Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jackson Emissary: Daddy Jesse

The Bench speculates: Jesse Jackson, Sr. is the "emissary" who approached Governor Blagojevich about naming Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) to fill the US Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Daddy Jesse, we believe, did that without his son's knowledge. Is Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. "Senate Candidate 5," one of the people that Blago referred to in secretly recorded phone conversations of the Governor? Junior says no. We say, not so fast. Yesterday, Junior joined a flurry of Democrats who tripped all over themselves in a rush to deny any involvement in Governor Rod Blagojevich's "crime spree," as federal prosecutors are calling it. The "spree" includes the alleged attempted sale of Obama's vacated US Senate seat. Junior's father, the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson, Sr., is a man with a long history of extorting money from corporations. Squeezing people is just business to Daddy Jesse. His ego is enormous and he would undoubtedly like to see Junior become a US Senator, which would enhance his potential to one day become a viable presidential contender. Daddy Jesse ran for president but failed miserably. Like a non-athletic father who lives vicariously through his son the high school football star, Jesse Jackson, Sr. has personal high hopes for Junior in the game of politics. We don't hold the sins of the father against the son, but Junior's tightly crafted denial yesterday of any involvement in Blago's Senate seat scandal was less than satisfying. In fact, it was not a complete denial. Excerpts from his remarks on Wednesday, with analysis: JACKSON, JR: "I want to make this fact plain: I reject and denounce pay-to-play politics and have no involvement whatsoever in any wrongdoing." ANALYSIS: Perhaps... JACKSON, JR: "I did not initiate nor authorize anyone -- at any time -- to promise anything -- to Governor Blagojevich on my behalf. I never sent a message or an emissary to the Governor to make an offer or to propose a deal about the U.S. Senate seat (period)." ANALYSIS: This may be strictly, literally true. However, notice that he never denies knowing about someone approaching Blago on his behalf. In other words, just because Jackson "did not initiate nor authorize anyone" to pitch him for the Senate seat, does not necessarily mean that he did not know that someone was doing it. Furthermore, Jackson stated that he "never sent a message or an emissary to the Governor" about it, but Jackson said nothing about sending a message or an emissary to any of the Governor's agents. Most importantly, Junior never said that he himself never made "an offer or to propose a deal about the U.S. Senate seat." He said nobody else did, but did not deny doing it himself. "I never sent a message" is not the same as saying "I never said." (If I hand you a gift, did I "send" that gift to you?) JACKSON, JR: "I thought -- mistakenly -- that the process was fair, above board and on the merits." ANALYSIS: Did Junior just land on Planet Earth last week? Merits? Since when did the Machine or the Combine care about merits? Is Jackson really not aware that during Blago's re-election campaign in 2006, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said publicly that Blago was being investigated for fraudulent hiring practices? Did Jackson miss the news that Tony Rezko, Blago's top fund-raiser and adviser from the 2002 election, was indicted on corruption charges? Did Junior miss all the coverage of the Rezko corruption trial? Did Junior not grow up with a father who is up to his buggy eyeballs in the corruption of Chicago and Illinois? Does Jackson really want us to believe that he is so naive about the nature of local political corruption? Is he really as naive as that? JACKSON, JR: "I wanted to be considered for the appointment because I believe in public service....That's what I shared with Governor Blagojevich on Monday, when I had the opportunity to meet with him for the first time in about four years. I presented my record, my qualifications and my vision. Despite what he may have been looking for, that's all I had to offer. And, that's what we discussed." ANALYSIS: That may be true (although I doubt it), but once again it does not present a specific denial. JACKSON, JR: "I spoke to the U.S. Attorney's office on Tuesday. They shared with me that I am NOT a target of the investigation and that I am NOT accused of any misconduct." ANALYSIS: Now, really, if Junior is a "a target of the investigation," and if he is being investigated, do you think Patrick Fitzgerald and his team would tell him that? Junior may not be accused of any misconduct at the moment, but as the investigation continues there is always the possibility that new charges will be brought against more individuals. JACKSON, JR: "In the days ahead, federal law enforcement officials want to meet and discuss what I know about the process." ANALYSIS: No doubt. It remains to be seen whether after Junior has met with the feds, he is still not accused of any misconduct. Junior did not mention his father in his remarks. Jesse Senior has enough contacts with deep pockets that he could, in theory, make an offer to Blago on behalf of his son. If that happened, it could have happened without Junior's knowledge. But Blago knows, Blago's aides know, and the feds know. All that remains is for the rest of us to find out. RELATED: ABC News: Jesse Jackson Jr. Is Candidate 5 Unmasking Jesse Jackson Jesse Jackson, with No Role The Trail AtlanticBlog: Staying in the family business BlagoGate: Who’s Who? « RBO Washington Wire - : Blagojevich, Elected as Reformer, Is ... Michelle Malkin » Jesse Jackson disses Obama on race; castration ... Jesse Jackson unplugged - Mary Mitchell Commentmax Archives