Granholm Too Cool For Her Own Cool Initiative?

Former governor pitched a policy to keep people in state then fled herself

This is a painting on a building in Ann Arbor, which was part of the state's Cool Cities Initiative.

Recent research into the archives of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm uncovered one of her speeches on the “Cool Cities” concept. The document, housed at the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library, raises several questions that are worth asking, given that the former governor is in Detroit for a speaking engagement.

The Granholm Administration launched the Cool Cities program in 2003. It encouraged local governments to try making certain neighborhoods or parts of town seem “cool," with an eye toward attracting both investment dollars and hip, young "knowledge workers." In some ways this was Granholm's first foray into the theme of economic central planning, which eventually dominated her administration. The "Cool Cities" program no longer exists in the same form.

The archive's copy of that 2003 speech to a “Cool Cities Summit” in Lansing contains some handwritten notes, one of which reads:

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“In my 44 years I have lived in some of the coolest cities in the world — Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Bordeaux, France. But I chose to spend my life here. Why? Coolest state in the country. Map — God’s palm." (One pictures the former governor holding up her hand as she repeated this.)

Reading this one can't help asking: If Michigan is so cool, why did Granholm immediately skip town for California at the conclusion of her second term?

Here's a related question: Did it have anything to do with superior employment prospects elsewhere?

The answer to both may be that a leftist California state university may indeed be a cool place for a former Midwest governor to get a cushy job promoting the big-government dogmas that did so much damage in the state she once governed.

By leaving Michigan, Granholm put a virtual exclamation point on the awful outbound migration and lost decade of economic growth that her policies did so much to foster.

Corporate welfare and economic central planning are attractive nuisances to politicians of all stripes and parties. We can only hope that the dismal outcomes of the large tax hikes and corporate cronyism that Granholm promoted make her administration a negative role model for years to come in this state and elsewhere.