Rep. Barney Frank’s Monday decision to retire will remove one of the staunchest defenders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — and may replace the Massachusetts Democrat with an even stauncher defender, California Rep. Maxine Waters. . . . Waters, who has represented South Los Angeles since 1990, has viewed Freddie and Fannie as key to serving low-income housing needs. In a 2003 hearing, she denied that anything at all was amiss with the mortgage giants.

“We do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and in particular at Fannie Mae, under the outstanding leadership of Mr. Frank Raines,” she said. She applauded the expansion of its activities too.

In fact, the highly leveraged giants were swollen with subprime loans, which began defaulting when the housing bubble burst in 2007. By 2008, the federal government had to step in.

Technically private, the companies had long benefited from an implicit government guarantee. The housing crisis made that explicit. So far, taxpayers have had to bail out Freddie and Fannie to the tune of about $154 billion.

Waters has been the subject of an ethics probe relating to a meeting she set up with top Treasury officials to help save a minority-owned bank. Her husband was a bank director and shareholder. She has denied any wrongdoing.

I remember when “Insane Clown Posse” was just the name of a band, and not a description of our political class.