September 22nd, 2008
11:11 AM ET
10 years ago

Greene: Why Will Jackson will never run for office

Will Jackson fears that politics has gotten too dirty.

Will Jackson fears that politics has gotten too dirty.

ABOARD THE ELECTION EXPRESS IN ELIZABETHTOWN, Kentucky (CNN) - We’re heading south toward Friday’s debate in Oxford, Mississippi, but as the country rolls by the windows of the bus, I keep hearing the voice of a man named Will Jackson.

He and I spoke just before we loaded the bus to leave the Cincinnati/Covington area. He’s 31; he had at dawn dropped his brother at the airport in Dayton, 67 miles away (it was worth the drive for his brother to get a a less expensive ticket at the more distant and inconvenient airport than to fly out of the Cincinnati/Covington one and pay a higher price), and now he had driven the 67 miles back and was getting ready to go to work.

He said that, in theory, he likes the idea of politics, and, in theory, he would consider the idea of running for a local office someday himself.

But he won’t.

And the reason is a lesson he said he has learned from this year’s presidential campaign.

“I don’t believe in saying bad things about other people,” he said, as if nothing more had to be explained.

He said he had watched the negative news about both candidates– the news generated by the campaign organizations themselves, and the news generated by the press.

“Digging up dirt, trying to spread it all over the world. . .I don’t think I could do that,” he said.

He said he’s afraid that, in order to win, he would have to become a person he didn’t recognize.

“I think I’m known as a good guy,” he said. “I hope I’m known as a person who helps other people out. I wouldn’t want that to change.”

He understands why the presidential campaign has devolved into where it finds itself now:

“You have to fight fire with fire, I suppose,” he said.

But it’s not for him.

“It wouldn’t be worth it,” he said.

soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. wendy spice

    I think the campaign people r the ones running 4 president not the candidates the reason i think that way they talk too much crap.

    September 22, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. So tired of the negativity


    I agree. Never in my life have I read such vile and nasty posts as the Obama people put on the CNN tickers. Go through and read them all. Almost every one of them is from someone working for the Obama campaign. We the people of the US are not stupid. Your negativity sickens us. And I believe your tactics will backfire. I urge all normal people to go through and read all of the posts on this ticker and decide for yourself who the negative hateful people are. The Obama workers who attack McCain because of his age and Sarah Palin because she is a woman. They call McCain a senile old man and Palin a pig with lipstick. Many people take offense to these remarks and I will bet that you are turning them away because of this.

    September 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Lynn in NM

    You're right. I always told my kids that if they ever became politicians, I would know I had failed as a mother. In my opinion, and most members of our family, politicians are nothing but liars, cheats, and thieves. The problem is, they keep proving my point. I keep hoping for someone who is honest. It may be a while.

    September 22, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Tony

    Hear! Hear!

    Feel exactly the same way. Was going to run for the DC City Council and decided for the same reasons that my character, integrity, and hunmaness meant more to me than any political office.

    John McCain used to be an honorable man, a moral man and a role model. Now he is nothing more than a liar, cheat, self-absorbed and has sold his character, morality, integrity, and humaness to win at any cost.

    How very sad and pathetic.

    September 22, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Paul

    C'mon guys. John's desperate! He couldn't even make it this far in 2000 so what else does he have to do besides mislead the public and flip-flop? What a sad man...

    September 22, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Nannie Bouroughs

    Nice piece!

    If any of you incredibly stupid American voters really wanted something other than power hungry, liars and moral cretins in the government, you would NOT continue to vote the same freaks in time after time after time...



    The only real difference between McCain & Oblama is that one of these guys has a tan – they BOTH WANT THE POWER!

    September 22, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Apollonia Creed

    This is news because?

    September 22, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Florida

    Lies Lies and more Lies, that's only another name for Politics!

    September 22, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Rob West

    The Muslim Extremist have nothing on the "hate mongering" Obama supporters. Read any of these blogs and you'll see Obama supporters spewing nothing but hatred and name calling. The Far left's Mesiah Obama is not a Uniter all I see is how good he is at getting his supporters to spew hate like no other candidate to ever run for President. His supporters started it with Hillary Clinton, a member of his own Party and now they're taking it to a new "LOW" in politics against McCain and especially Palin. The Obama supporters and their hatred make me very sad to be an American. The Hollywood Elite that have shown no discipline in running their own lives and living their lives like a "Pack" of arrogant, selfish, spoiled and me first human beings now joining the other Obama supporters in spewing their own type pure hatred. I've voted in 12 Presidential elections and I've never seen such Arrogance or total Hatred that I've seen by the Blogging Obama supporters. This Country has more "Hatred" by the Far Left then at any time in America's History. May God show pity on America if Obama is elected and"Hatred" wins out.

    September 22, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. TerryDoRight

    November 5,2008 New York Times Headlines

    President John McCain and Vice President Sarh Palin the two refreshing faces with their Centrist philosophy ,will reform Washington and bring the government back to the people...

    So it is Written, so it is Done!

    September 22, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Jake

    Cincy to Dayton takes 40 minutes. Driving to that airport to get a cheaper rate is not that big of a deal. I grew up in that area and would often choose between Cincy, Dayton, Columbus, and Indianapolis, to get the best airline deal. I don't know why any of this article was newsworthy.

    September 22, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Shari, NY

    Politics is never clean but Sen. McCain has taken it to another level. No amount of detergent and bleach can remove the stain and stench. Sen. Obama wants to be clean but it is working against him.

    September 22, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. Listen Up...

    Obama tried to keep it clean, but Americans are not worthy. The repugs could not respect it since they could not recognize what it was. During the Dem primary he was called weak if he did not go for the jugular. Now there is NO WAY that he can afford to turn a cheek to the McCain campaign, they will rip off his head!!!. It's a shame.

    September 22, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Peter Schweich

    "Greene: Why Will Jackson will never run for office."

    There goes CNN's lack of editorial competence again! Why is it that this news organization can't even proof the headlines to its articles? There surely must be an editor who majored in English, or completed high school – maybe received a GED?

    September 22, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Thomas

    Politics is a dirty and dishonourable game. It brings out the worst in people. And who is at fault?

    We are.

    As long as the citizens of the United States continue to reward (by electing/re-electing) dirty politicians, it would be illogical to expect them to change.

    The people of the United States still have the power. It is too bad that we choose not to use it to make politics cleaner.

    September 22, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Blue Collar Workers for Obama

    Don't worry dude. After this election we are going to set rules for elections. People should not lie and cheat and get away with it.

    I would like to see an elections act with clear rules of conduct. The way a person runs a campaign says a lot about that person..

    Obama / Biden '08

    September 22, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Willy Brown

    WHo gives a crap about this guy anyway.

    September 22, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. RapidRay


    Maybe it will take you or someone else of your kind to make the changes we need. For what it's worth, I truly believe that despite all the mud slinging, people with integrity and honesty should NEVER be disenchanted from running for public servant positions.

    I hope someday you do make the jump into public service if that where your heart calls you. Maybe...just could be the one who changes how these campaigns are conducted.

    Guys like Will remind us that stooping to the level of name calling and insults is not worth going down the moral ladder for.
    SOME POLITICIANS would do well to learn from HIS example.

    September 22, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. LiberalRepub

    Will, you are so right. Unfortunately the comments other than this reveal the depth of rancor in the political "bloodsport". Both parties are at fault, and the press feeds on it for ratings. A VERY poor commentary on America.

    Great Article... A+

    September 22, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Yes, we can

    As my friend from London (UK) told me the other day, this election is a like a beauty contest, – republicans going gaaga over Palin ever though she clear has no experience; how in the world does seeing Russia from your doorstep qualifies as experience? America is surely emerging as global laughing stock, – thanks to mcsame.

    September 22, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. joe smith

    oil prices are the very reason this economy has tanked..are you talking about

    September 22, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Adrian in ny

    It's sad that we're going to put a nobody woman and a tired old man in office just because they're white!Obama is clearly the better canidate!How pathetic are we as americans? McCain fighting supposed cancer and Palin with no foreign experience and a pregnant teen daughter?That's who will run our country,no wonder we are the laughing joke of the world.And golden parachutes to those who ruined our economy,we are a joke!

    September 22, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Chris

    I love how the majority of comments act as if they are in agreement, and then proceed to point the finger at only one side of the table. Both parties, candidates, and sets of party extremists are responsible for the disgusting display we see. And it extends beyond the campaign. American politics is disgusting in its current form. Both sides will say anything to get an advantage or to further their party or agenda, regardless of whether it is true, respectful, or decent. There are goals here, and there is no concept of respect. Do what it takes to get elected, that's the only thing in play.

    If you've disillusioned yourself to believe that either of the candidates and parties legitimately care about YOU and want to make a difference in your life, as opposed to just wanting to win, I apologize for wasting my time as you've already been hoodwinked.

    September 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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