Jackson is damaged more severely by something he has tried for years to escape: unfavorable comparisons to his father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. With memories of the National Enquirer’s disclosures in 2001 of the senior Jackson’s then-20-month-old child of an extramarital affair, the phrase “Like father like son” has been tripping off many weary lips.

And even if the junior Jackson clears the air of this recent scandal, his potential mayoral bid faces other major landmines of our times: Voters have grown weary of family dynasties (just ask the Daley, Bush and Kennedy clans) and other names that have been around a long time.

But don’t count the congressman out yet. A mayoral run has become a mission improbable for him, but not impossible. First he needs to clear the air of the many questions that still hang over him, including his own reasons for running. Voters are understandably suspicious these days of candidates who seem too eager to win the job.