Would Lincoln Have Done Between Two Ferns?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
March 14 2014 1:50 PM

The Between Two Ferns Gabfest

Listen to Slate’s show about the showdown between the Senate and the CIA, the Republican win in Florida-13, and Obama’s interview with Zach Galifianakis.

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To listen to the discussion, use the player below:


Slate’s new political interview podcast, Weigelcast, starts this Sunday! For the first episode, Dave Weigel will interview Howard Dean. You can find it in the iTunes Store.

On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss Sen. Dianne Feinstein's claims that the CIA spied on Senate staffers, what David Jolly’s victory in Florida means for midterm elections, and why Obama went between two ferns with Zach Galifianakis.

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

  • Feinstein has accused the CIA of spying on Senate staffers who are investigating the CIA. Here’s a Q&A explaining the complicated backstory.
  • John says this is not just a predictable fight between two branches of government as anticipated by the Framers.
  • CIA agents fear they’re going to be punished for using interrogation tactics that they were ordered to use—a situation that reminds Emily of the Zero Dark Thirty line ”Don’t be the last person left holding the dog collar.”
  • Until now, Feinstein has been a huge apologist for intelligence agencies.
  • Our Audible recommendation this week was The Tin Princess by Phillip Pullman.
  • Republican David Jolly won the special election in Florida’s 13th District this week; Democrat Alex Sink had been favored to win, and some people see this as a bad omen for Dems in the midterm elections.
  • Special elections aren’t predictive of anything.
  • Obamacare is hurting Democrats because Republicans are hurting Obamacare, Alec MacGillis writes in the New Republic.
  • Obama appeared on the Internet comedy show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis to plug for healthcare.gov. It worked.
  • Bill O’Reilly says Obama’s appearance on the show was a disgrace—Lincoln would never have done it. He's wrong.

Emily chatters about a father who sued to be in the delivery room when his child was born.
John chatters about Kevin Cook’s new book debunking some of the myths about Kitty Genovese’s murder.
David chatters about the feud between Provincetown and Plymouth over where the Pilgrims landed first.

Listener Daniel Westreich wrote this week’s credits, which were in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet.

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 was a Slate senior editor from 2005 to 2014. 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.



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