Brash, abrasive, arrogant, caustic, disrespectful and condescending. These are the more socially acceptable adjectives that come to mind when I think of the unreconstructed Liberal stalwart and belligerent progressive, Democratic Congressman Barney Frank. Needless to say, I am not a fan of Congressman Frank, his political philosophy or his penchant for patronization. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe his grandstanding antics, bullying tactics and out of hand disdain for those with political views different from his own are exemplary of some of the worst characteristics of today's patently uncivil public discourse. However, as my Grandfather always admonished me, I must give the Devil - or in this case the Congressman - his due. At a town hall meeting in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Congressman Frank doggedly held forth in the face of angry constituents over the justifiably maligned House version of health care reform. Addressing a woman with a poster depicting President Obama with a Hitler-style mustache, Frank asked, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" Responding to the woman's query as to why he supported what she referred to as a "Nazi" policy, Frank dismissed her saying, "Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it." At one point, the thirteen term Congressman from Massachusetts' 4th congressional district asked the crowd, "Which one of you wants to yell next?" To borrow a term from Frank's ethnic heritage, the Congressman has "chutzpah". While I find the Congressman's condescending attitude reprehensible, I nonetheless applaud his willingness to stand before his constituents and endure the snakes and arrows of the public square. Unlike the Democratic Dragon Lady, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Frank at least demonstrates the courage of his convictions by publicly defending the bill he helped draft and shepherd through the House. If that the Speaker and the rest of the Democratic leadership were as forthright as the gentleman from Massachusetts' 4th, perhaps the nation would have a better understanding of where the course they hope to set us on actually leads. Were there to be a candid, thorough, and yes, frank discussion of the bill, it's provisions and costs, then perhaps the public's inflamed spleen could be vented once and for all. Having done so, the nation could then move forward to rationally consider it based on it's merits, or lack there of. As the old saw goes, knowledge is power. Empower the people, Madame Speaker, by enlightening them. Nonetheless, regardless of the Speakers aversion to dirtying herself with democracy's dissonant discourse, Congressman Frank earns hearty Bare Knuckled kudos for his willingness to publicly defend the incomprehensible and fear-inspiring behemoth that is the House health care reform bill. While the Congressman's theme song on the Rush Limbaugh show is the 50's doo wop classic, "Lollipop", I'd dare suggest that Tom Petty's "I Wont' Back Down" would be an equally apt selection. In a world that keeps pushing him around, faithful readers, Frank stands his ground and he won't back down. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and we see if the Speaker has the courage of her lieutenant to face the withering fire of public opinion.