Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) noted that Rep. George Miller’s (D-CA) retirement announcement on Monday might be because the job is just too grueling.
In an interview with TPM on Monday Frank said he understood why Miller would want to retire from Congress: 40 years in politics can really take a toll on someone.
“I’ve been there and I understand why he would do it and I bet you that George will continue to play a very major role in advocacy but the question is not why he’s retiring now,” Frank told TPM on Monday afternoon, just a few hours after Miller announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of 2014. “I am not at all surprised that after 40 years of stress he just doesn’t want to do it anymore.”
Miller and Frank are both regarded as some of the most liberal members of Congress in the past few decades (although Frank is considered the more fiery of the two). Frank announced his retirement plans back in 2011.
“I’m a few years older than George but I also called it quits after 40 years and it wasn’t because I thought we’d take the House back. Frankly, at that point, if someone had told me at the beginning of 2011 that we’d take the House back I would’ve quit earlier,” Frank continued.
Recently Miller has been one of the earliest backers of Democrats’ current push to raise the minimum wage. Miller, along with a number of other liberal lawmakers, was able to push the White House to embrace a $10.10 minimum wage hike. So why retire now?
“You’re judging, politically, a very human decision. And I haven’t talked to George but this,” Frank said. “A month after I had retired I realized that I was no longer flinching when the phone rang and I no longer worried about what god damned problem that some asshole caused that I gotta deal with now.”
The former Massachusetts congressman described Miller as a “passionate” liberal and a consistent defending of peoples’ right to join unions.
“He’s a passionate advocate for all the causes you believe in and the more deeply you believe in things, the harder the job is emotionally,” Frank said. “You take the losses personally — the frustrations of not being able to get things done. And human nature being what it is you tend to — you win something okay but it’s the losses, the inability to do things that keep you up at night.”