Why Does Washington Love House of Cards So Much?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Feb. 21 2014 11:29 AM

The You're No Frank Underwood Gabfest

Listen to Slate's show about the uprising in Kiev, a failed unionization in Tennessee, and Season 2 of House of Cards.

Become a fan of the Political Gabfest on Facebook. We post to the Facebook page throughout the week, so keep the conversation going by joining us there. Or follow us @SlateGabfest!

To listen to the discussion, use the player below:


We'll be live at Sixth & I in Washington on March 6! Tickets.

And the Audio Book Club will be live in Seattle on Feb. 27. Special guest Hugh Howey will join Slate's Dan Kois and Hanna Rosin to discuss Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. Tickets.

On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, David Plotz, and special guest Will Dobson discuss why Ukrainians are rioting, why Volkswagen employees rejected the United Automobile Workers, and why everyone in Washington is watching House of Cards.

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

  • At least 67 people had died by Thursday as a result of anti-government protests in Kiev, Ukraine. These photos show the extent of the chaos.
  • Since we taped, the leading parties in Kiev have signed an agreement aimed at defusing the situation. It calls for early presidential elections.
  • Will says there’s a reason he didn’t include Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in The Dictator's Learning Curve, his 2012 book about smart dictators.
  • From President Vladimir Putin’s point of view, Ukraine is essentially a province of Russia, Julia Ioffe writes in the New Republic.
  • Joshua Keating writes in Slate that a civil war In Ukraine is unlikely but not impossible.
  • Economists refer to today's unemployed young people as a “lost generation.”
  • Workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee rejected a proposal to join the United Automobile Workers. One reason the union lost: Workers were suspicious of it.
  • In his book The Meat Racket, Chris Leonard argues that farming used to be a career that supplied a living wage and land ownership, but it’s now a janitorial job.
  • Netflix released the second season of House of Cards on Valentine’s Day.
  • Obama has said he wishes Washington worked more like House of Cards.

Emily chatters about the NFL's investigation of the Miami Dolphins’ bullying culture.

John chatters about Obama dropping a request to change how cost-of-living increases are formulated—he says it’s proof that budget brinksmanship is over.

David chatters about a push to increase corporal punishment in Kansas.

This week’s credits are in the style of a good cop–bad cop interrogation.

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 staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and 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.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

The Ludicrous Claims You’ll Hear at This Company’s “Egg Freezing Parties”

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Syria’s “Moderate” Rebels Are Realizing That U.S. Airstrikes Help Bashar al-Assad, Not Them
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:43 AM “I Didn’t Want to Build the Next Twitter for Cats” Search funds are the quiet, dependable, risk-averse sibling to the startup. 
The Vault
Oct. 1 2014 10:49 AM James Meredith, Determined to Enroll at Ole Miss, Declares His Purpose in a 1961 Letter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 10:44 AM Everyone’s Favorite Bob’s Burgers Character Gets a Remix You Can Dance to
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.