Governors seek commerce for their state – national politicians seek power from ignorant voters


Iowa Soybean Association members at a port on the Po River

In October 1984, Iowa’s governor, Terry Branstad, made his first trip to China. He and his wife flew to Beijing and took an old steamer train about 200 miles southwest to Shijiazhuang, a city in the Hebei province…

Local government officials greeted the Branstads with flowers and a band. One member of the welcoming committee was a young man who would eventually ascend to the ranks of China’s top leadership, Xi Jinping. Currently China’s vice president, Xi is widely expected to succeed President Hu Jintao, who is set to step down next year.

“The friendships you build, you never know when it might pay off in the future,” said Brandstad, who has stayed in touch with Xi over the years. “Treat everybody well. You never know when they might someday be very important.”

Will someone please engrave this on bronze plaques to be placed on the desks of each of our Congress-critters!


I pledge allegiance to American coal and oil
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Branstad’s friendship with Xi, whom he met again on a trip to Beijing this fall, may give him an edge in an increasingly fierce competition among U.S. governors to do business with China.

Even as national politicians bash it over currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and human rights abuses, state officials are scrambling to engage China, hoping its growth engine can energize their distressed economies. At least 14 American governors have traveled to China so far this year, according to the U.S. State Department, up from 8 in 2010.

U.S. export numbers suggest the visits aren’t hurting: sales to China rose by nearly a third to $91.9 billion from 2009 to 2010, reversing a fall in sales the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce…

In contrast, U.S. politicians have been trying to outdo each other with tough talk on China. The Senate last month passed a bill that would punish China for keeping its currency artificially low. President Barack Obama said at an economic summit meeting in Hawaii last week that China’s economy was “grown up” and its leaders had to start acting that way…

All hypocrites, all liars.

The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, a New York-based non-profit with 700 individual members and 85 corporate members, offered each Republican presidential candidate a trip to China this year to meet with businessmen and government officials. They all refused.

Commerce, conversation, shared experience count for so much more understanding than kneeling before some 19th Century ideological throne, hoping for crumbs in the shape of votes to be thrown your way by media-based buffoons.

If your political and economic convictions are worthy of standing the test of time they must be at play on the global stage. Only cowards run and hide behind purity and so-called patriotism.

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