04/22/2013 10:37 am ET | Updated Apr 23, 2013

Barney Frank: Republican Extremists Root For Government Failure

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) blasted the Republican Party on Sunday for creating gridlock in Washington and rooting for government failure, pinning blame on the "takeover" of the GOP by the party's "extreme right-wing."

"The major cause of dysfunction in American government today is not structural; it is the takeover of the Republican Party by extreme right-wing people," Frank said during a lecture at Colby College, the Morning Sentinel reported.

According to Frank, these "extreme right-wing" Republicans emerged when President Barack Obama was first elected to the White House in 2008, and they made it their goal to oppose and defeat him.

"The Republicans who have obstructed Barack Obama, they genuninely believe that less government is almost always better," Frank said. "We Democrats could not root for the government to fail -- we might root for the other party to fail, but not the government."

Frank continued, according to the Kennebec Journal, "The political fight now is over where you draw the line between the political sector and the private sector. ... Today the Republican Party is run by people who don't believe in government, don't understand its vital function."

Frank retired from the House of Representatives in January after serving 16 terms. He cited "stupid" problems in Washington as his reason for retiring.

“After 45 years, I’m tired,” Frank told Politico in December. “I look forward to a situation where when the phone rings, I won’t be apprehensive that it’s some problem I have to deal with: some crisis -- maybe that somebody else has done something stupid that I have to deal with, or in the worst case, something stupid I’ve done that I have to deal with.”

Frank's comments come just days after gun legislation was blocked in the Senate, largely by Republicans, reigniting the conversation surrounding the necessity of filibuster reform.


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