by Fran Eaton
Wait a minute. The President came to town to celebrate his birthday and, we're told, to raise $1.2 million for GOP gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar-Topinka.
Could someone explain why he came to Illinois to emphasize the nation's booming job market and economy? The stats showing Illinois as being left behind this current boom is one of the Republicans' strongest arguments why the Dems should be thrown out in November.
Strange mixed messages were tossed out in yesterday's press conference. Bush said,
I had some conversations with some of the business leaders last night and for breakfast, and I think there's kind of an interesting sense of optimism here in this part of the world, and the statistics bear that out. In the Chicago area, businesses have added over more than 74,000 new jobs over the past two years. And that's positive, it's a good sign. The unemployment rate in this area is 4.3 percent -- that's below the national average. People are working. People are able to find jobs. Illinois created more jobs than any other state in the month of April. So the entrepreneurial spirit is strong here.
One of the things I detected from the business leaders, that there's a sense of optimism which encourages people to invest. And when you invest you create the conditions for job growth. Major companies have announced plans to add even more jobs.
These comments fly in the face of Illinois reality these days. People aren't excited about investing in Illinois. Our state's businesses are lagging behind others. They're leaving because of the Blagojevich administration's business policies. The boom that other states are experiencing because of Bush's tax cuts just isn't happening in Illinois.
No one is a bigger fan of President Bush, but come on, the President's comments here, here and here could easily be clipped and used in Blago campaign ads to hurt Illinois' Republican chances of gaining the Governor's Mansion or a chamber majority in November.