First Posted: 2/19/2013
Slow this down. Think it through, in all its remarkable, reprehensible detail.
Ask yourself how an enormously gifted attorney, accustomed to the national limelight even before his eight terms in the U.S. House, could think his bold conduct involving staff members and other potential witnesses against him would remain secret.
Ask how he could squander a probable lifetime position in Congress. Squander all the good he might do there for the people he had sought to provide with better jobs and better futures.
No, Jesse Jackson Jr. wouldn’t be the first to purposefully slow-walk that years-long walk. Not the first to delight in secret luxuries and expensive acquisitions along a reliable, efficient path to the self-destruction of his career and his reputation.
Imagine, though, the depth of conniving, or self-delusion, or entitlement, or sheer audacious recklessness, that the federal accusations against Jackson would have required of him. What the feds on Friday suggested had happened here is a sustained crime spree that could succeed only if a man ensnarled by elaborate financial reporting requirements somehow kept it all secret.
We’re talking about that fabulously blessed congressman — a pol seriously mentioned as a future Chicago mayor or U.S. president — allegedly converting some $750,000 in campaign donations for the personal benefit of himself and his wife, Sandi.
If and when a federal court accepts plea deals, we’ll learn whether either Jackson, or both, is prison-bound. We’ll learn, that is, just how blindingly darkness has fallen on two people who, fair to say, have disappointed admirers by the millions.
We’re left to murmur cliches about the disappointment that is.
And about the Jacksonian accomplishments that could have been.