Is Barney Frank Idiot-Box-Bound?

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted April 23, 2012 at 12:01am

The oft-heralded “smartest man in Congress” will have TONS of hours to fill after he retires from public service at the end of the 112th Congress.

And while Rep. Barney Frank doesn’t really sound like he’s sweating his next gig too intently, the Massachusetts Democrat did lay down some ground rules to our colleague, Steven T. Dennis, regarding a prospective career in punditry.

“I would like to do a TV hit once a week,” Frank said, brushing aside a nightly commitment as “too much work.”

Frank declined to name any specific show or network he might consider commentating for. But when asked about the possibility of securing a recurring gig on “Real Time With Bill Maher” — Frank spokesman Harry Gural confirmed his boss has appeared on HBO’s free-form political gabfest “at least twice” — Frank suggested the show might be too small for both their oversized personalities.

“I know Bill. I don’t think he wants to share,” Frank said.

Gural cast all the TV talk as purely speculative, intimating that Frank remains committed to pursuing a slew of languishing intellectual pursuits.

“He has said that he would like to lecture. And he has at least two books in his head,” Gural said.

Not that Frank has to decide his future today. “I can’t negotiate with anyone till Jan. 3,” the law-abiding solon emphasized.