By pure chance, I encountered Brian Woodworth Friday morning.
|WOODWORTH: Was he gaining traction?|
For those of you who are scratching your heads and pondering “Who????,” he’s the guy who managed to win the Republican nomination back in March for the right to be the token challenger to Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill.
I ASKED THE token question I usually ask a fringe candidate for elective office – “How’s the fundraising going?” Basically, I try to sense if ANYONE has been willing to give a dime of their cash to his political effort.
By his own admission, his fundraising was negligible until the whole fiasco arose concerning Jackson’s health and speculation about whether he was physically capable of serving any longer.
Woodworth seems to think this move gives his campaign new credibility, saying, “A lot of people were skeptical about the chances of any Republican until certain circumstances popped up,” he said, leaving those circumstances unnamed because we all know he was speaking of Jackson’s “mood disorder.”
Personally, I’d be inclined to think of Woodworth’s rhetoric as just cheap political talk. The kind of answers that one would expect a candidate to give to a reporter-type person.
EXCEPT THAT WHEN I learned that Jackson’s people were suddenly being more forthcoming with information about what ails him, it couldn’t help but make me think that maybe Woodworth was on to something.
Could it be that Jackson hopes a bit of honesty with the people of his South Side and surrounding suburban congressional district will be what overcomes the skepticism some people are developing about his physical fitness.
|JACKSON: Finally, some detail|
For what it is worth, the Chicago Sun-Times Friday afternoon reported that Jackson was transferred on Wednesday to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and that his wife, 7th Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson was with him at the time.
No wonder she wasn’t present at the City Council meeting held that morning.
ADMISSION TO THAT clinic carries quite a bit more weight than the “unnamed clinic somewhere in Arizona” story that the Jackson camp had been trying to push for the past few weeks.
Later on Friday, the Associated Press moved one of their news blurbs that said doctors at the clinic said they were evaluating Jackson for depression, and the Chicago Tribune added gastrointestinal issues to the mix.
Could we really be getting this kind of detail now because on some level, Woodworth (who is like many other token political candidates in that he’s never held electoral office) was threatening to gain some traction.
Give out a dose of information now, and perhaps the Jackson people can said the attorney and professor at Olivet Nazarene University (the school known by most Chicagoans only because the Chicago Bears use the athletic facilities for their pre-season training camp) withers back into the anonymity.
I’M SURE BOTH Woodworth and Jackson would disagree with this characterization. He probably thinks he has some staying power, while Jackson probably wants to think he’s politically invincible, particularly after his solid defeat in March of Debbie Halvorson in the Democratic primary.
Then again, perhaps the thought that he could actually get beat in an election even though he has a congressional district drawn to order so that his South Side neighborhoods overwhelm the desires of the Will and Kankakee county residents at its far southern tip, perhaps that is what made Jackson depressed in the first place.
Now I don’t mean to demean the seriousness of Jackson’s physical or emotional health. He is in a stressful position, and I’m sure there are times when the hassles are hard to cope with. It just makes me wonder how less stressful this situation could have been for him in recent weeks if his camp had just come forth with some details up front.
Yes, the kind of people who want to believe that all this talk about depression is just cover for alcoholism would still have found something to obsess about. Yet it would have been so much easier to dismiss them as irrational if Jackson had been open.