Despite many years out of public office, Ed Koch remained relevant as both a columnist reporting about the Middle East and as a public figure. It was not an easy transition back into private life after being a 3 term mayor. But his influence far outlasted his tenure in office, and he was an important figure in both local and national elections.
Koch not only endorsed Obama as he ran for office but had hedged his bets; placing issues of security and economy above party affiliation. The endorsement came about after Obama sought a meeting with Koch and after many assurances about Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security.Koch’s regret over that endorsement is clear when he speaks of the pressure that the Obama Administration has placed on Israel and when Koch discusses the current state of the American economy.
Despite being a proud and outspoken Jew, Koch had many close friends that crossed religious bridges and political aisles. Although a staunch Democrat, pro-choice and pro-gay rights, Koch remained close personal friends with Cardinal O’Connor, the Archbishop of NY. This friendship lasted until Koch’s death.
Mayor Koch did not shy away from differences but found that at the end of the day, it was best to work for the common good. As we remember Ed Koch, I like to think of him as the consummate public servant. Looking to change the city he loved and the lives of those he touched, for the better.