Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who has been given and deserves a great deal of credit for bringing the city back to stability and prominence after 12 awful and nearly bankrupt years under John Lindsay and Abe Beame, passed away on Friday at age 88.
Koch was not a party-line Democrat in several obvious ways. He supported George W. Bush's reelection in 2004. He first made a name for himself in the early 1970s opposing a huge public housing project slated for a middle-class neighborhood. What I find most interesting -- and what the press appears to be totally uninterested in noting -- is the fact that Koch, having learned hard lessons about how federal mandates were tieing his hands as mayor, wasn't afraid, after experiencing first-hand how disruptive many statist policies and prescriptions emanating from Washington become once they make contact with the real world, to declare how wrong he had been as a congressman to impose some of them before his mayoral ascension. The excerpts which follow are from "The Mandate Millstone," published in 1980:
One shudders to think about how much larger every one of the numbers Koch cited in the first paragraph above are today.
In this sense, Koch is like 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 1992 about how federal regulations and litigious legal environment contributed to the bankruptcy of an inn he operated in Connecticut.
As is the case with Koch's criticism of mandates, the press wasn't interested in relaying how McGovern strayed from leftist orthodoxy once he had to deal with its effects.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.