Nobody really expected Jesse Jackson to go gently into the campaign to win the White House for Michael Dukakis.
And Jackson's grievances against the Democrat who defeated him were inevitable. For Jackson, it's too soon to have them settled.Without his complaints - notably Dukakis' failure to give him advance word that Sen. Lloyd Bentsen would be the Democratic vice presidential nominee - there would be nothing but symbolism to keep the campaign going.
And Jackson has gone far beyond symbolism in his second campaign for the presidency.
In defeat, Jackson has risen higher in the realm of presidential politics than any black man before him. He is not ready to end his campaign quite yet.
So as his convention cavalcade rolls from Chicago to Atlanta on a final campaign bus tour, he is demanding a clear and influential role in the campaign and in the councils of the Democratic Party.
Dukakis says he'll have one. "I want Jesse Jackson to be deeply involved in the campaign as a party leader," the Massachusetts governor said. "I hope and expect that he will be."
Neither has defined the precise nature of the role or the deep involvement. Precision is difficult if not impossible anyhow.
Jackson says he is not satisfied. "We are prepared to deliberate and debate Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," he said, accounting for all the business sessions of the Democratic National Convention.
Lacking the slights over the vice presidential selection - he wasn't chosen and he wasn't told of Bentsen - Jackson would have had to find other issues for debate, or lapse into silence, which is not his way.
Now he's even involving innocent bystanders, as in the suggestion that former President Jimmy Carter mediate his differences with Dukakis. Carter declined to comment on that notion.
The eventual settlement will be the drama of the Democratic National Convention opening Monday, with all its decisions made in advance. Debate is one thing; delegates are another. Dukakis has more than 2,500 to Jackson's 1,150. Any time delegates vote, Dukakis is in control. Jackson's claim that the floor will be "wide open" on a vice presidential nomination simply isn't so, on any item of business.
But Dukakis needs to claim his victory and enforce his decisions without alienating the Jackson forces, doubly difficult and also crucial, because he is dealing with a black leader and a predominantly black constituency.
"Presently, I do not know the proposed strategy to win," Jackson said in Chicago on Thursday. "At this point, my constituency has no place on the team."