Soon-to-be former White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain has a message for the American political class: “This this this this,” he feverishly wrote. To emphasize his fervid tween passions, one of the most powerful men in Washington garnished this endorsement with no fewer than four “down-pointing backhand” emojis aimed at a quoted tweet from Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell. All this apparently necessary to popularize what has become a rote observation among Democratic partisans, some of whom maintain that the congressional Republicans using their leverage to secure a deal on federal spending are “hostage takers.”

“Pundits keep urging Dems to ‘just negotiate’ with Republicans to prevent a US default,” read the tweet that caught Klain’s eye. “I think rewarding hostage-taking is a terrible idea for other reasons, but even if Dems agreed to pay a ransom… is there any ransom R’s would actually accept??”

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