PROF. FRANK TAKES COLLEAGUES TO SCHOOL…. When it comes to fighting a war in Iraq, for six years, congressional Republicans said no price was too high, no spending bill was too bloated, and no presidential request was too unreasonable. When it comes to rescuing an economy in crisis, congressional Republicans take a very different tack.

To his enormous credit, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) appeared on ABC News’ “This Week” yesterday to ask why this is.

You’ll notice, of course, that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), one of the Senate’s most far-right members, argued, “Let’s not say it’s a stimulus when it’s a government spending plan.” It’s a little painful to see a United States senator fail to realize that a government spending plan is a stimulus plan, but let’s not dwell on DeMint.

When told that the stimulus package would be “the largest spending bill in history,” Frank raised a point that has gone largely overlooked: “The largest spending bill in history is going to turn out to be the one in Iraq. If we’re going to talk about spending, I have a problem when we leave out that extraordinary expensive, damaging war in Iraq, which has caused much more harm than good in my judgment. I don’t understand from my conservative friends, building a road, building a school, helping to get health care, that’s wasteful spending. But that war in Iraq, that’s going to cost us over a trillion dollars, yeah, I wish we hadn’t done that we would have been in a lot better shape fiscally.”

George Stephanopoulos intervened, hoping to change the subject, saying the war issue is a subject for “a whole other show.” Frank drove the point home: “No, it’s isn’t. That’s the problem. The problem is we look at spending and say don’t spend on highways or health care. Let’s builds weapons to defeat the Soviet Union when we don’t need them. Let’s have hundreds of billions of dollars going to the military without a check. Unless everything is on the table, then you are going to have a disproportionate hit in some places.”

It seems, as part of the coverage of the stimulus debate, far more Republicans are getting air time than Democrats. If the majority party were to convince news outlets to change this, I might recommend putting Frank on TV as much as humanly possible.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.