The Waste

I see that the editors of the Sun-Times understand the sorrow that I expressed when I learned of Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s plea deal:

The name alone guaranteed him a safe seat in Congress for life, a staging point from which to run for mayor of Chicago or the U.S. Senate.

In 1997, Newsweek wondered if he would be the first black president.

And what a terrific congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. promised to be. From the day he was elected in 1995 from the Second District, he was a star. He made a point of never missing a floor vote. He got a plum seat on the Appropriations Committee. Had he done nothing but stay in Congress, he could have built seniority, broadened his influence and one day run the show.

And make no mistake, Jackson Jr. had the chops to do it. He was smart and charismatic. He worked hard. He was his father’s son, yes, but much more. He had his own ideas, his own notions and ways.

And then he threw it all away. Starting in 2008, Jackson Jr. all but disappeared from public view, ducking the rumors and allegations that he had schemed to buy a Senate seat from Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

It really is the stuff of Greek tragedy. This is hubris at work, plain for all to see and in our own times.

As Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” He wasn’t the first to express such a sentiment—the idea goes back at least a century farther with similar statements having been made by William Pitt the Elder more than a century before. And yet we continue to insist that power be further aggregated rather than dispersed.

3 comments… add one
  • Icepick Link

    I don’t see the tragedy in this: He’s a greedy, amoral son of another greedy, amoral jerk. He road his father’s coattails to a plum assignment and then stayed greedy. The only amazing thing is that someone bothered to investigate him. Really, one has to wonder what he did to piss off Obama to not get this completely buried. (They’re going to bury the Menendez stuff if it kills them. Rubio takes a sip of water and his career is allegedly over. Menendez fucks under-aged prostitutes while prostituting his own Senate seat, and that’s considered hunky-dory stuff by the Obama spokespeople.)

    Seriously, if Jesse Jr.’s name were Courvoisier Winetavius Richardson would he have been given a Congressional seat, and been touted as a future Senator or President, or at least a future Speaker? He’s just a crooked SOB, and here’s hoping he ends up rotting in some maximum security prison as someone’s private bitch. An awful lot of us can’t get a decent shake for an honest living, and this crook was partly responsible for that while looting the country. No sympathy for the looters, crooks and liars destroying the country.

  • Drew Link


    Add the Clintons, and it seems with every passing day the more illuminated moral fiber of our current president, and you have a wrap.

  • Icepick Link

    A crap wrap, and we’re all getting seconds. Ugh.

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