Dana Milbank in The Washington Post on Barney Frank Many have taken time to praise Rep. Barney Frank, who announced this week his plans to retire, but they've also noted his tendency to bully reporters, colleagues, and staff. "[T]he gratuitous nastiness, to allies and especially to his own staff, have kept him from achieving far more in his three-decade career on the Hill," Milbank writes. He recounts an interview Frank did with The Today Show yesterday in which he repeatedly criticized the reporter's questions rather than answer them. Milbank credits him as a "modern Mark Twain" for bringing wit to his criticisms, and says equally sharp-tongued Republicans, like Karl Rove, often got their due from him. "[U]nlike Rove, I will miss Frank’s tart tongue. But he would have been a more successful lawmaker if he had learned that it’s sometimes better to hold it."
Ian Desai in The New York Times on Gandhi in New York Gandhi has gotten a lot of attention in New York lately, with Occupy Wall Street making a hero of him and the Metropolitan Opera showing an opera about him. "But with the Zuccotti Park encampment removed, and the opera closing tomorrow ... is it worth asking, what would Gandhi do in the world today?" writes Desai, professor and Gandhi scholar. Desai says the opera portrayed some parts of Gandhi's success well, but its message of social justice felt awkward at the Met, and it didn't spend time spurring modern audiences to action. More active were the OWS protesters downtown, and while Gandhi would have liked their energy, he wouldn't have liked their demonizing of the "1 percent," favoring a universal message of cooperation. He might have suggested protesters take more practical social and political action to change the status quo. "Protesting in the park downtown can be quite useful. So, for that matter, can patronizing the arts ... But they are most meaningful when they set the stage for constructive social action, through which we might begin to mend the world."