Feature

Jackson Jr.’s shameful letdown

When he entered politics, Jackson seemed to be a “breath of fresh air” in the corrupt world of Illinois politics.

Clarence PageChicago Tribune

“Even by the jaded standards of Illinois politics,” said Clarence Page, the illegal spending spree by former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was “breathtakingly shameless.” The Illinois Democrat and his wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, pleaded guilty last week to spending $750,000 of campaign cash on a “bonanza of goodies,” including a gold-plated Rolex watch, a cruise, a cashmere cape, and two stuffed elk heads. “Tell everybody back home I’m sorry I let them down,” Jackson said. Perhaps his bipolar disorder played a role in his reckless self-destruction, but let everybody down he did. When he entered politics, Jackson seemed to be a “breath of fresh air” in the corrupt ‘Where’s mine?’ world of Illinois politics, which has seen half of the last eight governors and 31 aldermen convicted of crimes since 1973. Eloquent, hard-working, and charismatic, Jackson used to be touted as a possible candidate for “mayor, governor, and beyond.” Now he’ll just be remembered for the Rolex and the elk heads. As the famous saying goes: “Never fall in love with a politician. They’ll break your heart every time.” 

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