BOB DOLE (REPUBLICAN, KS) JOHN LINDSAY (REPUBLICAN, NY)
Combat experience and the horrors of war tend to unite individuals and even groups. This happened to John Lindsay and Bob Dole when they came to the House of Representatives, within two years of each other. While both were Republicans, they represented different political ideals. John Lindsay, from the Eastern Liberal Establishment, came in January of 1959. Bob Dole, from the then upstart Western Conservatives, came in January of 1961.
Both were decorated veterans from WWII. John Lindsay won five Battle Stars for the invasion of Sicily in the European Theater and for the invasion of the Philippines later in the Pacific Dole won two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. From their experience the two became fast friends.
Bob Dole noted that Lindsay, after only two years in Congress, was already a standout in the Republican Caucus. They worked together on some of the most important legislation of the Sixties. This included the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 the Voting Rights and the Immigration Acts.
John Lindsay left the House winning the race for the Mayor of New York City in 1965 on a Fusion Ticket, Republican/Liberal. In 1968, when Dole first ran for the Senate, Lindsay had a great media presence as Mayor of New York. Lindsay was tall, handsome, telegenic, and famous for walking the streets to maintain calm while other cities were erupting in racial conflict.
That year, 1968, Lindsay enthusiastically agreed to travel to Kansas to campaign for Dole. There was great interest in this new political voice from the Eastern Liberal Establishment. The turnout out was great at the Mission Hills luncheon. The Mayor didn’t disappoint with a literate yet rousing speech for his long time friend. Republicans raised $12,000 that day, the equivalent of $87,000 in 2018.
Later on later there paths diverged. In 1969, Lindsay lost the Republican Primary in 1969 to State Senator John Marchi. Lindsay did win on the Liberal Party ticket in both the Primary and General Election. Lindsay and Dole remained friends.
Both the Senator and the Mayor showed the ability to compromise between the Conservative and Liberal Wings of the Republican Party. Today the Right Wing has become so dominant that their implied plank rests on ideas such as bigotry, disregard for the constitution, bloated defense budgets, and concern for only the wealthy.