CHICAGO, July 11, 2012 — Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is telling reporters that Jesse Jackson Jr. has a responsibility to come forward to give his constituents more information about his supposed illness.
Gutierrez is right. So are Senators Dick Durbin and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. They are calling on Jackson for some kind of statement. There is also a growing Chicago media chorus demanding more information.
Jackson owes the public, who pay his salary, a good solid explanation for disappearing off the face of the earth. If he can no longer perform his duties as a congressman he should drop out of his reelection race.
Oh, wait. Conveniently and coincidently, Jackson’s people announced his disappearance on the very last day anyone could file for election in Illinois. No candidate can be slated to run for his seat even if Jackson is totally incapacitated or if he resigns, willingly or by force. If Jackson were to drop out, his Republican opponent would run unopposed and win by default. That is not going to happen.
Jackson is now a true stealth candidate and congressman. No one knows where he is, what, if anything, is wrong with him, or why he is hiding. His name is on the ballot, which is all that counts.
Jackson is a public servant. Public service is a privilege, not a right or entitlement. There is no shield of privacy or immunity from disclosure. If he is hiding, the public has a right to know exactly why. If he can no longer perform his job, the public has a right to his resignation, no matter who replaces him.
Jackson is being irresponsible and dishonest. He is also being clever. His reelection is guaranteed. He is the Chicago Machine candidate. Hopefully, at the very least, he will emerge from Never Never Land to be sworn in, his only campaign obligation.
The silence over Jackson’s disappearance and condition is grist for the rumor mill, which is working overtime. It will not be long before rumors become facts in the minds of his constituents.
Supposedly, Jackson disappeared after having a conversation with House Speaker John Boehner over his ethics investigation. Boehner allegedly told Jackson that things did not look good for him. Jackson is being investigated for the role he may have played in the scandal involving former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
The allegations surrounding that begin with Blagojevich trying to sell or trade President Obama’s vacant senate seat for campaign donations. Blagojevich was indicted, tried, convicted, and sentenced to fourteen years in prison for doing that.
Around the time of Jackson’s disappearance, federal authorities indicted Raghuveer Nayak on fraud and tax charges. Nayak was a businessman, fundraiser, campaign bundler, and friend of Jackson.
The ethics investigation revolves around Nayak promising to raise six million dollars for Blagojevich if the governor would appoint Jackson to the vacant seat.
Nayak also paid the transportation costs of Jackson’s “social acquaintance” Giovana Huidobro so she could travel between Washington D.C. and Chicago to, ahem, socialize and acquaint. Jackson has steadfastly maintained his innocence over the ethics charges. He avoided making statemetns over allegations of marital infidelity.
Chicago radio station WLS, citing two high-ranking Democrats, reported a rumor yesterday that Jackson may have attempted or threatened suicide.
So where is Jesse Jackson, Jr.?
Jackson may be holed up with the feds singing his brains out. He could be using “illness” and hospitalization to temporarily shield himself from a possible federal indictment. Jackson might be in the witness protection program. Aliens may have abducted him, or he is being held in the UFO compound in Roswell New Mexico.
He may have just slipped and fallen into the vortex.
Stranger things have happened in (Chicago) politics.
Jesse Jackson Sr. is refuting all the various rumors. He thinks calls for more information are “inappropriate.” He stubbornly maintains people should respect his son’s privacy. No one cares what he thinks. No one has for years. He is an irrelevant anachronism.
Jesse Jackson Jr. is like all Chicago Democratic politicians. He is part and parcel of the Chicago Democratic Machine. There is no transparency in that political crime family. Everything is opaque. Everything is a deep dark secret.
The Chicago and national media need to step up and continuously demand the truth about Jesse Jackson Jr. They should keep digging and asking the hard questions. The media should be fearless, courageous, and relentless in their pursuit.
There is too much convenience and coincidence surrounding Jackson’s mysterious disappearance. Eventually the truth will come out. There are no secrets and Jesse Jackson is stonewalling and/or covering up something.
Whether it is the true state of his physical and mental health, his legal travails, his personal problems, or a combination of all of them, people deserve to know what it is. Where is he? When he will be back to represent them?
A United States congressman cannot disappear and just expect people to accept a lame excuse. Jackson is going to have to come out and be specific about what ails him or whatever his problem is. That is called transparency, something Democrats are good at promoting but refuse to practice.
People surrounding Jackson have to stop asking for prayers and start giving answers. The media needs to stop listening to Jackson’s handlers and pursue this story for all it is worth. This is red meat for the watchdogs.
The longer this goes on the more people will not believe Jackson is ill. Worse, they will not care, if they ever did.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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