Politics Is Nastier and Harder Today

Ed Koch was the 105th Mayor of New York City, serving 3 terms, from 1978 to 1989. During his time as Mayor, Koch oversaw the city’s resurgence from a severe recession, helped to develop low-income housing, and created legislation that prohibited discrimination by the government based on sexual orientation in the areas of employment, housing and education, among many other achievements. The author of 8 books, including “Citizen Koch” and “My Fight Against Anti-Semitism,” he hosts a show on Bloomberg Radio, was recently a judge for “The People’s Court,“ and writes columns for a variety of publications. Born in the Bronx, Koch achieved the rank of Sergeant while fighting in World War II, before completing his law degree at NYU. He lives in Manhattan.

  • Transcript


Question: Are there any trends in politics now that disturb you?

Ed Koch: Things have changed. When I was in the Congress, I would have dinner every night because I didn't have a family and there were other members of the Congress who didn't have their families there. And we went out and had dinner. Today, I'm told, it's a rarity to have people who are of different parties, that is to say, Democrats having dinner with Republicans and visa versa. And that's bad. That's very, very bad. I mean the idea that politics have taken such hold that it bars friendships.

Question: Is the current recession worse than the one that hit New York in the 1970s?

Ed Koch: Well, I think it's worse today than it was then and the reasons are very simple. We were then the only city asking for special help that I can recall from the Congress, from the state legislature. Whereas today, almost every city in America has the financial problems that we do on a lesser scale, and some may be on a higher scale. So, I believe that the current Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, is doing a magnificent job, and has problems that are greater than mine.