It’s long been known that the Rev. Jesse Jackson is one of the sleaziest characters in American politics, playing the race card for all it’s worth (and it’s been worth a lot to him). His sons are no better: it’s widely suspected he won his sons Yusef and Jonathan an exclusive Budweiser distributorship via extortion after boycotting the company. His other son Jesse, Jr., effectively had a seat reserved for him in Congress, where he’s played the identity-politics game just like his old man. He’s also, like dear old Reverend Dad, gotten himself mixed up in a couple of scandals, one involving trying to buy President Obama’s former Senate seat, and the other a questionable relationship (for a married man) with a hot blonde.
Apparently it’s all getting to be too much for residents of Jackson’s South-Side Chicago district; he now has a serious challenger. Where no one would once have given a conservative Republican a second look, the Reverend Isaac Hayes is getting a lot of attention. John Kass interviewed him:
I asked Hayes: How difficult is it being an African-American conservative in a district where the Jackson family machine is so dominant?
“It’s difficult if you’re not willing to speak up about what you believe,” Hayes said. “If you’re weak, you wouldn’t want to do it. It’s my opinion that black conservatives have to have strong character. The easy smear is when you’re called a traitor to your race, or an Uncle Tom. That happens a lot.
“But just look at what’s happened to the black community over the decades. Look at the family. Look at the lack of economic opportunity,” he said. “These problems are in part because of liberal Democratic policies. But people like me get smeared as race traitors for not being liberal Democrats? That’s ironic. But that’s not why the media is interested in me.”
Hayes didn’t grow up with money and clout. He attended public schools. His father was, and still is, a minister at the Indiana Avenue Pentecostal Church.
“It started with the social issues,” he said of his conversion to conservatism. “I’m pro-life, and I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. But as you think in terms of family, and what weakens it, you start thinking in terms of economic and education policy.”
Hayes argues for education vouchers to free children trapped in dysfunctional inner-city schools and tax cuts to stimulate jobs. Clearly, such talk threatens big-government Democrats whose power depends on keeping low-income African-Americans as dependent clients.
“You ask how I became conservative?” Hayes said. “You minister to a 14-year-old boy in jail, and he’s telling you that he has to get out so he can take care of his child. We’ve got to fundamentally change what’s going on in the cities. And it starts when African-Americans stop giving away their votes and being taken for granted.”
Be sure to read the whole thing. This may be the best chance in years for the residents of IL-2 to get a real representative, rather than an oligarch who sees them as his stepping stones to power and babes. Reverend Hayes has a web site. Have a look and, if you like what you see, consider helping him out.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)