THE LOOP — Joe Walsh, a suburban Republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives with Jesse Jackson Jr. for several years, ripped his former colleague in a blog post Thursday, urging supporters not to "feel sorry" for Jackson or his wife.
Jackson "did not think he was accountable to anyone, and he did not think the normal rules of life applied to him," Walsh wrote. "His wife felt the same same way. This is no tragedy. This is the story of another pampered, spoiled, arrogant politician who got caught. That is all."
Jackson was sentenced to 30 months in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds for personal use. His wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, was sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to tax charges related to the lavish spending of her husband's campaign money.
Walsh, who was a Tea Party member of Congress before losing a re-election bid to Tammy Duckworth last year, has tried to stay in the political spotlight since. On his blog, he comments on everything from Illinois government to alleged bias in the media. On Thursday, he turned his attention to the Jacksons.
"In the end this isn’t a tragedy, and it has nothing to do with any mental sickness," Walsh wrote.
"Jackson was just another politician, in a long line of politicians, who believes that he is above the law."
Some of Jackson's South Side constituents also weighed in on the sentence Wednesday.
At B. Selfish Salon & Barber at 2300 E. 71st Street, barber Ronald Fields and shoeshine man Elight Starling thought the Jacksons got off easy.
"They should've gotten more, 'cause it was wrong what they did, and then they got caught too!" Starling said, not buying any talk of Jackson being "put upon."
"That's what all the robbers say: 'I got railroaded!' You got caught, homey," Starling said.
Jackson said he "manned up" by admitting wrongdoing in the case, and he and his wife wept at their sentencing hearing.
Still, no one should "feel sorry for these two," Walsh wrote.
"We all should pay attention more and demand that our politicians behave better. They won’t unless we hold them accountable," he said.