Was Kennedy's Washington Really Less Dysfunctional Than Ours?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Nov. 22 2013 3:04 PM

Live From Brooklyn: The Ich Bin Ein Gabfester Gabfest

Listen to Slate's show about the Kennedy assassination and how the U.S. would be different if he'd lived.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss why the Kennedys still loom so large in the American imagination, what would have happened if JFK had lived, and whether JFK's Washington was more or less desirable than today's.

  • Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:"Ask not what your country can do for you," Kennedy said at his inauguration (but he may not have written that line).
  • Jackie Kennedy shaped her husband's legacy masterfully.
  • Jeff Greenfield's book If Kennedy Lived considers what would have happened in Vietnam, civil rights, the Cold War, and American politics if JFK hadn't been assassinated.
  • The majority of Americans believe Kennedy was killed in a conspiracy. Fred Kaplan writes that their theories don't stand up to scrutiny.

Emily chatters about the Supreme Court's decision not to hear a challenge to Texas's abortion law.

John chatters about his mother Nancy Dickerson's NBC broadcast of the return of Kennedy's casket.

David chatters about a video of a quick brown fox jumping over a lazy dog.

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.