You won't find much coverage yet of the subterranean political currents in the Chicago teachers strike. To some news services, the pay issue and the financial hole Chicago is in, don't warrant reporting. However, observers at the Washington Post (in a city where similar stories have played out) are noticing, as are some in Chicago.
Beyond that, Rush Limbaugh is among those on the right suspecting that the strike is a set up so that the President can demonstrate to voters that he can control the unions, rather than vice versa. In effect, he'd have a "Sister Souljah Moment", a reference to Bill Clinton's distancing himself in the 092 campaign from a black extremist, though Limbaugh didn't use that term.
Or, in a contrary interpretation, the strike could be real. In Chicago the city government runs the schools and City Hall is deep in debt. Editorializes the normally liberal Chicago Tribune, "There. Is. No. More. Money." There isn't even money to pay for the 16 percent pay increase over four years ("320 million) that the City already has offered and the union has rejected.
Meanwhile, while the union is a huge political force, so are aroused parents.
Either way, it is a teaching moment, as it were, for Chicago and the country.
Essentially, as Charles Lane writes, the problem for Democrats is that their biggest financial support comes from government employee unions, especially teachers unions. To go against them normally is death. But there may be an exception in an election year when the public as a whole is interested, because voters also are very interested in education. Poor people, usually minorities in big cities, do not benefit from high teachers' salaries and benefits; they benefit from choice. All parents want accountability.
Now you have Paul Ryan siding with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at least for the moment (until POTUS moves in to arrange a "compromise" or even gets the union to back down for a couple of months, until the election is over). This is causing consternation in the base. The alignment of right and left reformers, therefore, probably is temporary.
But in that window comes a chance to "teach".