Unsolicited Advice for House Democrats (concluded)

Of course, President Trump and the Democrats do not agree on the border wall. As I write, the federal government is partially shut down because of this issue. If the stalemate does get resolved without a Democratic commitment to Trump’s vision of a border barrier, the House Democrats should address the issue. They need to emphasize that a wall is not an end initself, or at least it should not be. Instead it is a means to better border security. Democrats should be stressing that they believe in good border security, and that the Republican screed that Democrats believe in open borders is, to put it politely, bunkum. Democrats need to make clear that they oppose the wall because it is not a good way to get better border security.

This is yet another area where House Democrats should hold hearings. Make evident the shortcomings of the wall. The cost, of course, should be stressed as well as the likelihood of cost overruns.  Any connections between the members of the construction industry who hanker for a piece of the wall-building action and the Republican Party should be highlighted. The wall’s impact on wildlife, streams, ranching, hunting, and fishing should be explored. Eminent domain, often reviled by conservatives and libertarians, will have to be used to get the private lands needed for the wall. Have those costs gone into the projected budget for the wall? How long will the court proceedings take? How many “jack-booted thugs” will be necessary to remove ranchers and homeowners from their lands?

A wall has intuitive appeal for increasing border security, and hearings should show that such simplistic thinking is wrong. Knowledgeable people should testify about the limited effectiveness of a wall. Witnesses experienced in border security should be presenting ideas that lead to better border security—methods that are cheaper, more efficacious, less harmful to the environment, less invasive of property rights, and more humane.

The hearings should produce a bill for better border security that the House can pass untethered, once again, from other issues. Perhaps the Senate Republicans will kill the proposals, but even so, the House passage of sensible border security measures helps the country by presenting competing ideas to the public, instead of a myopic focus on the wall. It should be good for the Democrats by giving a concrete (pun intended) proposal showing that Democrats care about border security but are also mindful of wasteful costs and other harms. And Democrats should also remember that a sizeable number of Republicans have not supported the wall. Maybe a coalition across the aisle can be fashioned to improve the country. Another novel idea.

And perhaps Democrats could start to tackle with solid, non-political hearings issues that politicians reflexively want to avoid but should be aired for the country’s sake. For example, how many know that the number of IRS auditors is now 9,5110, down a third from 2010 and that the rate of IRS audits has dropped 42 percent? These numbers are not surprising because the IRS budget has fallen by $2 billion. Politicians don’t want to go on record in favor of more audits, more IRS enforcement, but someone should be pointing out that corporations and the tax-cheating rich are the prime beneficiaries of lesser IRS enforcement. The government collects less money than it ought to, and the tax burden on the less wealthy increases. Serious, nonpartisan House hearings could try to explain these and many other realities to the country—realities that have gotten lost in the morass of political backstabbing.

Unsolicited Advice for House Democrats (continued)

I am not so naïve to think that because Trump mouthed words in favor of infrastructure spending, that infrastructure proposals coming out of a Democratic House are likely to become laws. Even if they don’t get passed, however, hearings about areas of possible infrastructure improvement might further the education of both Congress and the country so that someday we can make progress on these issues. But my despair about the unlikelihood of passage is not total. After all, recently Trump signed laws passed by Congress with bipartisan support aimed at attacking our opioid crisis, an area, as with infrastructure, where Trump had made promises. And again with bipartisan support, Congress passed and the President signed criminal justice reform legislation.

My more cynical or, I believe realistic, side may believe that the opioid laws got enacted only because they do not require much federal spending (and my prophetic side says that the laws will have limited effect because not enough money is being allocated for addiction treatment.) And the criminal justice package, although receiving a fair amount of hype, was in reality only a modest reform, but still these laws did get enacted.

I won’t be shocked if increased infrastructure spending is resisted by Republicans who say that the federal deficit is too high, who will again care about this issue when faced with Democratic initiative. If so, the Democrats will have been handed a political tool. They can explain again the real effects of the Republican tax cuts; how that legislation primarily helped the rich and corporations; and how it is now being used to prevent programs that help the country. The hypocrisy of Trump and the Republicans on deficits might become more apparent.

While infrastructure bills may be good politically, the most important reason for them, however, is that an improved infrastructure would be good for the country. Country before politics. What a quaint idea.

Improving infrastructure will cost money, but a law legalizing the status of Dreamers will not. President Trump’s administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, but he said that the rescission came because Obama’s executive actions creating DACA were unconstitutional. Trump maintained that legislation should be enacted for the non-citizens who were brought here as children. He stated that he wanted to “work out something” for the Dreamers. “We don’t want to hurt those kids. We love the Dreamers.” Democrats, take note.

Some prominent Republicans have supported legislation for the Dreamers, but it has not passed. Part of the reason is that Trump has often bundled it with his desire for a border wall. House Democrats should hold hearings that will create sympathy for Dreamers and show that legalizing their status is good for the economy. Maybe they can then pass a Dreamers act untethered from the wall and other initiatives.  The Senate Republicans may again attach a border wall funding bill to this, but their willingness to play politics with the issue should be apparent if facing a Dreamers act stripped clean of anything else. Bring sympathetic Dreamers from Florida, Texas, Arizona, Ohio and elsewhere and let Republicans explain why border wall funding or some other issue should prevent such desirable Americans being removed from legal limbo. This would be good politics, but the most important reason to do this is that resolving this issue is good for the country. Moreover, the president has claimed that he favors a resolution. Work it!

(Concluded January 7)

Unsolicited Advice for House Democrats

Democrats have the majority in the House of Representatives. They can use this power for investigations of Donald Trump, but these should not be their principal focus, for such hearings will appear to many as acts of revenge or vindictiveness that are primarily aimed at pleasing the Democratic Party’s base. They might be the Democratic equivalent of all those endless and fruitless Benghazi hearings and not much different from demagogic Trump rallies. Investigations and hearings should serve and be seen to serve some broad national purpose, not just as spectacles to rile up or satisfy partisans.

This does not mean that all Trump investigations are unwarranted. We should know whether the president, his family, or those around him have economic and social interests that could be affecting our country’s policies. Could our relationships with Saudi Arabia be colored because of financial links between that country and the president or his family? Does the expansion of certain economic opportunity areas benefit the Kushner family? Is the relaxation of auto fuel standards driven by connections between the oil industry and the administration? Unfortunately, there are many such possible topics for exploration by sober investigations and hearings, and they should be done.

The House Democrats should not, however, enter the new Congress focused on articles of impeachment of Trump. Perhaps information will come to light that would justify the removal of the president, but under the present circumstances the Senate would not convict the president. Much has been made of recent guilty pleas and arrangements with prosecutors that suggest Donald Trump broke campaign finance laws, but even so, those violations by themselves will not bring a conviction in the Senate, for surely violations of campaign finance laws are legion and others are not removed for them. And the campaign finance problems really sound as if the Democrats are going after Trump for lying about sex. Sound familiar?

The Democrats should wait for Mueller to complete his investigation and only then consider strategies. Articles of impeachment may seem satisfying to certain partisans, but if there is no realistic chance of conviction in the Senate, impeachment will only further inflame and divide the country, and probably do the almost impossible: make Trump into a sympathetic figure.

A House impeachment without a solid chance of removal by the Senate would be grandstanding, and Democrats should avoid grandstanding. Instead, they should try to legislate and govern. The House should concentrate on passing good, cogent, well-researched legislation. Okay, okay, I know that that is a radical notion. Congress, whose constitutional purpose is to pass legislation, no longer seems to be much concerned with legislating. More often, a congressional party’s primary goal is to score political points. However, Democrats should realize that legislation that would help the country can be both good for the country and good for politics.

Objections will come that working on substantive legislation is a waste of effort because nothing that the Democrats propose will stand a chance of passage. The Republican-controlled Senate will simply kill any House initiative. But not so fast. What if House Democrats concentrated on legislative measures that President Trump has promised to support. We forget that there are important areas of apparent agreement between the rivals.

On what issues do Democrats agree with Trump? President Trump campaigned on increased infrastructure spending. As with many of his promises, he was not consistent in what he pledged–500 billion dollars, a trillion dollars, 1.5 trillion dollars. Nevertheless, more infrastructure spending was promised. He loudly and proudly pledged that he would “build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports and airports that our country deserves.”

Democrats agree with that, and the House should pass an infrastructure bill for the needs most obvious to many Americans: roads, bridges, tunnels, and the like—the stuff that Donald Trump said that he was going to improve. Such a law would produce many benefits: It would show actual governing; it would improve the everyday lives of many, it would further commerce and, therefore, the economy. This is a no-brainer–is there anyone who does not think we need such infrastructure improvement?

The House, however, should not stop at the traditional hard-hat areas. Our power grid was largely built fifty or more years ago, and many have said that it is not adequate for the twenty-first century—indeed that it poses national security risks. I don’t know if that is true, but I am willing to bet that many (most?) in Congress don’t know either.

Legislative hearings can serve purposes other than trying to score political points. They can collect information about problems and can suggest workable ideas that can be turned into legislation that would ameliorate the problems. Good hearings about our aging power grid might accomplish such things. At a minimum, the hearings could help educate Congress and the country and have the added political bonus of showing that the Democrats are truly interested in governing and helping the country. From the information and proposals garnered from such hearings, the House should pass a bill that would improve our power grid.

(continued January 4)


When a new ache or pain hits, I tend to say, “It’s hard getting old.” But I have been old for quite a while. Even so, I don’t say, “It’s hard being old.”


The sports announcers say that a team has not been “mathematically eliminated.” Are teams ever non-mathematically eliminated?


A machine on the men’s room wall in a theater had two dispensing slots. The left one said, “Napkin: Free.” The right one said, “Tampon: Free.” I tried them. Neither side worked.


At the urinals of a successful Broadway play, a man to my right spoke. It takes me a beat to realize that he was not talking to himself. His ‘free’ hand was holding a phone to his ear. I heard him say, “I auditioned yesterday.” I looked over at an ordinary looking young man.  He continues, “It wasn’t a big part.” Pause. “It was a bartender.” Pause. “He is basically the best friend of the main character.” Pause. “I will talk to you later, Mom.”


A lot of women on the cable news channels are attractive. I don’t assume that they are airheads just because they are good looking. Attractive people can be knowledgeable. However, when I see a less-than-attractive woman presenting news, I do assume that she really knows her stuff.


“But he knew that she would not accept criticism from him; she was an American woman, and an American woman always knew best.” Paul Bowles, The Spider’s House.


As I was waiting for a prescription to be filled, a twenty-something woman made some purchases and asked Rose behind the counter, “Do you sell toilet brushes?” Rose said that the store did not. The young woman continued, “Do you know where I might buy one around here?” Rose shook her head. I then suggested a hardware store a few blocks away. The woman thanked me and said, “My parents are coming tomorrow. . . . They have high standards.”


“But as Ram Das once said, if you think you’re enlightened, go spend a weekend with your parents.” Jill Stein, West of Eden: An American Place.


Two thoughts for the coming year:

“A practical man is a man who practices the errors of his                                    forefathers.” Benjamin Disraeli


“Nothing is so useless as a general maxim.” Thomas Babington                           Macaulay

First Sentences

“James Reyburn, a fifty-year-old Wall Street lawyer and cotton broker who was widely admired for his good works and infectious good humor, had a premonition that he would die of cholera.” Benjamin Miller, Fat of the Land: Garbage of New York: The Last Two Hundred Years.

“The scalloped hem of Caterina Lazzari’s blue velvet coat grazed the fresh-fallen snow, leaving a pale pink path on the bricks as she walked across the empty piazza.” Adriana Trigiani, The Shoemaker’s Wife.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto.

“District Attorney Varga was conducting the prosecution in the Reis trial, which had been going for almost a month and would have dragged on for at least two more, when, one mild May night, after ten and not later than twelve, according to various testimony and the autopsy, they killed him.” Leonardo Sciascia, Equal Danger.

“One of the things that happens when you get older is that you discover lots of new ways to hurt yourself.” Bill Bryson, The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain. (Library)

“There was going to be a funeral.” Alan Conway, Magpie Murders: An Atticus Pünd Mystery.

“Four hundred million years ago, dragonflies the size of crows drifted above a giant inland sea.” Eliza Griswold, Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America.

“Alfred Russel Wallace stood on the quarterdeck of a burning ship, seven hundred miles off the coast of Bermuda, the planks heating beneath his feet, yellow smoke curling up through the cracks.” Kirk Wallace Johnson, The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century.

“It was the smell that Mrs. Powell noticed first.” Minette Walters, The Echo.

“I wasn’t prepared to meet a condemned man.” Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

DSK–Polish Christmas Edition

A patron said that he was from Poland and asked where Aga was. The bartender replied that Aga had left DSK months ago, and he did not know where she had gone. The patron no doubt was interested in Aga because she, too, had been born in Poland. Aga, who worked at DSK when I first started going to the biergarten, struck me as different from the other servers who were not born in the United States. She seemed a bit older, her accent thicker, her English less good, her education less extensive than the others. She struck me as of a lower class than the others and less ambitious; she did not seem to have another career in mind as other servers did. Although I talked with her frequently, I don’t remember much from our conversations except for one last December.

She told me her son was getting excited about Christmas, but it quickly became apparent that the mother, too, was looking forward to the holiday. She told me that she was going to have a traditional Polish Christmas with her boyfriend. I had met him only once. Big and burly, clichés of Middle European thugs came to mind. But then I found he had the gentlest handshake, a twinkle in his smile, and a soft, soft voice. Aga said he doted on her son, and another staff member later told me that he was a Polish bear—a Polish teddy bear.

I realized that I knew nothing about the traditional Polish Christmas celebration. I was a bit surprised because I believe that if you live in New York for a while, you begin to take on new ethnic colorations. Thus, in some sense all true New Yorkers are a bit Jewish. You absorb some of the religious practices, Yiddish phrases, the rhythm of speech, the humor, the foods of Jewish people. And, similarly, a true New Yorker is at least part Irish, part Chinese, part Italian and has absorbed, aware of it or not, some southern gospel background.

This was not true, however, at least for me, with Poles who, after all, do not have as large a footprint in the City as other groups. I asked her about the Polish Christmas celebration. She told me that in the Polish countryside, hay was spread under the dining table to symbolize the manger Jesus was laid in, but Aga and her boyfriend were not doing that. They were, however, going to have the Christmas Eve feast of many dishes that started with eating something like a communion wafer. She said that carp was often served. I asked if this was similar to the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner of the misnamed seven fishes—misnamed because while all the courses are seafood, all are not fish. Italian food and clams always go together, as they do when honoring the birth of Jesus. Aga said that the Polish celebration was not the same. They did have carp and maybe some other fish, but all the courses, while meatless, were not seafood. Poles gotta have borscht, and they do when honoring the birth of Jesus. And they do not restrict themselves to a paltry seven courses; they have twelve. After the feast, presents are opened, and, traditionally, people go off to bed early to be ready for early morning mass. She told me that the dinner on Christmas was not meatless, but it was not as important as the meal the evening before.

I asked how long it took her to make the twelve courses. She laughed and said that she didn’t. Delis in the central part of Brooklyn where she lived sold many of the Christmas dishes that would be served. I got the name of the place she went, but like many other things, I have forgotten it. But the evening sounded incredible to me and made our family’s traditional Christmas celebration seem a bit scanty.


RELATED POST: https://ameliasdad.blog/?s=DSK

City for Sale–Lessons, Parallels, Ironies (concluded)

If there is a hero to the 30-year old book City for Sale, it is Rudy Giuliani. The authors say about him: “The deepest passion of this priestly prosecutor was apprehending crooked politicians [emphasis added], an achievement that gave him a richer sense of satisfaction than even catching drug traffickers, financial finaglers, and Mafia godfathers. ‘I don’t think there is anybody worse than a public official who sells his office and corrupts others,’ Giuliani once said, ‘except maybe a murderer.’ He had a moral comprehension of why political corruption subverted democracy and injured the commonweal. Giuliani regarded corrupt public officials the way Robert Kennedy thought of Jimmy Hoffa; the outrage was personal.”

The government officials, friends, and family around Trump today may not take the kinds of kickbacks Giuliani zealously prosecuted, but I wonder if the former U.S. Attorney ever thinks about the possibilities of the president and cabinet and other high officials using their offices to further enrich themselves. (I say “further” because all of them already seem to be fantastically rich.) Does he think that what happened in New York three decades ago injured the commonweal, but what may be going on around him currently does not? If so, how does he justify his conclusion?

Giuliani, however, continues to show personal outrage, but now his targets are not the office holders. His targets are those who are much like what he used to be, people seeking to find out whether government officials, politicians, and Trump friends and family have entangled themselves with foreign governments. His targets are people, like the Giuliani of the seeking, seeking to determine who may have sought access and political favors after donating or spending money that has aided Trump interests; who has lied about what they have done; who may have sought to obstruct justice and corrupt our electoral system.

And there is Giuliani himself. At least in one way he has remained consistent. Murder is worse than political corruption. Except now, apparently, political corruption is not so bad. He said about Michael Cohen’s corrupt actions that implicate the president, “Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed. . . . This was not a big crime.”

Certainly, Giuliani now thinks that advancing private business interests can go hand-in-hand with being the president’s lawyer. He was recently in Bahrain meeting the king and the interior minister. In Bahrain Giuliani was described as leading a “high-level U.S. delegation,” but he was not there performing official duties. He instead was seeking a lucrative contract for a firm he owns, Giuliani Security and Safety, part of a worldwide effort he has been making to get the firm more business. This may not be illegal since Giuliani is not a government official, but the odds are strong that at least some of the foreign officials will think it wise to hire Giuliani Security to stay in Trump’s good graces.

Thirty years seems to me as both a long time and but a blink. The Trump of today seems to be, to put it nicely, the same ethically-challenged Trump who appears in City for Sale. But for Giuliani, those three decades have been enough to bring an apparent reversal of ethical and legal standards.

City for Sale–Lessons, Parallels, Ironies (continued)

Trump is a minor character in the 1988 book City for Sale chronicling New York City corruption under Mayor Ed Koch, but his limited appearances are revealing. Even back then, Trump had close advisors who had conflicts of interest. In the late 1970s, Trump was seeking his first Manhattan real estate deal by converting an aged 42d Street hotel into what would become the Grand Hyatt. Trump turned for assistance to lawyer Roy Cohn, who had first gained national publicity as an aide to Joe McCarthy during the height of “McCarthyism.” Cohn approached Stanley Friedman, a deputy mayor under Abe Beame, the mayor before Koch. Friedman was also the Democratic political leader of the Bronx. Cohn promised Friedman a partnership in Cohn’s firm at the end of Beame’s tenure, which Friedman accepted. Friedman then “frantically forced city bureaucrats to tie together all the loose ends of a package for Cohn client Donald Trump’s renovation of the old Commodore Hotel on 42d Street.” Tax abatements had not previously been granted real estate projects unless financing for the deal was in place, but Trump got an unprecedented forty-two-year tax abatement to convert the Commodore into the Grand Hyatt without having first secured financing. This gave “Trump the largest tax write-off in city history.” In addition, Trump got a permit for the new hotel’s Garden Room to overhang 42d Street. “Trump, largely because of the success of this deal, would become one of Cohn and Friedman’s prize clients.”

Of course, many have noticed the irony when Trump, who had Roy Cohn as lawyer and mentor, labeling the Mueller investigation as “McCarthyism.” Trump’s recent invective, however, had a Koch parallel from thirty years ago. Daily News reporter Marcia Kramer started breaking seamy stories about Bess Myerson, Koch’s friend (who had been Miss America) and a commissioner in Koch’s administration, Andy Capasso, who was Myerson’s lover, and Judge Hortense Gabel, who was judicially involved with Capasso’s messy divorce. When Kramer reported that Myerson had befriended Gabel’s troubled daughter and hired the daughter for a city position while the mother was making rulings favorable to Capasso, Koch labeled the stories “McCarthyism.” Kramer labored on because she “understood Koch well enough to interpret his lashing out with invective like ‘McCarthyism’ to mean that she had struck a nerve and was on the right track.”

The reporter had to feel a certain justification the next year when the U.S. Attorney indicted Myerson, Capasso, and Gabel. Newfield and Barrett state, “The basic facts outlined by the indictment were in the stories published by the Daily News in May and June 1986, which the mayor had deplored as ‘McCarthyism’.” Oh, and who was that U.S. Attorney? The present mouthpiece for Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani was not only aware of Trump back then but also of some of the future president’s shady deals. During Koch’s three terms as mayor, Giuliani’s office indicted Stanley Friedman, and Rudy personally tried the case. Friedman took the stand, and in what turned out to be a blistering cross-examination, Giuliani started by asking Friedman “about the excessive hotel tax abatement package he’d put together for Donald Trump, and his subsequent representation of Trump.” Although I can’t be sure, I doubt that Trump and Giuliani swap stories about their interactions with Friedman, who was convicted of getting kickbacks for rigging contracts with New York City and spent four years in prison. (Friedman appealed unsuccessfully. His appellate lawyer—Alan Dershowitz.)

But I do wonder if Giuliani ever wants to say something to the president about normal, or at least Rudy’s, prosecutorial tactics. As I write this, Trump and Fox news are trying to dismiss anything said by Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer until recently, because Cohen has admitted to lying. Meanwhile, Cohen and others the president is trying to denigrate are hoping to get reduced sentences for crimes they have admitted by giving information to the prosecutor. In perhaps every trial described in City for Sale that was prosecuted by Giuliani’s office, the prosecution presented witnesses who both were proven liars and who hoped to get reduced sentences for their cooperation. But my guess is that Rudy never mentions such inconvenient facts to Donald. And when complaints come that the FBI or Mueller have used abusive investigative techniques, I doubt that Giuliani says, “Oh, that’s nothing. Remember the Stanley Friedman trial? Remember that I bugged the defense attorney Tom Puccio even though he was my friend and a former prosecutor. Now that was hardball!” (Eavesdropping revealed nothing untoward on Puccio’s part.)

Concluded December 21)

City for Sale–Lessons, Parallels, Ironies

I recently read a book published in 1988, City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York, by Jack Newfield and Wayne Barrett, who were investigative reporters of that time. Koch was New York Mayor from January 1, 1979, through December 31, 1989, and the book is about the corruption, mostly from machine politicians, in New York City during the time of Koch’s administration. Koch first ran as a reformer and an anti-political machine candidate, but after he was elected, while making a failed attempt to become governor, he turned to the machines for support and then became allied with them.

The thesis is not the Koch was corrupt in the sense of seeking money, but in seeking to maintain political power, he turned a blind eye or was willfully ignorant of the corruption around him. The authors conclude: “Ed Koch’s tragic flaw had been a desire for power, not money. He became the mayor who didn’t want to know. Admiring his own performance, he didn’t notice anyone else’s. While he had been gazing into the mirror, his city had been for sale.”

The book was enjoyable to me partly to read about people whom I had not thought about for a long time, like Donald Manes, Meade Esposito, Stanley Friedman, Mario Biaggi, and so on. It was surprising to come across colleagues and friends who, unbeknownst to me, had had peripheral, noncorrupt roles in the scandals. It was almost nostalgic to revisit times when headlines and news reports were dominated by the bizarre plots and maneuverings of local politicians instead of the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up of the national politics of today. City for Sale, however, was also interesting for present-day lessons, parallels, and ironies.

The two authors, both of whom worked for the Village Voice during most of the chronicled events, drew heavily on their own investigative reporting but also utilized reports by many others who worked for the daily newspapers and local television stations. This made me wonder who today would cover comparable corruption stories since newspapers are disappearing and investigative budgets have dwindled. This could be as good a time as any to be corrupt, at least if it is kept local and does not attract national attention.

Although they came to office decades apart, I find parallels between Mayor Koch and President Trump. Koch was obsessed with the media and from early in his career looked for his name in the papers every day and sought to learn whether radio and TV had mentioned him. And he was good copy. “Koch had both a mastery of and an infatuation with the media. . . . Koch bombarded the public with foreign policy pronouncements, restaurant recommendations, opinions on pending court cases, and burlesque put-downs of his critics as wackos and kooks—all delivered in perfect, pithy, thirty-second sound bites for radio and television.” Twitter did not exist then, but if he could master the sound bite, surely Koch would have mastered twitter. Trump, who was coming of business age in New York during this time, must have envied Koch’s frequent domination of the media. But the parallel between Koch and Trump is not complete. Koch did seek the limelight constantly, but he also seemed to have some interest in actual governing.

(continued December 19.)