Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jesse, Jr., coming back. Or is he?

Some political observers are getting all worked up over the situation affecting Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., who may well go through the campaign cycle without making a single appearance.
JACKSON: Should he stay, or go?

His aides say he “sounds fine” when they talk to him via telephone from Chicago to his house in the District of Columbia – where he has been staying since his release from the Mayo Clinic.

BUT WE DON’T really know anything firsthand – as in any observations we could make for ourselves or any words from his own mouth.

It has some people claiming he ought to resign. It has others saying we ought to give serious thought to voting for any of the three people wishing to challenge him in the Nov. 6 elections (although one of those people is not actually on the ballot – fans of the Rev. Anthony Williams will have to write him in).

We’re hearing a lot of rhetoric about how some sort of scam is being pulled on the public – either in the form of putting a member of Congress in place who isn’t capable of serving, OR setting up some sort of bait-and-switch in which the political powers-that-be will replace Jackson AFTER Election Day!

Anything is possible in the political world.

BUT I HAVE to confess that my reaction to the rhetoric being spewed is to wonder why people are getting so worked up. They’re going to stress themselves out over something that they really can’t impact.

Perhaps if they had put such effort into the primary election cycle, they might have been able to give some support to Debbie Halvorson – the former member of Congress who wanted to have a political comeback by challenging Jackson.
HALVORSON: We took a pass

She could have been a credible alternative – unlike any of the people now facing Jackson on a general election ballot.

I wonder if we’d be worse off if we had a “Rep. Anthony Williams,” a member of Congress who has run a half-dozen campaigns under every political party viable – and is now a write-in largely because no party really wants much to do with him.

FORMER POLITICAL SCIENCE professor Brian Woodworth of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais may be more out-of-touch with the Far South Side that comprises the bulk of the Illinois Second Congressional District as the people who live down around Kankakee will claim that Jackson is with their home area.

And as for Marcus Lewis, a political independent? I wonder if he might be the only one worth taking seriously. He works for the U.S. Postal Service – which means he may have a clue on what a bungled bureaucratic mess our federal government is capable of being.

I can’t say that I think any of these people (even the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday couldn’t bring itself to endorse any of them) warrants a vote over Jackson – which may well be a matter of voting to let the Democratic Party organizations in Cook, Will and Kankakee counties decide who should represent the district in Congress until said date that a special election can be held.

A financial waste such an election would be, particularly since the congressional term is only two years. Come 2014, we’ll be picking yet again.

I’M NOT TRYING to be a Jackson apologist. I wish I had a better handle on what his condition truly is, and if he himself is capable of serving his own term.

JACKSON: The next Stroger, if not careful
I’d hope that the Jackson camp (which is rumored to be considering putting his wife, Sandi – the 7th Ward alderman – in the post if Jesse, Jr., really steps down) recalls how badly such a maneuver backfired when Todd Stroger ascended to replace father John as president of the Cook County Board. Does Sandi want to be thought of as lowly as many of us regard Todd these days?

But I also keep in mind that much of the rhetoric we’re hearing being spewed these days is coming from people with their own partisan agendas. Remember early on the speculation that all this talk of Jackson being ill was really just a cover for him undergoing treatment for alcoholism or some sort of drug addiction – if not both?

The man who was diagnosed as suffering from a bipolar disorder may still be the target of a lot of political trash talk. Giving in to such trash winds up degrading us all.


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