The Story via the New York Times:
Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88.
Mr. Koch’s spokesman, George Arzt, said the former mayor died at 2 a.m. from congestive heart failure. He was being treated at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital.
Mr. Koch had experienced coronary and other medical problems since leaving office in 1989. But he had been in relatively good health despite — or perhaps because of — his whirlwind life as a television judge, radio talk-show host, author, law partner, newspaper columnist, movie reviewer, professor, commercial pitchman and political gadfly.
He will be, however, remembered for this:
Out of office, Mr. Koch remained influential in New York politics. He crossed party lines to support Mr. Giuliani in the 1993 mayoral election, an endorsement crucial to Mr. Dinkins’s defeat. But Mr. Koch later turned against Mr. Giuliani, flaying him as “a good mayor but a terrible person” and refusing to endorse him for a second term.
Mr. Koch endorsed Mr. Bloomberg’s successful races for mayor as a Republican in 2001 and 2005, calling him about “as Republican as I am.” (Mr. Bloomberg later refashioned himself as an independent.) And when Mr. Bloomberg engineered a legislative finesse of term-limits laws to run for a third term in 2009, Mr. Koch backed him and called for an end to term limits.
In presidential races, Mr. Koch went back and forth. He supported the losing Democratic ticket of Al Gore and Joseph I. Lieberman in 2000, but joined the Bush-Cheney re-election bandwagon in 2004 and promoted the Republican National Convention in New York, urging New Yorkers to “make nice” to conventioneers. By 2008, he was back with the Democrats, supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for the nomination and, when she lost, switching to Mr. Obama.
Now, I do not normally speak ill of the dead; but I will say this: Mayor Koch switched to a Republican stance, because of terrorism and what it did to NYC — that ,I fully understand. I was one of the many who watched 9/11 unfold on television in 2001 on CNN. I found it to be totally unbelievable that we were witnessing an attack on American soil. It was worse than pearl harbor. At the time, I was not really politically active. But, I found the Democrats response to 9/11 and the subsequent cries for “no war” to be sickening. At the time, I felt that we should bombed the entire Arab world for what happened on that day.
Koch also understood that what happen on 9/11 was a horrible thing and when the Democrats decided to play the role of “lets all just get along,” Koch switched sides. It earned him the praise of the people of NYC at the time; but it earned him the scorn of the political elite of the Democratic Party.
As for the man’s sexuality, I could honestly give two flips about that; if he was gay at all. You would have never known it about him, he never looked the part at all. Except for that high-pitched Curly Howard sounding voice of his — which is very common in that ethnic group.
Put very simply; the man was a leader, something that New York City needed at the time; and he did well at leading the city during a very tough time. One thing he said in that video up there, that I posted; which I found to be very poignant is “You don’t spend money that you do not have!” I only wish that our leaders in Washington D.C. would truly learn that lesson; before America goes into a meltdown. My friends, that is not a Republican or a Conservative position; that is a position of common sense. Something that is sorely lacking in this modern day and age.
Rest in peace Koch, you damned well earned it.
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