Jesse Jr. Shocked Blago Not Simon Pure

If naiveté were a crime, Jesse Jackson Jr. could be looking at a life sentence.  Either that, or Senate candidate 5 wasn't being completely candid in his press conference this afternoon.

Jackson professed shock that Rod Blagojevich—a man who long before this week's arrest had a Katrina-sized cloud over his head—might have been conducting his Senate-seat search in accordance with anything but the most Mother Teresa-worthy standards.

Excerpts from Jackson's statement:

  • I was shocked and saddened to learn that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested yesterday.
  • If these allegations are proved to be true, I'm appalled by the pay-to-play schemes hatched at the highest levels of Illinois state government.
  • Sadly, yesterday's criminal complaint casts another dark cloud over a state already beleaguered by corruption and scandal.
  • I thought, mistakenly, that the process was fair: above-board and on the merits. I thought, mistakenly, that the governor was evaluating me and other senate hopefuls based upon our credentials and qualifications.
  • I thought mistakenly that the governor was going to make a decision in the best interests of our state as well as our nation.  I thought mistakenly that the governor was considering me based on my 13 years of hard work on behalf of the people of our state as well as our nation. I thought mistakenly that I had a chance and that I was being considered because I had earned it. Clearly I was badly mistaken.  I did not know that the process had been corrupted.  I did not know that credentials, that qualifications, that a record of service meant nothing to the governor.

How could Jackson, Jr. have lamented as he did the way Illinois was "beleaguered by corruption and scandal," yet been unaware that Blago was its latest and greatest practitioner?   It's not exactly as if the guv's legal troubles, even before the current unpleasantness, were exactly a secret. For months, the body politic has been holding its breath for some kind of indictment of Blago. 

Did Jackson, Jr. really go into his meeting of Monday with the governor with the expectations of an Eagle Scout candidate meeting with the troop leader?  Will the MSM point out that, assuming Jackson's telling the truth, the people of Illinois would be ill-served by a senator that naive?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.