Left-wing CNN pundit Don Lemon wagged his finger at Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday, acting like the governor’s moral superior. Good for Gov. Polis.
The CNN admonition was one more indication Polis has shown genuine leadership throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike most other governors, he has made every attempt to flatten the curve while trying to avoid economic devastation and the human suffering it causes.
Lemon interviewed Polis after the governor attended a White House meeting with President Donald Trump at the president’s invitation. Although Polis and Trump are not political allies, the president seems impressed with the governor’s unique ability to balance physical and economic threats to human life.
At issue for Lemon was a Tuesday tweet in which Polis invited Tesla CEO Elon Musk to move his electric-car headquarters and factory to Colorado. Musk threatened to leave California because Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered manufacturing businesses closed indefinitely. Musk opened in defiance of the order Monday and said California authorities can arrest him if they don’t like it.
“We want you @elonmusk in Colorado, we are the best of all worlds,” Polis tweeted Tuesday night. “We’re very pro-business, low taxes, also pro immigration, pro-LGBT, globally minded.”
He could add pro-religious liberty. Polis included houses of worship in a list of critical services that could operate with extreme social distancing.
Polis said Musk should “look no further” than Colorado for its new location. Musk tweeted back, saying “Hi Jared, Colorado is great! I think your policies make a lot of sense.”
The exchange irked Lemon, who told Polis his invitation to Musk did not make Newsom’s job easier.
It is not the Colorado governor’s job to make life easy for the California governor. It is the Colorado governor’s job to doggedly fight for the people of his state, and that’s why Polis sent the tweet.
“At the end of the day, Don, we want good jobs in Colorado,” Polis said. ”... A few thousand jobs is not an opportunity I’m going to shy away from. We’d love to have him here.”
If successful at luring Tesla, Polis would land more than 10,000 high-wage jobs in Colorado. That means 10,000 more people with good health insurance policies and taxable incomes to help fund Medicaid, “free kindergarten,” and all other assortments of services provided by the state. Of course, Polis should welcome Musk to Colorado.
Good arguments for Musk choosing the Centennial State include the fact his brother lives here and owns restaurants in Denver and Boulder. The state is electric-car friendly, with a mandate requiring dealers to sell electric cars. The state has invested heavily in charging stations.
Lemon and other critics charge Polis with hypocrisy for his seeming approval of Musk’s defiance of Newsom. After all, they say, Polis punished a restaurateur in Castle Rock for defying his closure order on Mother’s Day.
It is tortured logic at worst and a trivial concern at best. Polis offered no praise for Musk’s rebellion. Recruiting a captain of industry does not imply blanket approval of anything and everything that person has done. A bar that high would eliminate most economic development efforts.
Additionally, restaurants and manufacturing plants are two different things. Polis would never have ordered Musk to close in Colorado. His shutdown order exempted transportation infrastructure and most manufacturing.
To the disappointment of Lemon and other left-wing demagogues, Polis has not let political doctrine guide him through this crisis. He has led pragmatically with a clear mission to minimize the physical, psychological and economic suffering of the people he works for. Serving Colorado includes wooing major employers. By sending that tweet, Polis did his job.