Rudalevige on Government Shutdown (Huffington Post)

Andrew Rudalevige

Andrew Rudalevige

The Huffington Post consulted Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government Andrew Rudalevige for his perspective on next week’s possible government shutdown. Journalist Dan Froomkin writes:

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.”

The article continues:

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.


  1. John Curtiss '74 says:

    That seems a little unfair. Republicans, or at least the Tea Party members, want government to operate. The difference between their position and the liberal position is that they want it to operate WITHIN ITS MEANS. It seems that it has been impossible under this administration to get anyone’s attention focused on the grave fiscal road we are on. I think Prof. Rudalevige is right, Congress’ main job IS to make sure the government operates and is stable. It seems to me the Conservative side is trying to insure some stability, while this liberal administration is content to continue to raise the debt limit with no concern about the long-term consequences.

  2. Ron Straight '54 says:

    I stand with John on this one. To suggest that the Republicans are at fault is very biased.

    A larger governmental question exists for me: – how can Obama allow exemptions for individuals, groups, and members of congress from participating in Obama Care? I feel that it is very poor policy to allow members of Congress to be exempt from laws that they exact on the rest of us.

  3. Thomas Marshall says:

    In this latest Government shutdown over “Obamacare”, it seems that Congress has forgotten its purpose to address other important issues in addition to fiscal such as immigration reform, transportation infrastructure, gun control, and job creation. The Obama administration inherited a huge budget deficit from the previous administrations and has already reduced the deficit substantially not that it should be reduced much further. The problem I have with Congress is the extreme right agenda simply wants to eliminate the Federal Government. Also, allied with that is their extreme social agenda of controlling women’s health, no gun control, and tax cuts for the top earners. To govern by fiscal crisis will upset the nation’s economic recovery and the uncertainty will dampen people’s confidence curtailing growth.

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