Edwin Eisendrath and Ron Gidwitz are both wealthy, civic Chicagoans who believe that state government ought to do a better job at raising our standard of living.
Since neither one will be campaigning for governor any longer, what should they do?
Start a think tank that focuses on state government.
We don't have many of them, and our state would be far better off with some entrepreneurial research from civic benefactors who want to help shape public policy.
There are tons of D.C. think tanks and institutions where federal policy is debated and shaped and prodded and discussed -- and these think tanks help move policy by serving as a crucial resource to legislators and executive branch staffers.
For progressives, a lot of that is wasted energy, since we don't have the ear of federal policymakers. We do have the ear of policymakers in Illinois -- at least, enough to get a fair hearing and the same basic values.
And now that Eisendrath and Gidwitz have formed relationships with people and donors around the state, as well as created a decent media profile, either one can take the next step at creating a permanent institution that can advance the causes they hold dear.