Thursday, January 24, 2008
Personal Aside: Tom Cross Future.
I introduced Tom Cross, the House Republican leader, to the City Club of Chicago yesterday in my capacity as chairman of the venerable civic group. In my remarks I said that he has been a healing force in the leadership and is one of its truly grown-up leaders. Tom and I dont agree on some things important things but I deeply respect his refusal to demagogue and his steadfast disinclination to instill vitriol in the long budget deliberations. His geniality and sweet disposition are assets for this state as are his plain-spoken elucidation of issues that forebear anger and vehemence.
For that reason I made a prediction in my introductiona prediction I think could very easily come true. I think he is an incipient Speaker of the House and an incipient governor of Illinois. Having watched legislative leaders in two states for more than fifty years, I am highly impressed with this young mans capabilities. As can be expected there is always a fringe group that substitutes vitriol for analysis and personal recriminations for dispassionate discussion and they fall upon Tom Cross as they have in the past at selected times fallen upon me. These are people who cannot bear compromise of any form which they misconstrue as weakness. Were they in charge of our national policies during the Reagan years they would have surely fomented war with Gorbachev rather than managed negotiations with firmness and decorousness.
So on Tom Cross, hear me out: I think hes a comer and a harbinger of a totally reasonable Republican leadership in a state that has vastly changed from the old Bourbon families and the era of lobbyist-czarsa harbinger that I would be very pleased to welcome.