Retired Democratic Congressman Barney Frank gives the Netflix series “House of Cards” two thumbs down, calling it a “cartoon version of congressional reality.”
The former 16-term Massachusetts congressman penned the review in an op-ed for the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, warning that the Emmy-nominated series “might mislead people into thinking that this is the way our political system actually works.”
Franks admits he’s no drama critic and has seen only three episodes but makes clear he believes Capitol Hill has not seen the likes of lead character Kevin Spacey.
“I have never met anyone in a position of power in Congress who resembles that caricature,” writes Frank, who nevertheless lauds Spacey’s performance.
Though Frank’s name atop such a review should add instant credibility, his opening line about retirement finally giving him the opportunity to “talk about things that others do that annoy me” might make readers circumspect.
He was widely known around Washington for having no problem telling people they annoyed him.
“No question, Frank is one of the smartest on Capitol Hill,” Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote when Frank announced his retirement in 2011. “But he is also one of the most notorious bullies, known for berating staff, alienating allies and causing aides to cower in fear of his gratuitous and frequent brow beatings.”
Frank seems to provide his best insight in the review when writing how a District of Columbia police chief would never cut a deal with Spacey’s congressman, considering that local residents are “angry and resentful” over Congress holding their purse strings and telling them what to do.
However he also says Spacey's House majority whip would “never” have the power to step between the president and the House speaker, dismissing the scenario as “nonsense.”