Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What should Edwin Eisendrath and Ron Gidwitz do now?

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.


ArchPundit said...

Only if they hired me...I blog and do research ;)

ArchPundit said...

Oh, wait, I made fun of both of them.

Anonymous said...

Eisendrath - back to cooking school.

Gidwitz - more makeup!

Erik Rasmussen said...

Aw, Dan, you do so have the ear of Washington policymakers (if mostly on Friday afternoons during recess).

I think you'd be surprised at some of the state-focused stuff some of the DC ttanks put out; not to mention GAO for sheer non-agenda data and studies that can be adapted to the state.

Glad you survived primary season.

Carl Nyberg said...

It's self-serving of me to say it, but we need foundation money to support bloggers that do local media work, especially in places with little or no local journalism.

Larry Horse said...


Have you considered perhaps reaching out to Jim Oberweis about possibly being a high-profile supporter of Instant Runoff Voting? In the GOP Primary, the conservative candidates Oberweis and Brady got a slim majority of the vote. Perhaps if there had been instant runoff voting, Oberweis wouldn't have had to worry about Brady splitting his conservative vote, because Brady supporters could first-choice Brady and second-choice Oberweis.

IRV, as you know, is an issue that people from all political backgrounds can get behind, and Jim Oberweis might be a perfect high-profile potential supporter of a system that, had it been in place, might have allowed him to win the primary.

Bill Baar said...

This is a great post DJW. Imagine the impact Oberweis, Gidwitz, or Eisendrath could have funding think tanks and bloggers devoted to Illinois issues. Far more influence then if they had won I bet.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Thanks Erik -- but the DC policymakers (including yourself) tend to like the R reports and not so much the D reports these days. Larry, I've never asked Oberweis (or the Family Taxpayers Network for that matter) what they think about an end to spoiler campaigns, but I'd hope they would like it. You'd think John Kass would too (who falsely accused Bill Brady of splitting the conservative vote). I'm not sure, Carly and Bill, that bloggers need to be supported, but I do think we need some more policy research work done.

Anonymous said...

Erik Rasmussen said...

Dan, sure there are D and R reports, but there are so many more that are non-partisan; it's not all Cato vs. Kaiser Family Foundation. And GAO has strenuously, and successfully, defended their non-partisanship, which is why their reports are so respected by both D and R politicians.

Of course an IL ttank would be nice to have. But if I were a potential big-dollar donor, I'd have to be shown it wasn't a redundancy to legitimize the donation.