|David Conceals His Iron Gauntlet Under The Table|
The Slate Political Gabfest
Slate pod casts follow a basic formula: three speakers, three topics, two sponsors, and then some personal 'recommendations, endorsements, or topics for cocktail chatter' at the end that may have nothing to do with the pod cast's content. The Culture Fest covers topical cultural events. The Double-X Gabfest, issues presumed interesting to women, and so on.
The Political Gabfest covers topics related to the ongoing drama of giant squid's attempts to hide from submersible cameras which, they, feel, violate their right to privacy.
No, not really. It's about politics.
The cast is David Plotz (Editor of Slate), John Dickerson (Chief Political Correspondent), and Emily Bazelon (Legal expert). They tackle whatever the three meatiest topics from the previous week were (or sometimes throw in a bit of a nonsequitor if it's interesting enough).
The dynamic is fascinating to listen to with David ruling with his editorial iron fist, Dickerson generally explaining complex political maneuverings and trying to stay neutral while attempting to trick Emily into pronouncing the words 'Rosh Hashanah,' which, if she says them, return her to her home dimension.
Really, it's pretty good--it's current (unlike a bunch of the other political pod casts I've singled out which seem to update irregularly), and the combination of Emily's legal insight and John's years of experience and access to politicians (he was a White House correspondent for a long while), and David's editorial vision make it more than just an opinionated rant-fest or a summation of what happened for the last few days.
Of course these things are best when there's disagreement and other than some minor piling up on Emily Bazelon they rarely do (If you listen carefully, John Dickerson will try to 'play both sides' during a disagreement as though he really agrees with Emily but knows who the editor is!). If that's a draw back, it's a small one*: the podcast is by far my favorite of the lot of these both for style and content.
Politics: Left. The cast don't have any right-wing or even moderately right-wing voices amongst them. Maybe once in a while they could bring someone in gladiator style and do an on-air debate? That'd be fascinating.
Reliability: HIGH. The podcast is weekly, it doesn't skip. If they can't get someone, they'll bring in another Slate staffer. In an uncertain, uncaring world, where it's only you and your iPod you can get the Slate Political Gabfest. So long as the power holds out.
Rant: 1 out of 5 Stars. The Pod Cast isn't a radio show and it isn't a rant. If you're looking to get all fired up this won't help.
If you only have one slot for political listening from a weekly source it should be this one.
ALSO: They are doing an "extra" series of nightly shows each day of the Shutdown (unless they miss one--which maybe they did. It's lookin' like it to me). That, alone, is worth the price of admission.
* The banter is funny. It isn't really adversarial--but both the pod cast and the blog entry are funnier if we pretend they are.