Much is being made about the grim New York that Ed Koch inherited when he was elected in 1977, the year of the blackout, Son of Sam, and Howard Cosell's famous line during the World Series about how "the Bronx is burning."
Hizzoner is gone now and the reflections on his style (pure chutzpah), his sexuality (quite ambiguous), and his political acumen (awfully adroit) are everywhere. Koch, who died Friday at the age of 88, should also be remembered for how he reflected changes in American liberalism and accelerated those changes himself. His shifting alliances and fights over foreign policy often were telling. Because of Israel, he embraced the most conservative Democratic candidate for president in 1988, Al Gore, and despised Jimmy Carter. He supported Hillary, but not John Kerry. He wrote a whole book, Giuliani: Nasty Man.