Why are senior Democrats trying to out Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr?

With Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. suffering from a reported "mood" disorder, the folks demanding full disclosure are not mainly Republicans, but Democrats such as Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) Come out, come out, wherever you are and explain yourself. Or at least have the Jackson family explain where you are and why you're there.

Tribune columnist John Kass figures senior Democrats are the ones demanding answers because Rep. Jackson's old man, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is no longer feared, by other Democrats or the media. While I agree with John that Jackson Sr. is far from the power-house of old, I think there's more to it. Namely, the Democratic old boys and girls network are worried about losing a sure house seat.

Unlikely? Sure, but then, you never know....

With Democrats hanging on to retain every seat they have in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives they want to count on sure-things, and with Illinois voters having a record of voting for people they don't know, there's always a chance that one of Jackson's two opponents might pull off an upset. Senior Democrats, who apparently have not received much information about Jackson's absence, have to know whether he is a viable candidate in the November election. They need to know whether they have to take steps to replace him and/or back another candidate.

Quick: Who is running against Jackson for Illinois' 3rd district congressman?

Time's up. It's an independent named Macus Lewis and a Republican named Brian Woodworth. It didn't know them either, and I had to search Google for the information. Here's some of what's available:

Lewis is not Mizzou's wide receiver. He is a mail handler in the U.S. Postal Service office  in Carol Stream. His Facebook page says:

The time is now...Change is sorely needed. Our district is not going to be left behind. Our needs and aspirations are great and the district rep does not care, but I care!...Let us, together, reclaim our district on November 6th, 2012 !

Check out the rest of his background at: http://www.facebook.com/MarcusLewisForCongress2012/info

Woodworth: He's a lawyer. His campaign web site seems a little short on biographical information. Here he explains why he is not screaming about Jackson's absence. But on WLS's Don and Roma Show, he said Jackson "must come clean."

My conclusion is that for senior Democrats to speak out against one of their own, something serious is happening behind the scenes in the party's offices and watering holes. This is one political battle that could be fascinating, or the leadership might figure out a way to make it all disappear.

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  • Bad mood cuz he's gonna get nailed

  • There are also senior Democrats who want Jackson's seat on The powerful Appropriations Committee as Jackson is the ONLY Illinois member you can see Gutierrez foaming at the mouth. Then you have Senator Durbin who enjoys being the senior Illinois powerhouse but if Jackson serves a few more terms, he would have the seniority to make history at the first Black Speaker Of The House. Now is the time to beat Jackson out of power while he is down, but for now the voters of the 2nd Congressional District will not elect an Independent or a Republican in November. Glad that Durbin and Gutierrez have shown their hands so Jackson can distance himself from them when he returns

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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