Fait Diver: The Ed Koch Circus

Ed

Pleasant-looking kid, doncha think? Well he didn’t stay pleasant.

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Needless to say The World’s Worst Newspaper adores him.

“Former Mayor Edward I. Koch’s strategy seemed almost nutty at first: ask Jewish residents in Brooklyn and Queens to vote against an Israel-loving observant Jew for Congress to send a message to President Obama.
But the idea caught fire and appeared to be a significant factor in the special election on Tuesday in which Bob Turner, a Republican businessman, defeated Assemblyman David I. Weprin, a Democrat, in a race for the House of Representatives.
Now Mr. Koch is considering taking his critique of President Obama’s policies toward Israel to a national stage.”

And we all know how much Ed loves the stage.

““I’m hopeful the president will read the tea leaves, will get the message — you’d have to be deaf not to,” he said, adding, “I’m hopeful that he will change his position.”
But if Mr. Obama does not, Mr. Koch is weighing his options, he warned. Would he, for instance, go to Florida and talk to Jewish voters there?
“I might,” Mr. Koch said. “In fact, if it doesn’t work out that the president changes his position, I certainly will.”
The Obama administration already appears to be concerned about that possibility. About two weeks before the election, Mr. Koch said, the White House wanted to talk to him about his concerns, which stem in part from his belief that Mr. Obama is making harsher demands on Israel than the Palestinians in the effort to reach a Middle East peace agreement. Mr. Koch would not say who made the overture.
The administration asked him to explain “what it is that I felt aggrieved about,” he said, “which I did.” The conversation was friendly, Mr. Koch said. No one pressured him to stop criticizing the president, he said, nor was any particular agreement reached.
“It was, I think, ‘Let’s keep talking,’ ” Mr. Koch said. “

Yes, let’s keep talking — about Ed.

“Koch was the Democratic US Representative from New York’s 17th congressional district from January 3, 1969 until January 3, 1973, when after a redistricting he represented New York’s 18th congressional district until December 31, 1977, when he resigned to become Mayor of New York City.
Koch has said he began his political career as “just a plain liberal,” with positions including opposing the Vietnam War and marching in the South for civil rights. He has traced the beginning of his rightward shift towards being a “liberal with sanity” to the controversy in 1973 around then-New York City Mayor John Lindsay’s attempt to place a 3,000-person housing project in the middle of a middle-class community in Forest Hills, Queens. Congressman Koch met with residents of the community, most of whom were against the proposal. He was convinced by their arguments, and spoke out against the plan; this decision, he has said, shocked many of his political associates.
Koch was active in advocating for a greater US role in advancing human rights, within the context of fighting the worldwide threat of communism. He had particular influence in the foreign aid budget, as he sat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. In 1976, Koch proposed that the US cut off foreign aid to the right-wing government of Uruguay. In mid-July 1976, the CIA learned that two high-level Uruguayan intelligence officers had discussed a possible assassination attempt on Koch by DINA, the Chilean secret police. The CIA did not regard these threats as credible until after the September, 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier in Washington, DC by DINA agents coordinated by Operation Condor. After this assassination, then-Director of Central Intelligence George Bush informed Koch by phone of the threat. Koch subsequently asked both CIA and FBI for protection, but none was extended”

What Ed needed protection alright — from himself.

“Koch is a lifelong bachelor, and his sexuality became an issue in the 1977 mayoral election with the appearance of placards and posters (disavowed by the Cuomo campaign) with the slogan “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo.” Koch denounced the attack. During the campaign and after becoming mayor, Koch began attending public events with former Miss America, well-known television game show panelist and consumer advocate Bess Myerson.”

BM

My what a lovely beard!

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So useful for so many occasions.

I especially love this pic of Ed, Bess and Jackie (the Bitch) Bouvier

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“Koch has refused comment on his actual sexual experiences, writing:
What do I care? I’m 73 years old. I find it fascinating that people are interested in my sex life at age 73. It’s rather complimentary! But as I say in my book, my answer to questions on this subject is simply Fuck off. There have to be some private matters left.
Randy Shilts, in And the Band Played On, his influential history of the early AIDS epidemic in America, discusses the possibility that Koch ignored the developing epidemic in New York City in 1982–1983 because he was afraid of lending credence to rumors of his homosexuality. Author and activist Larry Kramer describes the former mayor as a “closeted gay man” whose fear of being ‘outed’ kept him from aggressively addressing the AIDS epidemic in New York City in the early 1980s. Kramer lampooned Koch’s sexuality and perceived indifference to the plight of AIDS victims in The Normal Heart, in which the protagonist, an AIDS activist, laments that the only way to get the mayor’s attention is to “hire a hunky hustler and send him up to Gracie Mansion with our plea tattooed on his cock.” John Cameron Mitchell’s movie Shortbus features a gay Koch-like older gentleman lamenting at his poor choices while mayor of New York City.”

In the 2009 Kirby Dick documentary Outrage, investigative journalist Wayne Barrett of The Village Voice states that Koch is gay. The film also depicts interviews suggesting that Koch drove his former male lover out of New York during his bid for office.”

Here are two clips from Outrage. Ed Koch figures towards the end of the first and at the start of the second.

The rest of each clip is devoted to other political closet cases — few as press-pampered as Ed Koch.

In reviewing the film the NYT, the Washingon Post and other “mainsteam” publications declined to so much as mention thesequences concerning Ed Koch. I have no doubt they will continue to pass over Koch’s hypocrisy in silence.

(Back to today’s NYT story)

“Many factors affected the race for the Ninth Congressional District seat formerly occupied by Anthony D. Weiner, and several other prominent politicians ultimately endorsed Mr. Turner, including former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and former Gov. George E. Pataki. But political observers said Mr. Koch’s role was crucial.
“Koch started the parade, and everyone followed after him,” Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant, said. “He was able to pick up the tenor of the moment, and his intensity and his excitement was contagious.”
Mr. Koch thrust himself into the spotlight as the leader of a kind of Jewish revolt against the Democratic Party, Mr. Sheinkopf said. “A guy who’s been out of office 22 years and is 86 years old — it’s amazing,” he said.
Jonathan Soffer, a historian at New York University’s Polytechnic Institute and the author of “Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City,” said Mr. Koch had a keen instinct for “intervening in races where he can make a huge difference.” Mr. Soffer cited Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate run in 2000, when Mr. Koch helped defend her against charges that she was insufficiently supportive of Israel.”

And we all know what it means to be sufficiently supportive of Israel — defending THIS.

“And though Mr. Koch remains a Democrat, he has repeatedly crossed party lines to endorse candidates. Mr. Soffer said he thought Mr. Koch actually enjoyed doing so, to show political independence.
Whether he would be willing to endorse a Republican for president in 2012 remains to be seen. Asked if he could support any of the party’s potential nominees, Mr. Koch said that Mitt Romney was a possibility, but not any of the others, whom he called “wacky” and “absolutely unacceptable.”
If Mr. Obama does not alter his Middle East policy, and the Republicans nominate Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, then “the likelihood is that I just won’t vote,” Mr. Koch said.
For the moment, Mr. Koch is savoring his victory. On Wednesday, as he ate lunch at Trattoria Dell’Arte in Manhattan, he happily accepted good wishes and gestures of approval. At times, it seemed as if he had been the winning candidate.
“Mayor, thank you for Turner!” one man said as he passed by, giving Mr. Koch a thumbs-up.
Soon after, Silda Wall Spitzer, the state’s former first lady, came by the table to pay her respects.
“I guess congratulations are in order, right?” she said.
Mr. Koch smiled, and said, “Thank you.”
He also continued leveling his criticism of President Obama. Over lunch he denounced the so-called Arab Spring as “a fraud,” and Mr. Obama’s call for Hosni Mubarak’s resignation as president of Egypt “an outrage.”
On Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made clear that he did not intend to join that particular chorus.
Asked at a news conference if he had any criticisms of the president on Israel, Mr. Bloomberg expressed general, muted approval.
Mr. Obama “has to stand up and explicitly say that Israel is our close ally,” Mr. Bloomberg said. As for negotiating strategies, he said, “I’ll leave it to him, with some input from Ed Koch — which I’m sure Ed would be happy to give him.”

Oh yeah, all Obama needs is Ed Koch’s “help.”

But you’ve got to hand it to Ed. Even though he let his lover die of AIDS alone. Even though he did NOTHING as the pandemic spiralled out of control. He nonethless managed to grab at an opportunity to gloss things over back in ’83.

The GMHC shouldn’t have let him in the door!

Except of course, being a circus they should have stuck him in the clown car. Right Nat?

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