I am speaking in Tucson Thursday night

Political slang used to be a lot more fun.  In the days of the big-city political machines, Progressives who fancied themselves advocates of “good government” were called Goo Goos.

One of the main targets of the Goo Goos was the patron-client system that kept the political establishment working.  They considered it corrupt, because people went along with the party not because they agreed with its policies, but because they received material rewards for doing so.

The irony is that although the Goo Goos partially dismantled the old patron-client system, they set up another in its place, on a national scale, with politically-connected interest groups instead of ward bosses in control.

Like the old patronage system, the new one rewards fat cats who cooperate with the system, for example ideologically correct businesses (think Solyndra) and labor organizations (think government employee unions).

What about the not-so-fat cats?  The old system disbursed Thanksgiving turkeys and patronage jobs to cooperators who weren’t well off.  The new one promises them welfare.

If there has to be a patronage system – it’s an ancient model of government – I prefer the old one.

Tomorrow:  Pining for Mordor