Political patronage - awarding discretionary favors in exchange for political support - is alive and well in 21st century America. This book examines the little understood patronage system, showing how it is used by 'pinstripe' elites to subvert the democratic process. 'Pinstripe patronage' thrives on the billions of dollars distributed by government for the privatisation of public services. Martin and Susan Tolchin introduce us to government grants specified for the use of an individual, corporation, or community and 'hybrid agencies', with high salaries for top executives and board members. In return for this corporate welfare pinstipe partons giving politicians the ever-increasing funds needed to conduct their political campaigns. As budget cuts begin to bite, the authors argue that it is time to clamp down on the corrupt practice of pinstripe patronage.
“Here is a well-written, well-researched book that provides a solid understanding of the dynamics of the new style of patronage at the local, state, and national levels of government. Highly recommended.”
"The process of patronage--performing favors and offering lucrative positions or rewards to people who raise money or offer service--has always been a part of government, but not to the extent that it is in American politics today, argue the Tolchins in this fascinating exposé. Once defined by reliable blue-collar jobs and gifts of food to the poor, patronage has moved into the boardroom and grown exponentially in worth and influence. What's particularly troubling in an era of growing deficits and cries for "smaller government" is that responsibilities once undertaken by the state are being outsourced, often without bidding, to private companies with no oversight or qualification beyond their campaign contributions. The Tolchins have studied Washington for years and it shows in a thoughtfully researched exploration of a radically changing game. Though the authors acknowledge the pros and cons of their subject, they are surprisingly nonpartisan and free of judgment; they're not here to condemn, but rather to call for a return to transparency, and readers will likely be fascinated and frightened in equal measure, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum."
"Readers who follow politics, government, and campaign finance reform will enjoy this book. Recommended."
“Martin and Susan Tolchin literally wrote the book on old-style political patronage, and now they have brought their shrewd, wise, and jaunty view of how politics really works to the 21st century. Patronage isn’t dead. It’s just gone upscale. With zest and great reporting, Pinstripe Patronage tells you how it’s done, who benefits, and why it matters.”
—E. J. Dionne Jr., author of Why Americans Hate Politics and Souled Out
“Susan and Martin Tolchin—what a pair of academic and journalistic sleuths! Once again, they have produced a beautifully written, insightful, and important book on political payoffs, favoritism, and hush-hush money or jobs. And if it’s always been this way, then it’s about time it changed.”
—Marvin Kalb, Edward R. Murrow Professor Emeritus, Harvard University and former host of NBC’s Meet the Press
“The craft of combining academic scholarship and quality journalism has always been the hallmark of the Tolchins’ approach to their subjects—in this case the evolution of patronage in American politics from the ‘honest graft’ of Tammany in the early 20th century to Washington practices of contracting and outsourcing in the early 21st century. … It is a joy to find meticulous research blended with such skillful (often funny) story-telling.”
—Stephen Hess, Senior Fellow Emeritus, The Brookings Institution
“Martin and Susan Tolchin have once again proven that they are keen analysts of the American political scene. These gifted writers have blended anecdotes, historical documentation, and political theory with true artistry. This brilliant book deserves wide circulation.”
—Naomi B. Lynn, Chancellor Emeritus, University of Illinois–Springfield.
“What differentiates good patronage from bad patronage? Marty and Sue Tolchin’s book lays it all out for the interested voter.”
—Ed Koch, Former New York City mayor
Susan Tolchin quoted on NPR: "Transparency Sought For Fairfax County Donors"
Washington Post Book Review: "The Persistence of Political Patronage."
What differentiates good patronage from bad patronage? Marty and Sue Tolchin's book lays it all out for the interested voter.