Friday, July 6, 2012

Forgiveness? Or folly?

It’s not like they coordinated their efforts on Thursday. But both Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., and Cook County Commissioner William Beavers seemed to have the same goal in mind.
BEAVERS: Didn't do it. Or so he says

The two government officials who represent the city’s Far South side and surrounding suburbs both engaged in actions that they hope help boost their public profile in a much more sympathetic way than they are being viewed now.

BEAVERS, ALSO A former Chicago alderman, is the county official who currently faces an indictment in U.S. District Court on tax-related charges that claim he messed around with his municipal pensions so as to boost his eventual payment.

Jackson doesn’t face any criminal charges, although he still has the prospect of being censured someday by the House of Representatives for his conduct in office. And there are some people of a certain ideological bent who want to believe it is just a matter of time before the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson has his own indictment to deal with.

Both men would prefer that we not place so much emphasis on the allegations against them.

In the case of Beavers, he had a press conference with his lawyers on hand to claim that he didn’t do anything wrong. He also used the occasion to take some pot-shots at now-former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

WHICH LIKELY WAS the real point of the timing of this event. Fitzgerald wasn’t easily available to respond to the borderline slander (a capon?) being spewed by Beavers. Of course, Beavers has been maintaining a low profile lately when it comes to county government business – a fact that I’m sure bothers the usually outspoken politico.

The gag finally came off!!!

For the record, Beavers says he didn’t violate any federal tax laws because the money involved in his attempt to buy more credit of time toward his pension was a loan that he repaid in full.
JACKSON: Not a hypochondriac

Prosecutors, of course, claim it was campaign contributions made to Beavers that was meant for very limited purposes.

AS FOR WHOM we’re supposed to believe, that will be determined by the jury of Beavers’ peers (most likely a batch of suburban people, with a couple of token city residents) that gets picked when he goes to trial.

That could be sometime around the end of 2012. Because I think the man who believes he’s being prosecuted for refusing to wear a wiretap as part of another federal investigation of local politics is too stubborn to envision pleading guilty to anything.

In his mindset, he’s more innocent than Rod Blagojevich is in his own mind.

Or more innocent than Jackson, Jr., considers himself to be these days.

NOW I’LL BE the first to concede that Jackson’s statement of Thursday (the one that says he’s more ill than previously admitted. The phrase “long-term treatment” is being bandied about.

The statement he issued last month about needing to be treated for exhaustion created a lot of skeptics who think he’s trying to avoid something – although speculation about what he’s avoiding is all over the political map.

I couldn’t help but read into his Thursday statement that this is meant to get the skeptics to shut up – because he really is physically ill.

Now I’ll admit that I haven’t seen Jackson physically since the rural Will County blessing of the future site of an airport to be built near Peotone. That was back in April. He looked a little sluggish back then, but only in the way that all political people are a bit worn out from their activity.

SO I DON’T really know how “ill” he truly is. Although I’m sure the people who dream of a Jackson indictment are going to claim it’s all a batch of bunk. Then again, they’re probably plotting the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts for not voting against health care reform.

And they’re probably also the kind of people who are scoffing at Beavers, the politico who once described himself as the “hog with the big nuts” who on Thursday referred to his prosecutors as the “rooster with no nuts.”

Although you have to admit, whether you agree with Beavers or not, that is one heck of a line – one likely to be remembered among Chicago political geeks for decades to come.


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