Common democratic method of election, don't say what you are going to do for the state, just pick apart your opponent. :tonka:
Heres some positive stuff:
For a Democratic political strategist, it's seems like a gift from the gods -- a big business, Republican gubernatorial candidate who created jobs in China while trimming back operations in Michigan.
That ought to make Dick DeVos the personification of the evils ravaging Michigan, the leader of the club of greedy executives who exchange state jobs for cheaper labor and fatter profits.
And it ought to give the Dems the perfect campaign hammer to pound DeVos with before an electorate that is scared to death of globalization.
Except for two things: (1) It isn't true; and (2) what the Democrats see as a negative -- DeVos' international experience -- is in fact the expertise Michigan needs to transform its economy.
No jobs went to China
Yes, DeVos' family company, Alticor, does a thriving business making and selling Amway products in China. And yes, DeVos was the architect of the company's global expansion.
But not a single Michigan job was lost because of that investment. Alticor's China factory serves only China and doesn't export products to the United States.
But the Chinese business has created 300 jobs in Ada, Alticor's headquarters. Michigan workers support the China market with product research, engineering, technical, accounting and legal services, and they wouldn't be in Michigan if Alticor wasn't in China.
DeVos confirms that at the same time the company was moving into China, Alticor shed some U.S. jobs as it adopted efficiency measures and a revamped management structure. If you work in Michigan, you've likely been through that a time or two.
The result of the restructuring, and the expansion into China and other world markets, is a much healthier Michigan company, one that is creating high-skilled jobs here and contributing more to the tax base.
Mich. must go global
There's a lesson in the Alticor experience for Michigan companies and Michigan voters. Globalization shouldn't be dreaded, it should be exploited.
"As a state, we have to engage the global marketplace," DeVos says. "There is no alternative, no choice but to go out and win. The antagonists to this position see it as either/or -- either you invest in China or invest in Michigan. Most businesses do both. If your sales increase in any part of the world, the folks back home benefit."
The Democrats' China paranoia is damaging to Michigan.
They're inflaming fears that our future will be limited by our past. That we can't compete in the world marketplace. That where others find opportunity, we'll find only disappointment.
Voters rarely resonate to such hopelessness.
DeVos' China venture isn't something he needs to defend. It's something to brag about.
He has proven he understands the economic dynamics of the 21st century. He has faced firsthand the challenges of the global economy and succeeded.
Sounds just like what Michigan's been looking for.
Nolan Finley is The Detroit News' editorial page editor. Please contact him at
or (313) 222-2064.