“I’m fighting now…I’m fighting for my character and I’m also fighting for my life.” The speaker? Jesse Jackson, Jr., the person said to be “Suspect #5” in the indictment of sitting Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, one among many jockeying to be appointed to Barack Obama’s open Senate seat. In an exclusive interview on CNN (3:30 p.m., CDT), the younger, handsomer son of civil rights icon Jesse Jackson sat with his wife to answer charges posed by Don Lemon of CNN.
The Chicago Tribune is supposedly all over this story. The implication is that the Feds moved in on Blagojevich when they did to prevent the sale of President Elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat, which was empty and which we know, from the 76-page indictment against him, Blagojevich considered to be a golden commodity for sale to the highest bidder.
The “emissary” (the word used on the tape recordings) for one of the potential replacements seems to have been prepared to offer $500 thousand in campaign contributions to “Hot Rod” and another million from the potential appointee himself, to Blagojevich’s own campaign coffers, to seal the deal. Jackson, Jr., denies any of this.
David Kidwell, reporter for the Chicago Tribune, in a live interview on CNN, said “There are certainly indications that the wheels were in motion…things were happening,” when asked if the sudden arrest of “Hot Rod” Blagojevich occurred because a deal was about to be cut, possibly with Suspect #5. (i.e., Jesse Jackson, Jr.) Reiterated Kidwell, “I think it’s clear they were going to stop him (Blagojevich) from appointing anyone” by arresting him at dawn (6:30 a.m.) at his home.
In speaking with Lemon of CNN, the younger Jackson said, “I presented him (the governor) with my credentials. I have nothing to offer but my record of public service for the people for 13 and ½ years. I’ve been fighting corruption all that time.”
The problem is that, as conveyed to David Letterman on last night’s (December 11th) “Letterman” show by Republican presidential nominee John McCain, the only time he met the governor of Illinois, Blagojevich had come to the Arizona senator’s office to tell him how he was going to fight corruption. So, it becomes a case of “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” [Or, as lame duck President Bush once mangled it, using the “Who” song lyrics, “Won’t get fooled again.”]
I had the opportunity to meet Jesse Jackson, Jr. on the second floor of the Pepsi Center in Denver (the media floor). He was accompanied by a gang of rather large bodyguards. He was very spiffily dressed and seemed very full of himself. Right after I got to say “hi,” and that I was from Illinois, he was swept away down a side stairwell by his entourage, before I could ask for a picture of the two of us. I got pictures with many other political celebrities, including the Mayor of Los Angeles and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. None seemed quite as impressed with himself, quite as full of himself, as the younger Jackson, who said in today’s CNN interview, “I’ve got a great name. It’s so great that I named my daughter Jessica and my son Jesse.”
Do I have suspicions about Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s protestations of innocence? I live in Illinois. And I met the guy. Enough said.
But let me repeat my thoughts in poetic form, written when I was 16 and true to this day:
If fewer words were spoken,
If fewer words were said,
If deeds, alone, were the mark of a man,
Not the “catch” of an eloquent pledge.
If fewer words were spoken, If fewer words were said,
If, for all the fake forensics, there were simple words, instead,
And a man stated just what he started to state,
Without false fuss or further ado.
If you weren’t a politician,
I’d probably listen to you,.