, Newburyport, MA


January 12, 2013

Finding the truth beneath the laughter

Big Freddy was grinning as only he can grin when I joined him for our midmorning coffee and whatever might follow.

“I take it you won one somewhere,” I said as I wedged myself into my side of the booth.

“And you are misreading the cause of my delight because it has nothing to do with the track, and everything to do with the outcome of Barney Frank’s post-Washington future,” Freddy said. “One thing’s for certain, he’s not going quietly into that good night of political retirement.”

“Well, he didn’t get very far down that road by asking our governor to name him for Kerry’s seat so he could spend a few months in it before taking to the speaking circuit,” I said.

“By catching Patrick off balance with his ‘How about me’ as a temporary fill-in for old time’s sake and a political footnote?” Freddy asked.

“Which winds up with photo coverage of both of them laughing,” I said.

“Standard cover for moments like that,” Freddy said. “Laughter keeps the future open.”

“What future?” I asked. “Barney’s made no secret of his need to make some money because he certainly didn’t come away with much — all things considering what he could have done legitimately on the side during his 32 years in Congress.”

“There is that,” Freddy said. “He has some feelers out there for public speaking and whatnot to feather a reasonably comfortable nest in the private sector because he didn’t do much of what others have done as sidelines while representing their districts.”

“He’ll be good at it,” I said. “But Barney being Barney unleashed could be giving some of his former colleagues political dyspepsia.”

“Showing and telling as he sees things is what he’s been doing come hell or high water, and he’s not likely to change,” Freddy said.

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