Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Will Midwestern U.S. govs display political pettiness for all of Asia to see?

Theoretically, it sounds good to know that our state’s governor was in Tokyo, and will spend this week on a tour of Asian nations, along with business interests that want to get those countries intrigued by the thought of doing business with us.
Can Gov. Bruce Rauner successfully urge Asian business interests to come to Illinois and Midwest? Photograph provided by state of Illinois

Bruce Rauner representing Illinois and trying to get foreign companies to spend their money in our state? It’s a wonderful idea. Yet excuse me for being skeptical that he’s capable of pulling it off.

FOR WHILE SOME people like to think Illinois’ pettiness centers around Rauner’s inability to get along with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and the Democrats who control the state Legislature, one could argue it is no more petty than the squabbles that occur between the governors of Illinois and the surrounding states.

As much as Rauner tries to portray this trip as his personal meeting with government interests in Japan and other parts of Asia, the fact is that both Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are also along on this trip.

It is a chance for Midwestern U.S. interests to band together to show that this part of the country is an intriguing part that perhaps foreign interests should take more seriously than anything out east or in the land of Dixie (what with all its anti-labor measures that it tries to portray as being the key to a successful business climate).
Will Rauner be able to 'play' nice ...

Yet these are the governors who seem to think that the success of their respective states is to pick away at the business interests of Chicago whose management are petty enough to be swayed by some of those same anti-labor measures that exist in the land of Hoosiers or cheese.

TO TELL YOU the truth, the idea of those three men being put on international display scares me. It makes me think of the potential for some sort of incident that will make our part of the country come across as a batch of rubes.

Which may be enough to send those Japanese business interests off to other parts of our nation and further ensure that our Great Lakes region becomes further decrepit.
... with Govs. Walker and Holcomb?

Which I’m sure the types of people who are supportive of this Age of Trump that we’re now in will be more than willing to blame on Democratic political operatives. Even though these three particular governors are all Republican, and supposedly ought to be allied with each other.

I fear our nation’s petty political climate will be on full display this week.

SO WHAT ARE our region’s chances of benefitting from what Rauner is billing as the first international trade mission he has engaged in since being elected our state’s governor in 2014?

Let’s hope Rauner didn’t engage in gaffes when meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe just before attending the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association conference held Monday.

“Japanese companies have been instrumental in creating jobs and driving economic development throughout the state of Illinois,” Rauner said, during his address to the group.

“It is not that often that we gather together, but when we do, like for this conference, we unite with an unprecedented strength on economic growth,” the Illinois governor said.

“WE NEED TO send the message that our growth is interdependent,” he said.
Government and business officials preparing to talk Monday in Japan. Photograph provided by state of Illinois
All of which sounds nice. It’s what our governor ought to be saying with the heads of the other Great Lakes states, and in fact when dealing with all the regions of Illinois as we address our state functions.

Let’s only hope that Rauner is actually listening to the words that were prepared for him by his gubernatorial staff. If he does, then perhaps there’s a chance that Illinois can gain something of economic value from this trip. Rauner bringing back a business or two with jobs would certainly be better than a crummy t-shirt.

And if he doesn’t? Then let’s hope Rauner at least picks up an interesting souvenir, or else the trip will be nothing more than an overly-elaborate vacation-like journey at taxpayer expense.


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