact should not be overstated."
Palin popularity? "Before we get too far ahead of ourselves."
Frank's endorsement? "important not to make too much of it."

Where does that put today in The Fix Hierarchy of Column Confidence?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 7, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"I was thinking of it as symbolic, though with lesser impact. Call it the symbolic, demographic specific endorsement. Have to say, though, Barney is a thoroughly entertaining speaker. After all the smoke and heat of the town hall meetings, one quote stands out: " Talking To You Is Like Talking To A Dining Room Table. "

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade"

Yup.

And from my own personal viewpoint, he is one of the leading proponents in legalizing online poker. Almost certainly the most influential proponent. I'd donate to him if I thought he needed it.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 7, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

You forgot the "Burn the Party Heriarchy Endorsement" aka Sarah Palin

Posted by: EricS2 | December 7, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The next surprise - Barney endorses Fanny

Posted by: leapin | December 7, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking of it as symbolic, though with lesser impact. Call it the symbolic, demographic specific endorsement. Have to say, though, Barney is a thoroughly entertaining speaker. After all the smoke and heat of the town hall meetings, one quote stands out: " Talking To You Is Like Talking To A Dining Room Table. "

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 7, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but a new column by Mike Huckabee on his decision RE: Maurice Clemmons.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/07/AR2009120702333.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: DDAWD | December 7, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company