One would think that the top political story of the past week in Chicago would naturally be the reelection of Chicago’s political native son, President Barack Obama. As anyone from Chicago can contest, however, the top story has to do with continued shame – not only shame for the infamous and notorious Chicago politics which have plagued the city nearly forever, but for the choices of the blind Democratic Party-followers in the city.
Foreshadowed by the reelection of President Obama, Chicago managed to overwhelmingly elect two Democrats in the city that just won’t quit when it comes to political embarrassments.
First, Chicago and its surrounding area within Illinois reelected United States Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. whose father is the world-renowned civil rights leader – the Reverend Jesse Jackson. The younger Jackson disappeared from the United States Congressional floor in Washington, D.C. last June 10 and has yet to return. He was gone three weeks from his job before fellow-congressmen began to ask, “Hey, where’s Jesse?” Before that, nobody even knew – including his constituents back home in Chicago – that he had been AWOL for nearly a month.
As rumors flew throughout the Chicago media as to where Jesse Jackson Jr. was, it was pretty much decided that he was in hiding due to the scrutiny he was under regarding the ongoing investigation which questioned whether or not he actually tried to buy President Barack Obama’s senate seat from imprisoned former Governor Rod Blagojevich who got 14 years in prison for trying to sell the Obama seat and other law-breaking actions.
However, the media was wrong. Jackson was reportedly missing in job action due to medical reasons – so it was finally revealed. Why it took so long for this revelation to be revealed is still a mystery. Jackson, as we now know, has a medical concern regarding a bipolar disorder, which is being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
During his medical trials, he has had a new legal battle which involves allegations that he used campaign finances to remodel his home and – now they say – buy a $40,000 gift for a female friend. Yes, he’s married – and no, the $40,000 gift wasn’t for his wife.
In spite of all this, Chicago Democrats came through for their Democratic candidate and elected Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to another term to the House of Representatives.
This week, it is also being reported that the feds are focusing in on his politician wife Sandi Jackson, a Chicago alderman. However, this is just rumor at this point and not nearly as much of a developed story as the reports alleging wrongdoing by her husband, the U.S. representative. Local radio talk show hosts who love to speculate – with their call-in guests – are assuming she is involved in financial wrongdoing as well. But again, it’s just rumor regarding Sandi Jackson at this time.
Scandalous? For Chicago, sort of. To the rest of the world outside of Chicago, indubitably.
But it doesn’t stop there. Another Chicago Democratic politician named Derrick Smith was also reelected in Illinois as a state representative despite the fact that he was indicted on bribery charges this year after allegedly receiving a $7,000 cash payment in exchange for writing a letter that assisted a day care center which was to receive a $50,000 state grant. He was reportedly caught by the FBI, yet denies the charges against him.
Even though Smith was expelled from Illinois’ House of Representatives by a vote of 100 to 6 on Aug. 17, 2012, on Nov. 6 he was handily elected to another term in the state’s House by Chicago Democrats.
And for good measure, here’s another Democratic political story to hang your American flag on. This week, it was alleged that the City of Chicago illegally recorded a Chicago Tribune reporter – twice – in September. Even though that’s a felony in Illinois due to the eavesdropping law, this week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been quoted as saying the story is “much ado about nothing.”
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.