Ed Koch vs. Al D’amato

Jennifer Senior: Let’s start with everyone’s favorite summer topic: Gary Condit. When I was a young reporter on Capitol Hill, it was certainly my impression that plenty of congressmen stray.

Ed Koch: I don’t think that’s true. I was there for nine years. Some members engaged in sleazy behavior, but the vast majority went home at night. Washington, D.C., is not a bacchanal.

J.S.: Should Condit resign?

Al D’Amato: Of course. He’s a total lowlife. It has nothing to do with whether he’s had sex with this young lady or not. But repeatedly lying, and then attempting to get someone else to lie –

Ed: He’s not worthy of being a congressman.

J.S.: On to more pious men, then. Bush met with the pope last week. What nickname do you think he got?

Al: Pain in the stem cells?

Ed: Papa?

J.S.: During W.’s last trip, the press seemed to delight in noting how many Europeans think he’s a moron.

Ed: I think he’s handled himself very well. And now what’s so extraordinary is you have all these European leaders saying, “Isn’t it terrible about the missile shield?” but Putin is saying, “Why don’t we sit down and talk about it?”

Al: And who’s leading the European opposition? The French. The one country that wouldn’t let our planes fly over it when we went after that son-of-a-gun in Libya. The French are the leaders of nothing more than pastry, I mean really, pastry

Ed: I prefer Italian pastry, Al.

Al: Ed, I have to tell ya, Mama agrees with you.

J.S.: Maybe we should move on to more parochial matters, like city politics.

Al: Listen – the next mayor of New York? Mark Green.

Ed: I don’t think so.

Al: He has run the best campaign by far. I’ve had my clashes with him, but he’s bright and he works harder than the other three Democratic candidates combined. I think he wins 40 percent, without a runoff.

Ed: I don’t think he can avoid a runoff, and I don’t think he’s gonna win one. Here’s my thumbnail sketch: Green is the most radical. If you want Lindsay revisited with a little Nader thrown in, he’s your guy. In Freddy Ferrer, you’ve got someone who believes in class warfare and wants to raise taxes. Hevesi has said he’s for paying reparations to African-Americans for slavery –

Al: He said that? Where the hell does someone running for mayor get off saying we should pay reparations for slavery? If that’s not pandering, I don’t know what is.

Ed: He’s doing so badly with blacks, this is his way of trying to reach them. I’m supporting Peter Vallone. He is totally without charisma, but he knows how to make decisions, and he’s the one who represents the city best, if you believe that encouraging middle-class values is what this city wants. I’m hopeful he’s going to win.

Al: Notice what my friend said. Hopeful.

J.S.: None of the Democratic candidates seems to be able to articulate an interesting vision for New York in 2001.

Al: The only candidate who’s taken on anything of substance in the past week, and it’s not the same tired crap – I mean, we all want better schools – is Mark Green.

Ed: I detect that you’re becoming a supporter.

Al: I’ll tell you why. He’s done something Rudy has failed to do. He said, “Let’s expand the Javits Center.”

Ed: Al, everybody wants to expand the Javits Center.

Al: But he’s the only one who came out and said it.

J.S.: I know he’s one of your employers, but why do you think, after spending $8.1 million, that Michael Bloomberg is barely an asterisk in the polls?

Ed: Let me tell you the problem with Bloomberg. He’s a very able administrator, but he has a tin ear. Al?

Al: Shrugs. I think when you have 22 consultants, you get in trouble.

J.S.: That was brave of both of you. On to Rudy. What should he do with his last five months? Other than go to Yankees games.

Al: Improve his golf game.

Ed: Actually, he’s improved as mayor.

J.S.: Really?

Ed: Yes. Because he’s said less. D’Amato laughs.

J.S.: Speaking of golf, Bill Clinton opens his doors in Harlem on July 30.

Al: Bill cheats at golf. I mean, one mulligan, yes. A breakfast ball, okay. A lunch ball, okay. But Bill: Stop it. The caddies are talking.

Ed Koch vs. Al D’amato