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 don’t 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 introduction—a 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 man’s 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 he’s 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-czars—a harbinger that I would be very pleased to welcome.


  1. Joe D's Cousin RalphJanuary 24, 2008 at 3:54 AM

    A consensus builder with the skills to deal with huge egos in government. A good man who has used his time in leadership to mature and improve his abilities as opposed to Blago who has regressed and reacted impulsively and immaturely.

  2. He sure seems like the only rationale leader down in Springfield right now

  3. The only criticism that I have heard about Cross is that he has shown little or no interest in fielding candidates in all House districts. While the GOP is not competitive in many districts, failing to put forward candidates in as many districts as possible has meant that Madigan has been able to go on offense in districts that were reliably Republican in the past. By giving so many incumbent Democrats a free pass, Cross has allowed Madigan to target Republicans elsewhere.