Monday, November 12, 2012

Outrage concerning the outrage that surrounds Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.

It seems that many people got themselves more worked up during the past week concerning the status of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
JACKSON: More of the same revelations?

We got the front-page story in the Chicago Sun-Times (which really was a giant teaser to Mike Sneed’s gossip column) just after Election Day – the one that played itself off as though it were major revelations about the character of the son of the civil rights leader.

YET THE ONLY new thing I really got from that story was the fact that the newly-reelected member of Congress was willing to plead guilty to something – in return for the right deal.

Although technically, we already knew before the elections that Jackson’s people were talking with the U.S. attorney’s office concerning his fate. So even this wasn’t a major revelation!

But that isn’t stopping people from getting all worked up – particularly a group of female aldermen who are now claiming they feel deceived because they supported Jackson’s re-election even though he remained in seclusion during the entire general election campaign cycle. Although too much of this rhetoric (not just from the aldermen, but from many of those who are now complaining) sounds like it's coming from people who enjoy the sound of their own voices screaming and screeching at a loud decibel level -- rather than anything rational.

The bit that seems to get them all worked up is the revelation of the $40,000 from Jackson’s campaign fund that bought an expensive watch for a woman other than his wife. They're showing compassion for the spouse, they claim.

YET DIDN’T WE already know there had been instances of infidelity?

My basic attitude when it comes to political people being unfaithful to a spouse is to take my lead from the spouse. I always used to joke that if Hillary Clinton had wanted to take a Sammy Sosa-model baseball bat (she was, and remains, a Cubs fan) to her husband Bill, it was her business.
JACKSON: Following her lead

When she saw it in her heart to forgive him (for whatever reason), we should follow that lead. So I’m going to watch the actions of Sandy Jackson to try to figure out how to react. Other people are probably just playing off their own political biases, and aren’t worth paying attention to.

Of course, it seems that the charges the modern-day G-men are trying to pin on Jackson relate to how he spent the money in his campaign fund.

THERE ARE CIRCUMSTANCES under which money can be used for personal expenses, although they usually are limited and have strict reporting requirements. Which usually means somebody gets dinged for a technical violation.

There’s also the possibility that we’re dealing with prosecutors in this case who want to take an excessively narrow interpretation of the law and are playing it overly strict.

Which could be why we have negotiations. They’re playing hardball, and so is the Congressman. Perhaps we’ll reach a realistic interpretation of the law by the time it’s done.

That could mean a fine for the Congressman, although some reports are hinted at the possibility of jail time – which could turn out to be minimal months, but would still result in him stepping down. If he does wind up in a Bureau of Prisons-run facility, we’ll get to see how his treatment for a bipolar condition compares to that of the Mayo Clinic.

PERSONALLY, IT WOULDN’T shock me if after nearly two decades in Congress, Jackson is ready to move on. Yet all the “controversy” that has dinged his reputation means he’d probably have to put in another two decades of getting re-elected to the same Far South Side and surrounding suburbs Congressional seat before his reputation would be “rehabilitated” enough for him to seriously run for higher office.

Which was probably never the plan Jackson the younger had in mind when he got elected to Congress. He probably thought by now he’d have a chance at Chicago mayor and the possibility of holding that post for a couple of decades.

It’s not going to happen, it seems. Not anytime soon. If ever!

Which is why it’s really a shame that the opposition that screams so loudly now couldn’t put up credible opposition during the election cycle.

THE OPPOSITION THIS time around was so weak that Jackson still got more than 60 percent of the vote running against three other people (the most interesting of whom may well have been the Rev. Anthony Williams who was reduced to being a write-in candidate this time around). The other two just seemed to be counting on the fact that people would vote for Anybody But Jesse – which isn’t a good enough reason to vote for anybody.

Which is why I’m not all worked up over the fact that Jackson got re-elected (in part because I don’t live in his district – although I have relatives who do).

It was inevitable in that I suspect that the bulk of the voters of the Illinois Second congressional – if given the chance for an Election Day do-over – probably would still vote for Junior!


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