So Barney Frank, who just retired after 32 years in the House, is letting it be known he’d love to be appointed an interim Senator between the time John Kerry resigns to become Secretary of State, and the special election Gov. Deval Patrick must hold between 145 and 160 days later.

Normally these interim gigs rightly go to honor someone whose contributions have gone largely unrewarded in the past, and/or to a noncontroversial public figure. Frank doesn’t qualify on either ground. But he does have something that interim candidates don’t usually have: a distinctive substantive reason for wanting to serve, however briefly, in the Senate at this particular moment:

“A month ago, or a few weeks ago, I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It was kind of like you’re about to graduate, and they said: ‘You gotta go to summer school.’ But [the fiscal cliff deal] now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial history.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank also likes the idea of being in the Senate as a deterrent to the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense–and as Hagel’s tormenter if Obama goes ahead with the much-rumored appointment.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.