After Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s name was disclosed as “Senate Candidate 5″–the Congress member who may have engaged in some minor, good-faith, “Pay-to-Play” action with Gov. Rod Blagojevich over his possible appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama–he quickly came forward to confess his role in the alleged bribery scheme.
Rep. Jackson, now in his sixth term, admitted he had talked to Gov. Blagojevich, the person with the sole power to appoint the President-elect’s successor, just one day before federal agents arrested the Illinois governor. Mr. Jackson said he only presented his credentials and polling information that suggests he could win re-election in 2010.
For weeks (two years all totaled) FBI agents had been listening to Mr. Blagojevich talk about a number of potential prizes he could get in exchange for his appointment to the Senate seat. The guy is clearly delusional. Because he knew that the Feds were investigating him, but he still said out loud that he thought he could get anything from an ambassadorship to a corporate board slot for his wife. From who?
Okay, I am not so naÃ¯ve as to forget who mayors and governors always appoint to panels, boards, and commissions–their supporters who raise and contribute money to their coffers. But this scheme by the governor was bizarre. What could they have been thinking?
What tipped the scale for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, was when the FBI said they overheard Mr. Blagojevich saying he was giving “greater consideration” to one potential senator–Senate Candidate 5, because of his willingness to raise money.
Even though the prosecutor’s case would have been stronger had he waited for one of the conspirators to actually commit a crime before arresting the governor, Mr. Fitzgerald swooped in prematurely, not to necessarily convict Gov. Blagojevich of a crime, but in order to prevent him from appointing Rep. Jackson. If the Feds hadn’t rushed in, by now the governor might have already named Rep. Jackson to succeed Mr. Obama. The arrest was executed in order to stop a Jackson appointment.
Jesse Jackson Jr. probably would have been a great addition to the U.S. Senate. And a strong merit-based case can be made for his appointment, but maybe it is best that his quest for this Senate seat seems to have passed him by this time. Now he’ll have time to reset his moral compass.
Maybe he wanted too much to be a Senator.
In an interview with CNN Rep. Jackson denied participating in the “pay to play” politics that His Nibs The Guv’n’r is accused of in the criminal complaint.
“When it’s over, I want everyone to know that I want my name back. … I’m fighting now for my character, and I’m also fighting for my life,” he said. “This is about my children being able to Google their name in five years and there be nothing there associated with them that suggests anything wrong.”
He’s “proud” of his name, he said. He named a daughter Jessica and a son Jesse. But I am haunted by the sound of Jesse Jackson Jr.’s bitter vilification of his father, The Rev. Jesse Jackson, after the Senior Jackson’s also delusional political castration joke concerning then-candidate Obama. This was before the Convention, the Nomination. I was a little disturbed at its ferocity until a wise, veteran, political strategist told me, way back then, that Rep. Jackson was desperate to be seen as an Obama loyalist in order to be favorably considered for the Senate seat, so, he publicly rebuked his own father.
I think that’s wanting too much to be a U.S. Senator.
Rep. Jackson said he does not understand why Gov. Blagojevich believed he would trade favors in exchange for an appointment to the Senate, saying he had “nothing to offer but my record of public service.”
Good record. Now tarnished. Because J.J. Jr. wanted too much to be a Senator.