The buzz around U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. as Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate should Obama win the presidency is at an all-time high today – and Jackson is loving it.
The Hill is reporting that “Illinois political insiders say Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who defended Barack Obama after his father famously threatened to castrate him, is the favorite to replace the Democratic nominee in the Senate.”
Jackson didn’t speak to The Hill, but the paper published a statement put out by his office saying he would be “honored” if appointed to the seat.
The statement also formed the basis of brief post on Politico.
And Jackson’s office left no doubt about Junior’s interest in the seat by sending out an e-mail on Sunday touting the Chicago Defender’s endorsement of Jackson for the potential vacancy, even if it did add perfunctorily that “The Congressman believes it is premature to participate in speculation.”
If the punditry is to be believed, Jackson’s chief rival for the post is U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky. The punditry is split, however, on whether Obama will indeed make the choice behind the scenes through force of will or if he’ll leave it up to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who has the power to make the appointment.
I find it difficult to believe a President Obama won’t exert his will, but CQ Politics reports that “Those pondering the possibilities, though, agree that Blagojevich is unlikely to want any direction from Obama, and unlikely to get it.
“’Obama will not step foot into Illinois politics. It’s a minefield,’ said Paul Green who is a professor of policy studies at Roosevelt University. ‘He’d go to Kabul before he’d go to Springfield’.”