Friday, December 26, 2008

The goo-goos: An unexpected revival?

Paul Krugman today writes about the need for Obama to be a goo-goo, which he defines as:
Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage.
The term hadn't really passed out of usage, I suppose, since Mike Royko continued to use it, but it has always had a 19th c. feel to it. It's classic English naming / word formation in various ways — originally dismissive, but turned around by the good government folks, if incompletely. And it's a nice kind of reduplication — almost a cropping, but with phonotactically better with the tense vowels.

Besides, I'm intrigued by the historical comparisons Obama is drawing — Lincoln's approach to a cabinet, FDR's bold effort to save the economy, Kennedy's inspiration for a new generation. Man, talk about high expectations.

Image from here.

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