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Governor Goofs, Regroups


  Like a Big Mouthed Bass, Governor Pat Quinn opened wide and swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker. 


  At the State Fair last Wednesday the unelected Illinois Democrat running for a full term in November, joined the worst elements of what even he has called “The Party of No” and announced his belief that proponents should "rethink" the construction of an Islamic Center near “Ground Zero” in faraway New York City.


  Apparently the 24-hour news cycle's right-wing talking heads, most of them based in Manhattan, convinced the Governor the mosque also is a burning issue for deficit-challenged Illinois with its legions of unemployed.


   On Friday, Muslim-American leaders in Chicago—who until then might have been considered likely Quinn supporters—began a “jihad of words” with the Governor.


   How could Quinn, they outraged, connect the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center with Islam?  In truth, there is nothing in the faith about crashing airplanes into buildings to kill innocents, including many Muslims.


  Why in the world would the Governor, who one survey (Rasmussen) suggests trails his republican opponent Senator Bill Brady by double digits, weigh in on a controversy a thousand miles away?  Doesn’t he realize that in the very diverse city of Chicago and its suburbs there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who practice Islam and abhor the terrorists who in a very real sense have hijacked the 1400 year old faith?


  Quinn--who is perhaps the most talkative Governor in Illinois history--made his controversial comments during his second conversation with reporters Wednesday.    A few hours earlier before the Democratic County Chairmen's Breakfast in Springfield, the Governor answered our questions about the Rod Blagojevich verdict/hung jury on Tuesday.


  With his thoughts on Blago already recorded,  there was time during the second session for Quinn to stray far "off-topic" to offer his opinion on the Ground Zero Mosque, of all things.


  Let me speculate here that it was no coincidence that also on Friday, at around the same time the Muslim leaders in Chicago held their news conference, it was announced that Quinn and the media consulting firm he has worked with for the past two decades were parting ways. 


  AKPD Media--formerly run by White House political guru David Axelrod--issued a statement reading in part, "We and the Quinn campaign agreed that our divergent approaches to disciplined, professional communications are incompatible."


   For several weeks, Quinn political staffers have whispered their worries that the Governor's near-daily barrage of  "official" bill signings and attendant news conferences were causing the campaign pros to "lose control of the message".   


  Was the Ground Zero comment the last straw?


  With his campaign in total re-group mode only ten weeks before election day, Pat Quinn could use some prayers.


   Its unlikely that many will originate in Illinois mosques.



















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