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Jesse Jackson Jr. Is Super Tired

I wonder if Jesse Jackson Jr. is exhausted from booze, drugs, sex or federal investigators.

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Junior joins an illustrious list.

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Look, if the guy is suffering from an addiction or depression or just needs some time to work out issues in his marriage - as the Sun-Times reports - we can all be sympathetic. But don't give us "exhaustion." If you're going to ask that we respect your family's privacy, respect our intelligence.

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Does it say something about the sparse coverage of our congressional delegation that one of its more high-profile members can go missing for 16 days and no one seems to notice until the family issues a statement?

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John Kass seemed to know something was up last week when he wrote a column headlined "Nayak's In The Federal Frying Pan. But Where's Jesse Jackson Jr.?"


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It was Phil Kadner, though, with perhaps the best (pre-exhaustion) take, in the SouthtownStar:

While covering the trials of both former Gov. George Ryan and Blagojevich, I repeatedly pointed out that whether or not a guilty verdict was returned, both men surrounded themselves with people who were slime.

There's only one reason you do that, and it has nothing at all to do with good government.

Congressman Jackson has repeatedly and vehemently denied that he ever had anything to do with a bribe in exchange for a Senate seat.

At this point, I don't care. I leave that sort of stuff to judges and juries and congressional ethics committees.

I do care that Jackson chose the Great Ragu to be his confidant, his drinking buddy and his travel agent for his "social acquaintance."

There are good, honest, hard-working people all over America, but time and again our elected officials choose to associate with shady, dishonest characters who are willing to bend the law, break the law and raise campaign cash.

You and I would hope that the day Nayak stepped into Jackson's office or home for the first time, the congressman would have told him, "Follow the slime trail you left on your way in and never come back again."

Jackson didn't. Blagojevich didn't. That in itself is unacceptable.

Jackson still doesn't seem to understand that his association with Nayak tells us a lot about the congressman's character. He thinks it's all about the court system and ethics committees.

No one has convicted him of anything, he will tell you.

The politicians would say you little people just don't understand what it's like in their world.

I think we do. And it's rotten to the core.

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It's true. Some of my friends may be degenerates, but they're not slimebags. They tend not to have police records and they never get indicted. The sleazoids in the political system get there one way and one way only: With their money. That's what gives them entree.

How incredibly odd, then, that this week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Montana law limiting corporate campaign contributions while reaffirming its Citizens United decision that said, in part, that "independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

On what planet is that true?

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To be fair, Jackson attorney Paul Langer told the Sun-Times that his client's leave of absence was "unequivocally . . . unrelated to the arrest of Mr. Nayak."

Langer being a lawyer, I'm going to accept only the narrowest of interpretations of that statement: It wasn't the arrest per se, but maybe some other aspect of the Nayak case. Or the combination of Nayak and Jackson's marriage. Or maybe it's just his marriage, but his marriage is in trouble because of an affair Jackson had in which Nayak provided financial and logistical support to facilitate.

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"Raghuveer Nayak, the Oak Brook businessman arrested Wednesday on charges he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to doctors and then wrote them off on his taxes as advertising, 'was always welcome in the Jackson home,'" Mark Brown wrote in the Sun-Times last week.

"Don't take my word for it.

"That comes straight out of an interview Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. gave three years ago to House Ethics Committee investigators looking into whether he tried to buy the U.S. Senate seat that Rod Blagojevich was convicted of trying to sell him."

Ouch.

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"Nayak was probably less welcome in the congressman's home after word later got out that he was the one who had paid to fly Jackson's 'social acquaintance' - Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess Giovana Huidobro - to Chicago for at least two visits where we can assume they got better socially acquainted.

"That's a friend indeed, which may be why Jackson doesn't seem to have volunteered that information during his 2009 interview with ethics investigators."

Maybe he was just too tired to spit it out.

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Fellow congressman Danny Davis told the Sun-Times that "We knew that he at one time had some medical attention a few years ago, and so it does not surprise me. The heat may have just gotten the best of him for a little bit."

The paper also reported that "Last time Jackson was suffering from exhaustion, he sought refuge and recharged his batteries at the California home of supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, a source said."

The last time I suffered exhaustion was . . . right now.

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Look, Jesse Jackson Jr. is in a world of hurt. There is no intent here to be mean. But that's what happens when you aren't forthcoming. Going into hiding without a clearer explanation is only going to foster the cynicism it deserves.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on June 26, 2012


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