Calling what Congress is doing hostage-taking isn’t really fair — to hostage-takers, said Andrew Rudalevige, a government professor at Bowdoin College. That’s because a criminal’s job is to take things and get away, and hostages can be a means to that end, he explained. By contrast, Congress’ main job “is making sure the government operates and is stable.” Therefore, Rudalevige concluded: “Hostage-takers are doing their job, however perverse that is, while the Congress is not.”
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Rudalevige said bargaining and negotiating are always part of the process. “But now you actually have people who affirmatively don’t want the government to operate,” he said.