Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is far gone in self-delusion if he thinks he is a good Democratic presidential candidate. Perhaps his mission is to make Gavin Newsom look good (if you don’t look too closely) or to contend with William Howard Taft for recognition as our most obese president. Those might be realistic goals. He must be encouraged by the lack of talent on the Democratic bench.
Pritzker’s recent speech at a Florida Democratic Party event hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. If the lack of attention derives from the difficulty of taking Pritzker seriously as a national candidate, that might be understandable. However, I doubt that is the explanation.
The Free Beacon’s Joe Simonson attends to Pritzker’s speech in “‘Your Problem Now’: Illinois Gov J.B. Pritzker Celebrates GOP Billionaires Fleeing His State for Florida.” The departure of the billionaires — to Florida — will result in the loss of hundreds of millions of tax revenue. Illinois’s loss is Florida’s gain. Simonson notes the anomaly:
It’s a curious political argument from Pritzker, a governor facing reelection in November and who has seen three major companies announce plans to decamp from Illinois in the past two months: Caterpillar, Boeing, and [Ken] Griffin’s Citadel. The remarks were an obvious attempt to position Pritzker as an alternative to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), so his decision to highlight the businessmen who have chosen to take their companies to Florida from Illinois is puzzling.
Okay, so Pritzker is trying to take a lemon and make a lemonade. I’m not sure he has thought this through though. Billionaires have become a core constituency of the Democratic Party. Simonson adds the obligatory nonresponse to his request for elaboration: “A spokeswoman for Pritzker did not respond to a request for comment about whether he celebrates the departure of all billionaires from Illinois, or just Republican business leaders.”
Pritzker himself is a billionaire notably sensitive to Illinois taxes. Who can forget the lengths to which he went to save $330,000 in Cook County property taxes? The Chicago Tribune memorialized the Pritzker project in its October 2018 editorial “Pritzker and those toilets: A ‘scheme to defraud.'”