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Susan Estrich
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Say Goodnight, Jesse


A Barack Obama victory in less than three weeks will mean many things at home and abroad. It will mean a new team on foreign and domestic policy and new political leadership for both the Democratic Party and the country. And it will mean, finally, the end of any excuse to listen to the self-involved, selfish and stupid rantings of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Earlier this year, Jackson made a complete fool of himself with his jealous tirade against Obama, spoken into an open mike and ultimately heard by millions. It doesn't bear repeating, and I would not be writing about it today were it not for the sad but not surprising fact that Jackson is now selling himself as a member of Obama's "family" — or vice versa — and pontificating in an ignorant and divisive way about the changes an Obama administration will bring.

If you didn't know better, you might think Jackson wants Obama to lose. And I wouldn't be surprised if he does. A President Obama makes Jackson politically irrelevant.

Jackson's latest outburst came during the inaugural World Policy Forum held at some fancy resort in France. The only surprise here is that it seems to have taken almost a week for Jackson's drivel to reach American shores. But it's arrived now, proving once again that the man who once called New York "Hymietown" has learned very little from his mistakes.

If you haven't seen it yet, you will. Check out The headline is impossible to overlook. "Jesse Jackson: Under Obama, 'decades of putting Israel's interests first' would end." According to Jackson, the "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" will lose clout.

Could he have really said these things? So it appears. But why?

Let's eliminate the obvious reasons for concern about such a comment. Could Jackson know something about Obama's plans that the rest of us don't? Short answer: No.

Jackson didn't pretend — how could he? — to be an Obama adviser or confidant. He called himself a "supporter," although I can think of other words to describe a guy who would talk about Obama the way he did. But, of course, Jesse being Jesse, he couldn't stop there.

Tens of millions of people are Obama supporters. Being an Obama supporter wouldn't make Jackson worth listening to. Obama, Jackson told the New York Post, is "a neighbor or, better still, a member of the family." Better for whom? Jackson's son has long been close to Obama, and his daughter went to school with Michelle Obama.

But that doesn't make Jackson a member of the Obama family. Not even close.

Could Jackson be right, even if he doesn't have any inside information? Short answer: No.

Bad news, Jesse: "Zionists" haven't controlled American foreign policy for decades. Americans have — Americans who recognize that Israel is the only stable democracy in the Middle East, a stalwart friend to America, and that supporting Israel is right both strategically and morally. And those Americans will also control policy during an Obama administration.

Indeed, during the primaries, the Obama campaign crowed about just how many former foreign policy advisers from the Clinton administration were now working for Obama. Call them what you will, Jesse, they're on their way back. The senator himself repeatedly went out of his way to assure voters that he and Hillary were in fundamental agreement on protecting the security of the state of Israel. Expecting a major change in policy from the "Zionist control" of the last decades? No such "luck."

So if he doesn't have inside information — and he doesn't even seem to know the people who would — why is Jackson spouting off in a way that is certain to cause concern among the millions of voters, Jews and non-Jews alike, who are firmly committed to the security of the state of Israel, and whose support, both in terms of financial backing and actual votes, Obama needs if he is to turn his current lead in the polls into an actual victory in November?

Jackson is many things, but stupid he isn't. He has to understand when he makes comments like this that, first, they will get back to America, more likely sooner than later, and that when they do, they will, unless repudiated, hurt and not help Obama. At best, they are divisive. At worst, they are harmful to Obama. So why make them, even if you believe them?

The short — and unavoidable — answer is that Jackson does not want Obama to become president of the United States. The election of Obama means Jackson is wrong: that America is not hopelessly racist; that the politics of victimization is not the right answer for African-Americans; that a qualified black candidate can do what an unqualified one couldn't.

Say goodnight, Jesse. A new day is dawning, and it's not about "Zionists" losing control. If Jackson can look in the mirror, he will see who is about to lose control and credibility. Couldn't happen soon enough.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



10 Comments | Post Comment
Thank you Susan. I am an African American woman and I completely agree with you. Jesse Jackson wants to hurt Barack Obama, and he goes about making a fool of himself quite consistantly. I am amazed by the way the Obama compaign is bringing people together in a manner that I previously thought impossible. The old guard like Jackson just can't accept it. I just wish Jackson would shut the f**k up! and stay out of it.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Ms. Reed
Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:29 PM
Susan I read the French version of Jackson's comments and although he may not be on Senator Obama's team per say he could be in fact telling the truth. Did not Senator Obama in one of his own books make a statement that he would tend to favor the Muslim side of things? Thus, Jesse has the right to make this statement based on Senator Obama's own words as written for all to read for themselves.

Senator Obama was rather active in his support of his cousin in Kenya who ran on the principle of Sharia Law for the land and Muslim over Christian rights. It was his cousins supporters who ran wild when he was defeated and killed over 1,000 people, burning down homes of Christian people, trying to overthrow the vote of the people. Did Senator Obama says anything to get this stopped - NO!

In my humble opinion based on the FACTS as proven by many difference sources with Senator Obama's own words and actions he would in fact take the Muslim view over the Israelis view.

I do not see Jesse Jackson as trying to hurt Senator Obama, but rather, simply stating the obivious.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Gene44
Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:55 AM
So you are finally vetting Obama's "supporters." It's about time. You find Jesse an embarassment . How about Ayers, Khalid, Wright, Rezko, Auchi and Odinga? Do you have any problem with them?
Comment: #3
Posted by: jbaugher
Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:37 AM
Barry Hussein Obama is qualified to be President? I don't think so. Being a community activist (whatever that means) and having the limited political experience (state and federal) that Barry has does not qualify him for the Presidency. And I'm not making fun of community activists, but it is a sick joke that Barry is actually uses his community activism as qualification for the Presidency. Where are all the people he has supposedly helped? I haven't heard of anyone stepping up and vouching for anything good Barry has done.

And it is true, if it were a white Democratic Presidential candidate saying exactly what Barry is saying, Hillary would be the Democratic nominee. Yet, it's the Democrats and Barry's campaign who constantly call anybody who doesn't support him racist. But this is what affirmative action is: Defeat racism by being racist.

Comment: #4
Posted by: E Ortiz
Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:51 AM
What a superb piece. Susan you have outdone yourself.
Comment: #5
Posted by: liz
Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:36 PM
Your column started well enough- I whole-heartedly agree with your assessment of Jesse Jackson. But come on, Americans have a "moral obligation" to support Israel, the "only stable democracy" in the Middle East?? Please tell me where that is written into the Constitution of the United States. There must be an addendum somewhere since it's pounded into our mindsets by the govt and the media. A stable democracy does not practice forms of apartheid or cut off water supplies to areas in order to maintain control. The American govt does pander in a big way to Zionists. They shouldn't be pandered to anymore than Islamic extremists.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Sarah Griffin
Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:30 PM
Susan, I hardly ever,........well, okay, NEVER agree with any of your columns, but you could not be EVER so right on this one. I am not an Obama supporter but, I could not believe my eyes when I read Jackson's comments. Talk about trying to sabootage a campaign!!! Thankfully, Jackson and his ilk have no power in the USA anymore and will be dismissed by the masses they once commanded. No, I do not want Obama in the White House come January 20, but I cannot abide by this rhetoric and I hope that Obama's supporters will see through this and dis-count anything said by people like Jackson.

McCain/Palin '08!!
Comment: #7
Posted by: Moe
Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:28 AM
Thank you Susan. I completely agree with you. Jesse needs to come out of old school. I will read your colum faithfully from now on.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Doris Russell
Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:41 PM
A great article. I've waited 50 years to see the end of the broken record on slavery and segregation. Time to move on and stand on your merits.

Comment: #9
Posted by: SWORD
Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:57 PM
I don't want Obama to win, but I would love the side benefit of Jackson becoming irrelevant. I absolutely do not consider myself racist, but I am ready for the blacks to stop blaming everything on the white man. I was raised in a home of sexual and physical abuse and abject poverty. My father never even tried to make it right, but I decided to take the steps to move on. I am very emotionally and happy today. It took a lot of hard work and focus to "overcome." My point: Jessie Jackson has helped to keep the black race down. It's how he made a living. If elected, I hope Obama can set a better example. I live in a large metro where the inner city is 78% minority. It is constant murder, robbery, etc. The mayor said the problem is too much black on black crime. He was crucified for saying that. Something has to change and Jessie and Sharpton are not the answer.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Lynn
Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:57 PM
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