What the ….?
He never outgrew the diminutives.
As a little boy with an iconic father, he answered to “fella” as he skittered at the feet of civil rights leaders and celebrities. He’s just “Junior” now, even in his mid-40s, a coil of ambition and inscrutability who aspired to be a big thing in politics.
Serving in Congress wasn’t that big thing for Jesse Jackson Jr., a Democrat from Illinois and son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Being one of 435 didn’t equate to greatness in the son’s mind. Not back home in Chicago, a place with its own sense of hierarchies, a place where he wanted so desperately to impress.
“Junior is a very insecure person. When you’re in Chicago and you come in and say you’re in Congress . . . Congress is nuthin’. But the mayor of Chicago? He is a boss,” says Frank Coconate, a political operative who helped Jackson test the possibility of a mayoral run several years ago before they had a falling out. [...]
The prince was erecting the foundations of a power base, diving into countless local races by endorsing candidates, seeding the region with mayors and other local officials who would be loyal supporters. But he could be mercurial, former associates say. Jackson sometimes boasted that he was a reincarnated Greek chariot driver, Coconate said. “I really thought he had a problem with reality,” Coconate said. “He’d get in his own little world. He’d come out with outlandish things.” At one of Jackson’s hangouts — a Turkish bath — he’d prance naked, demonstrating martial arts moves, while the others stayed wrapped in towels, said Frank Avila Jr., a former supporter who is a Democratic operative.