The Corner

Lindsay Returns!

From a reader:

In the current The Chronicle (of Higher Education) Review, [Sub Req’d] Richard Kahlenberg has a piece on the 1968 New York teachers’ strike that concludes with a discussion of the potential for an Obama presidency to transcend America’s racial divide.  (I know, I know, but keep reading, it’s worth it….)  In passing, Kahlenberg notes that in most primary contests so far, Obama hasn’t managed to transcend the (in 1968 terms) Lindsay coalition of blacks and affluent voters.  Mind you, Kahlenberg does nothing to develop this comparison, but it strikes me as perhaps the most apt analogy I’ve seen yet.  Obama as JFK?  Maybe on theatrics, but hardly on policy.  Obama as George McGovern?  Well, a conservative can hope.  Obama as Jesse Jackson?  Does anyone other than Bill Clinton see this one?  But Obama as John Vliet Lindsay?  Discuss.

Me: Hmm, interesting! I will ask my old friend Vincent Cannato, author of the invaluable The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and the Struggle to Save New York about this.