Obama's Swerving Syria Policy. Also, the New York City Mayoral Primary and the Problem With Twerking Hoax Videos.

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Sept. 13 2013 12:37 PM

The Putin Ex Machina Gabfest

Listen to Slate's show about Obama's swerving Syria policy, the New York City mayoral primary, and a twerking hoax video.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss whether John Kerry's accidental Syria plan can work, and what that means for international law. They also discuss whether Bill de Blasio's victory in the New York City Democratic mayoral primary is a rejection of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his policies. Finally, they consider whether hoaxes like Jimmy Kimmel's twerking fail video are ruining the Internet for everyone.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:

  • Vladimir Putin rakes President Obama over the coals for promoting American exceptionalism in a New York Times op-ed.
  • If the Syria deal goes through, it will be a vindication of the force of international law, writes Emily.
  • A campaign ad for New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio starring the candidate's son highlights the differences between de Blasio and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • Sixty-one percent of New Yorkers say empathy is the most important quality for a new mayor, a New York Times-Siena College poll found.
  • The "Worst Twerk Fail EVER"—a YouTube video that went viral last week—was staged by Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel's prank illustrates everything that's wrong with viral marketing, Daniel Engber argues.

Emily chatters about Jason Isbell's song "Elephant" and his recent Fresh Air interview.

John chatters about NASA's Instagram of an airborne frog.

David wonders whether people whose own lives are a mess make better advice columnists. Weigh in on the Gabfest Facebook page!

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Rebecca Cohen.

Emily Bazelon is a Slate senior editor and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.