The Chicago Tribune announced today that it is withholding its endorsement for AWOL Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., given his now more than four-month-long absence from attending to his duties in the House of Representatives. The Tribune editorial page, which has endorsed Jackson in the past, writes that they will revisit this decision if he reappears before the election.

The Tribune writes that voters have a “viable choice” in Republican challenger Brian Woodworth, referring to him as “smart and energetic” with “sound fiscal positions.” Apparently the Tribune advises that’s good enough for voters, but not good enough for them to endorse the present and accountable Woodworth.

From the Tribune:

We’ve endorsed Jackson many times, including in a tough primary race in March against former Rep. Debbie Halvorson. We’ve given him the benefit of the doubt during a House ethics committee’s interminable investigation into whether Jackson tried to buy an appointment to the U.S. Senate from ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

But Jackson has been out of commission for four months. Sandi Jackson’s remarks to reporters last week are the strongest indication we’ve seen that the congressman will not soon be himself. It’s not fair to expect his constituents to go without representation indefinitely.

We make no endorsement in this race, a decision that could be revisited closer to Nov. 6 if Jackson makes clear to the public he is able to serve.

Perhaps the Tribune could lead by example and endorse the “smart and energetic” Woodworth in the general rather than waiting around for Jesse.