Paul Krugman’s column in the Times today calls for the Obama administration to both grow and cleanse the government, noting that this will need to be done with little margin for error.

Before Mr. Obama can make government cool, however, he has to make it good. Indeed, he has to be a goo-goo.

Goo-goo, in case you’re wondering, is a century-old term for “good government” types, reformers opposed to corruption and patronage. Franklin Roosevelt was a goo-goo extraordinaire. He simultaneously made government much bigger and much cleaner. Mr. Obama needs to do the same thing.


Like the New Deal, the incoming administration must greatly expand the role of government to rescue an ailing economy. But also like the New Deal, the Obama team faces political opponents who will seize on any signs of corruption or abuse — or invent them, if necessary — in an attempt to discredit the administration’s program.

I have little to add, as I think Krugman hits the nail on the head here.  I wanted to share this now so that, when the GOP shrieks about corruption in the upcoming months/years, we’ll have a reference point for it.

The government, of course, is all about preserving and furthering the common good.  Some people can’t get the notion that there may be a group of people capable of doing good things for others while working together.  And when they see it, it’s going to take a lot of work for them to appreciate it.