There is no way to be amused with the actions of Jesse Jackson, Jr.
While we all can understand illness, in this case the Chicago congressman has been suffering from bi-polar disorder, no one should be accepting the larger story that has been pedaled for at least the past four months.
The fact is there is a raft of legal problems Jackson is facing, with even an indictment perhaps being handed down against him.
The elected official has not been seen by his constituents since June.
Well that is not entirely correct.
Jackson is not able to see his constituents because there might be press around who are surely to ask lots of more than legitimate questions. So instead of talking with those he is supposed to represent Jackson smokes cigars at home, picks his kids up from school while driving his car, and visits a local bar where he sits in the back.
This secrecy and seclusion from constituents is just not the way for a public official to conduct themself–especially one that is on the ballot for reelection this November.
While all can have empathy for those suffering from bi-polar illness, no one should he lulled into thinking that his illness is also not being used as cover to stay out of the public light at this most sensitive time as the legal dragnet closes around him.
That is no way for a congressperson to act.
His constituents haven’t seen him in four months. His staff insists he is too depressed for public appearances. But The Daily found Jesse Jackson Jr. smoking a cigar on the stoop of his $1.3 million home yesterday, the same day he was accused of bilking his campaign funds and drinking away his nights with women who aren’t his wife.
In his first interview since taking a leave of absence in early June, the Illinois congressman — sitting with his father, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Sr. — talked about his health and how he is spending his time with Election Day less than a month away and his job on the line. In late summer, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson announced that her husband had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was being treated at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Jackson told The Daily that he is “not well” and has doctor’s appointments twice a day at George Washington University Hospital, not far from his home in the trendy DuPont Circle neighborhood: “I go over there … at 10 [a.m.] and 1 p.m.”
When The Daily’s photographer took his picture earlier in the day, Jackson explained he had been “picking up my kids.” He didn’t elaborate on whether he was headed to the school or had just returned when he decided to take a cigar break on the steps, resting his lit Monte Cristo on a wall leading up to the front entrance of his red-brick Victorian. On the driveway were a cigar butt, a cigar band, a half-foot pile of ashes and a nearly full box of matches.
Jackson didn’t address the allegation that he misused money from his supporters — to decorate his home. One of his hometown newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times, reported that Jackson is being investigated by the FBI and could be indicted before Nov. 6, when voters in the 2nd District will cast their ballots. The Justice Department is also looking into whether Jackson tried to buy the Senate seat left open when Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008.
In a brief interview alone before going into his son’s house, Jesse Jackson Sr. told The Daily that his son is “just trying to clear his head. He’s been under medical supervision.”
Jesse Jackson Sr. told The Daily that he had not spoken with his son in two or three days.
“I don’t know his routine,” the father said.
Jesse Jackson Jr. showed up at the Bier Baron Tavern last Tuesday and Wednesday, the first time he had been seen in a public place since going on leave.
Jackson caught the attention of both patrons and the staff. A server who would identify himself only as “Frank” told The Daily that Jackson was with a group that included both men and women.
“He was here. He was drinking. He was with other people,” Frank said. “I personally didn’t serve his table.”
Jackson’s home is on the delivery route that Anthony Short drives for UPS. He often sees the congressman outside.
“Most of the time he’s talking on his damn phone,” Short told The Daily. “He has a cigar and is puffing away.”