Jesse Jackson Jr.’s spiral into mental illness would be a tragedy, if not for its convenience. With probes into campaign finances and the FBI breathing down his neck, it appears the Congressman wanted a break. He’s been out of sight since June 10, 2012 when he took a leave of absence citing “exhaustion.” Only later, and after intense pressure by the media, did his handlers finally reveal he was being treated at Mayo Clinic for bipolar disorder. Does that require a four month leave of absence?
Medical experts can argue the diagnosis and treatment for themselves. The real debate is whether he should continue to hold office when he very clearly isn’t able to represent the 2nd Congressional District of Illinois. I’d like to think that is a question for the voters. The most recent polls, according to the Chicago Sun Times, show Jackson with a 14 point lead. The ghost of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick appears to reside in Chicago.
Since the 2008 election, Congressman Jackson has been under a virtually constant investigation. It first started as part of the probe into the Blagojevich scandal. Revelations of the probe include Jackson’s affair with Giovana Huidobro. The Office of Congressional ethics found probable cause that Jackson improperly used his position to seek the Senate seat vacated by President Obama. The House Ethics panel investigation is ongoing. The FBI and Federal prosecutors have led the most recent probe, this time use of campaign funds. This latest investigation, like the others, began before the Congressman’s sudden leave of absence.
Looking back over the past four years, it’s as if the Jackson camp had a scandal checklist. Affair while married … check. Connections to national scandal … check … Potential misuse of campaign funds…check. Go into hiding until post-election … check, check, check!
Congressman Jackson has missed every vote in the last four months. Every single vote; in fact, through the first three quarters of 2012, he’s missed 45% of all eligible votes. He hasn’t campaigned. He hasn’t met with residents of his district. He hasn’t done any work of any kind. According to unnamed sources, he has been seen at a couple of different bars in the D.C. area. I’m sure that falls under his doctor’s order to “stay very calm, very quiet,” as his wife reiterated to reporters at City Hall on October 3.
Explain it to me, Chicago, because I just don’t get it. Why on earth would you reelect a man that has been embroiled in scandal after scandal? He’s alleged to have misspent YOUR donated money to decorate his house. He isn’t even going to work anymore.
According to his own wife, he has no intention of campaigning before the November 6th election. Asked when he’ll return to work, Sandi Jackson replied, “”I believe at some point in time he will come back. I don’t know whether that will be before the election or after the election.” Excuse me? You “believe?” You “don’t know” when? Yet he’s ahead in the polls. By every account, he WILL be reelected.
“Enough with treating the voters like a bunch of chumps,” Sunday’s Chicago Sun Times editorial implored. With all due respect to the Times and voters, he’ll stop treating you like one when you stop acting like one. Consider electing an adult that can do the job without resorting to illegal activities. Elect someone that will actually show up for work.
The residents of Detroit would like to remind you, you get what you vote for. In this case, an empty suit in an empty office.
Image: Jesse Jackson, Jr; courtesy of http://www.house.gov/jackson/Photos.shtml; United States Congress; public domain.