Thursday, September 18, 2008


Published: September 13, 2008
Not since Edward I. Koch disclosed this year that he was suffering from a serious spinal ailment has his online commentary generated the volume of e-mail messages he received in response to his endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for president last week.

Librado Romero
The New York Times
Edward I. Koch said of critical e-mail responses, “There is no acceptance of dissent anymore.”
Most of the 400 or so responses to the endorsement were extremely positive, he said. About three dozen were not; some of them were downright vitriolic.

“I was surprised primarily by those who criticized me with the invective they used,” the former mayor said, “but I know those who praised me, had I come out the other way, would have used the same invective.”

“There is no acceptance of dissent anymore,” he lamented.

In his commentary, which is e-mailed periodically to roughly 4,000 subscribers, Mr. Koch, who has been a supporter of President Bush, wrote that “the country is safer in the hands of Barack Obama” and that though Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, is “a plucky, exciting candidate,” it “would scare me if she were to succeed John McCain in the presidency.” He also commented on former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s “maniacal laugh” during his speech at the Republican convention.

These are a sampling of responses to Mr. Koch’s endorsement, followed by Mr. Koch’s replies, in italics. Most merited, or received, a simple thank you:

“Though I could not disagree with you more on your backing of George W. Bush, I congratulate you on your choice this time around.”

“Isn’t it possible that both my choices were and are correct? History will make that judgment.”

“I believe you made the wrong decision. ... I just pray that whoever wins is the choosing of our Lord.”

“I really don’t believe God chooses our candidates and winners. If that were the case, how did Hitler win? He was elected in a democratic election before the dictatorship. So let’s leave God out of this.”

“How can you think a community organizer has the backbone to stand up for America?”

“Why do you disparage community organizers? Weren’t Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson in effect community organizers?”

“You have chosen political correctness over the preservation of Israel and this country and this greatly saddens me.”

“Reread your note. Don’t you think it is arrogant? Isn’t it possible that my judgment is more informed than yours? Can’t we simply agree to disagree, without you accusing me of political correctness?”

“No one believes you are really endorsing Obama out of a sincere belief that he is the better candidate after you endorsed Bush in ’04.”

“How foolish of you. ... The fact that I exercised independence of my party then is surely relevant and establishes that I vote my conscience.”

“Obama seems to hold socialist views re: all issues.”

“Please cite three socialist positions taken by Obama, or even one.”

“Universal government-run health care, income redistribution, bigger government. Keeping a name with Muslim origins.”

“Thank you. We disagree on our choice for president and vice president.”

“Wrong choice, just like Neville Chamberlain, who chose ‘appeasement,’ but you are entitled to an error in judgment now and then.”

“Thank you for your generous spirit.”

“If you feel Obama is the right man, with zero experience, anti-American stands, I no longer wish to receive your insights.”

“Removed from e-mail with pleasure and alacrity.”

“You are kinder to Sarah Palin than I would be — I’ve never thought that disemboweling a moose was a strong qualification for a would-be president.”

“I have no problem with Palin being an expert on skinning a moose and turning it into stew. I have a problem with her breaking tie votes in the Senate.”

“If Sarah Palin’s experience scares you, Obama’s lack of experience, and lack of executive responsibilities, should horrify you. However, knowing your liberal left ideology, I understand your endorsement.”

“Although Obama is not a crackpot like Palin, his experience is the equivalent of Palin’s.”

“If you think Sarah Palin does not have better experience than Joe Biden you are way out of touch with what real experience is.”

“Thank you. You haven’t persuaded me that I was wrong in my endorsement.”

“I think that your jealousy of Mayor Giuliani becomes so obvious when you refer to his ‘verbal tic intruding into the hatcheting performance.’ ”

“Everybody I know loved and agreed with my description. You apparently have no sense of humor.”

“I’m hoping it’s just Alzheimer’s that has made you so confused.”

“Your outrageous comment simply because we disagree on a political matter is unacceptable, and precludes further communication.”