Frank to Code Pink protesters: "grow up"

An anti-war group staging its traditional disruption of a high-profile Congressional hearing gets an earful.

Published March 24, 2009 4:45PM (EDT)

Anyone who tells you there are only two things you can count on in life is wrong. It's actually three things: death, taxes and the fact that if a bunch of people are paying attention to a Congressional hearing, someone from Code Pink will show up.

By now, the anti-war group's ritual appearances have evolved into a fairly predictable -- and, frankly, fairly boring -- cycle. They show up (dressed in pink, natch), make some noise for a bit, then get kicked out. There are sitcoms that are more spontaneous.

Fortunately, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., is always fun, especially when he's angry. And Frank just happens to chair the House Financial Services Committee, which is the scene of hearings going on Tuesday featuring Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. So when Code Pink interrupted testimony from the two men, he was not happy.

Frank was forced to stop Geithner's opening statement to address the protesters, and he made it clear how he felt. "Will you please act your age back there? Stop playing with that sign. If you have no greater powers of concentration, then you leave the room," the congressman said. "We're trying to have a serious discussion which will include, as you understand, a lot of criticism. We really need people to grow up."

Then, during Bernanke's statement, Frank had to stop the proceedings again, and this time he really let loose. "I understand that there are some people for whom rational discussion is not an appropriate means of expressing themselves, he said. "You are entitled to do that in general, but not in a way that interrupts those of us who are trying to have rational discussions. So the next one that holds a sign will be ejected."

Finally, the congressman offered Code Pink members a solid bit of political wisdom: "I do not know how you think you advance any cause to which you might be attached by this kind of silliness."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Barney Frank D-mass.