Koch served in the United States House of Representatives from to Koch was the Democratic U. Representative from New York's 17th congressional district from January 3, , until January 3, , when, after a redistricting, he represented New York's 18th congressional district until December 31, , when he resigned to become Mayor of New York City.
Koch said he began his political career as "just a plain liberal", with positions including opposing the Vietnam War and marching in the South for civil rights. Koch met with residents of the community, most of whom were against the proposal. He was convinced by their arguments, and spoke out against the plan, shocking some of his liberal allies. He had particular influence in the foreign aid budget, as he sat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations.
In , Koch proposed that the U. Bush informed Koch of the threat. He threw his support to State Assemblyman Albert H. Blumenthal , but Blumenthal's bid was derailed by a scandal and he came in third. Koch ran to the right of the other candidates, on a " law and order " platform. According to historian Jonathan Mahler, the New York City blackout of that happened in July, and the subsequent rioting, helped catapult Koch and his message of restoring public safety to front-runner status.
In , Koch ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New York , losing the Democratic primary to Mario Cuomo, who was then lieutenant governor. Many say the deciding factor in Koch's loss was an interview with Playboy magazine in which he described the lifestyle of suburbia and upstate New York as "sterile" and lamented the thought of having to live in "the small town" of Albany as governor.
Koch's remarks are thought to have alienated many voters from outside New York City. Koch often deviated from the conventional liberal line, strongly supporting the death penalty, adding 3, officers to the NYPD in the s,  and taking a hard line on " quality of life " issues, such as giving police broader powers in dealing with the homeless and favoring and signing legislation banning the playing of radios on subways and buses.
These positions prompted harsh criticism from the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and many African-American leaders, particularly Reverend Al Sharpton. In , Koch published his first memoir, Mayor, which became a best-seller and was later turned into an Off Broadway and later Broadway musical, Mayor. Despite his overall pro-lesbian and pro-gay-rights stance, he nonetheless backed up the New York City Health Department 's decision to shut down the city's gay bathhouses in in response to concerns over the spread of AIDS.
The Health Department, with Koch's approval, reacted by ordering the heterosexual clubs, including Plato's Retreat , to close as well.
Koch consistently demonstrated a fierce love for New York City, which some observers felt he carried to extremes on occasion: Edward Koch at the commissioning of USS Lake Champlain In his third term, Koch's popularity was shaken after a series of corruption scandals, touched off by Donald Manes 's suicide and the PVB scandal, which revealed that he had acceded to the requests of political allies most notably Queens Borough President Manes, Bronx Democratic Party official Stanley Friedman and Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman Meade Esposito to stack city agencies with patronage appointments.
There were no allegations that Koch obtained any financial benefit from the corruption, but the scandals undermined Koch's claims that he ran a patronage-free municipal government. Michael Tager attributes the scandals not to Koch's failures but to the steadily declining power of the Democratic machine and its bosses' desperate efforts to reverse the collapse.
As the April New York primary approached, Koch reminded voters of Jackson's earlier anti-semitic statements, and said that Jews would be "crazy" to vote for Jackson. As Koch's anti-Jackson rhetoric intensified, Gore seemed to shy away from Koch. Jackson ran ten points behind Dukakis, whose nomination became assured after his New York win. In , Koch ran for a fourth term as mayor but lost the Democratic primary to Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins , who went on to defeat Rudolph Giuliani in the general election.
Koch's criticism of Jesse Jackson had angered many black voters and was cited as a major reason for his defeat. In , he was a visiting professor at Brandeis University. Koch regularly appeared on the lecture circuit, and had a high-rated talk show on WABC radio.
He also hosted his own online movie review show, The Mayor at the Movies. Although he was invited to private screenings, Koch preferred to see films with a public audience and was often approached by moviegoers who were surprised to find him there.
His reviews were outspoken and wry, with his rating system consisting not of stars but of a "plus" for a good film or a "minus" for a bad one. He had a particular passion for independent cinema and documentaries, but enjoyed dramas and action films as well. Senate , Peter T. House , George Pataki for governor, and, in , George W. Koch also endorsed Democrats, including Eliot Spitzer for governor in the election. He endorsed Bill Bradley for president in Koch took back his endorsement of Spitzer in the aftermath of the governor's prostitution scandal.
He said, "At the time the prostitution episode emerged, I commented that nothing could explain his behavior other than the fact that he had a screw loose in his head. In , the columns were compiled into the book Giuliani: He resumed his attacks, and had the book republished, in , after Giuliani announced his candidacy for president.
In May , Koch called Giuliani "a control freak" and said that "he wouldn't meet with people he didn't agree with. That's not what we need in a president. In his endorsement of Obama, Koch wrote that he felt that unlike in both candidates would do their best to protect both the United States and Israel from terrorist attacks, but that he agreed with Obama's domestic policies much more and that the idea of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin ascending to the presidency "would scare me".
He was a contributor to Newsmax , a conservative magazine. In July , Koch wrote that he was "bailing out" of his previous support for that war, due to the failure of the United States' NATO allies, and other Arab countries, to contribute to the war effort. Koch wrote, "I would support our troops remaining in Iraq if our allies were to join us. But they have made it clear they will not. While denouncing the abuse, Koch wrote, "the procession of articles on the same events are, in my opinion, no longer intended to inform, but simply to castigate.
He stated that, while he opposed the Church's teaching in all these matters, he firmly believed that the Church had the right to espouse these beliefs and to expect its members to espouse them as well, calling the Church "a force for good in the world, not evil. When the interviewer asked Koch to clarify his views on homosexuality relative to O'Connor, Koch responded, "I happen to believe that there's nothing wrong with homosexuality.
It's whatever God made you. It happens that I'm a heterosexual. The vast majority don't care, and others don't think I am. And I don't give a expletive either way! Koch "dismissed the story mockingly" in a conversation with journalist Andy Humm in Former president Bill Clinton also addressed the congregation, serving as President Obama's representative.
New York City Police Department helicopters gave a fly-over at the service. It is the only graveyard in the borough that is accepting new burials.
He chose to put the last words of the late journalist Daniel Pearl on his tombstone: On the occasion of his primary loss to David Dinkins "The people have spoken Because I say exactly what I think.
I'm the sort of person who might give other people ulcers. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.