Persuasive Encounters: Case Studies in Constructive Confrontation

By Gary C. Woodward | Go to book overview

7
"How Am I Doing?": Gorilla Politics in the Town Meetings of Ed Koch

A [Greenwich] Villager is a special kind of New Yorker. Anyone who chooses to live in the Village opts for the extremes of city life -- squalor and elegance; beauty and danger; stoop ball and art show. He also indicates that he enjoys the anarchy of city life -- an idea that appeals to more than dare admit it.1

Roger Rosenblatt

There are hundreds of tales about Ed Koch that have become part of the political folklore of New York City. Among the most-told tales is a simple story from the campaign trail, when Koch was seeking reelection as one of Manhattan's representatives in Congress. He had decided to take a walking tour with his friend Robert Morganthau, who was then running for district attorney. A reserved man, Morganthau had little experience as a campaigner and no taste for appealing to strangers for their support. He disliked bothering people for anything, including requests for their votes. No such reserve bothered Koch, who was only too happy to bring him along on a campaign trek that eventually ended up on a busy sidewalk near Bloomingdale's. Suddenly three young men from the Progressive Labor party appeared, clutching megaphones and shadowing the campaigners as they crossed Fifty-ninth Street in front of the store. "Here they come," they trumpeted to anyone who would listen, "the two war criminals." For reasons perhaps known only to themselves, these activists had identified Koch and Morganthau as part of a sinister plot against humanity. With his reluctant colleague in tow, Koch continued to ask for votes and greet supporters. "Me it doesn't bother," he later recalled. "Morganthau, if he could, would have jumped into

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Persuasive Encounters: Case Studies in Constructive Confrontation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Title Page *
  • 1 - The Politics of Confrontation: From John Lennon to Wendell Phillips 1
  • Notes 23
  • 2 - Persuasive Encounters: A Theoretical Overview 27
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - Edward Kennedy: Behind Enemy Lines 53
  • Notes 75
  • 4 - "This Just Might Do Nobody Any Good": Edward R. Murrow and the News Directors 77
  • Notes 96
  • 5 - The Theater of Conflict: "Donahue" in Russia 99
  • Notes 129
  • 6 - Thomas Szasz and the War against Coercive Psychiatry 133
  • Notes 159
  • 7 - "How Am I Doing?": Gorilla Politics in the Town Meetings of Ed Koch 163
  • Notes 185
  • Selected Bibliography 189
  • Index 193
  • About the Author *
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