SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - It started as a routine gubernatorial appointment to a feel-good commission - so routine that the governor says he didn't even know the details.
But the naming of a Nation of Islam official to a commission that fights discrimination has exploded into an election-year furor for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, putting him in the middle of a conflict among blacks, Jews and gays.
Even if Blagojevich makes his way through the racial and religious minefield this issue presents, his claim of ignorance about the appointment could reinforce his image of a detached, uninformed governor.
"No matter what he does, he's going to tick somebody off," Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights organization Equality Illinois, said Friday. "It's completely a no-win situation."
Four Jewish members of the Governor's Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes resigned this week rather than serve alongside an aide to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, known for his disparaging remarks about Jews, whites and gays.
It boggles the mind how he could have missed this. I'm speechless.