It was announced yesterday that, in return for some changes in its Board and the resignation of the Cato Institute’s co-founder and CEO, Ed Crane, the Koch brothers are withdrawing their lawsuits against the organization. Given the negative effect that the lawsuits were having on Cato’s fundraising, it’s no surprise that the Institute would eventually be obliged to give up something important in order to move on. But in accepting Crane's offer to go, they’ve given up a lot.
Organizations that are moved by idealism rather than commerce, and that persist and prosper against all odds, are often the creatures of their founders and long-time leaders. The late Bill Baroody, founder of the American Enterprise Institute, comes to mind. And so too with Crane, who has led Cato for 35 years, during which time it has become one of the leading think tanks in the United States.
If, 20 years from now, Cato is still the powerhouse it has become, people in the know will say that Crane’s successors were good, but that Crane was great. And they’ll be right.
The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.