The Gabfest on Bowe Bergdahl and executive power, Obama’s last attempt to combat climate change, and whether Thad Cochran can hold on to his Senate seat in Mississippi.

Should Obama Bypass Congress on Carbon Emissions?

Should Obama Bypass Congress on Carbon Emissions?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
June 6 2014 11:19 AM

The Go Ahead, Negotiate With Terrorists Gabfest

Listen to Slate's show about the deal with the Taliban to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the EPA's new emissions regulations, and the bizarre runoff in Mississippi's GOP Senate primary.

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On this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, David interviewed Slate editor Will Dobson about the legacy of Tiananmen Square on the 25th anniversary of the protests and subsequent massacre there. Slate Plus members get an ad-free version of this podcast with bonus segments. Visit and try it free for two weeks.

On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, discuss Bowe Bergdahl and the enduring legal and moral difficulties of Guantanamo, the Obama administration’s last stab at combating climate change, and Mississippi's GOP Senate primary.

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

  • The release of the last American prisoner of war in exchange for five Taliban leaders has sparked a national debate about Obama’s executive power, Guantanamo Bay, and the nature of the military’s “leave no man behind” ethos.
  • Emily wrote that Obama’s decision to act without congressional notification represents executive overreach.
  • Many have compared the Bergdahl deal with Israel’s 2011 decision to release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for Israeli POW Gilad Shalit.
  • John cites William Manchester’s The Glory and the Dream as a reference for the friction that occurs when members of the military speak out against politicians.
  • The Supreme Court has upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate harmful emissions under the Clean Air Act.
  • Each state is subject to different emissions cuts under the proposed EPA regulations.
  • Josh Voorhees wrote about the Obama administration’s tactic to use public health as a weapon to shift perspectives on the immediate effects of climate change.
  • John wrote about why Mississippi is the first real fight of this primary season between an entrenched, older GOP senator and a young Tea Party candidate.
  • In 2014 races, Democrats are trying to turn voters’ attention to local issues.

David chatters about the New York Times' story on Xiao Jianhua, who was president of the student body at Peking University during the Tiananmen Square protests.

Emily chatters about the controversial cyberbullying law in Albany County, New York.

John chatters about Leonardo da Vinci’s resume and cover letter.

This week’s credits were in the style of a Belmont Stakes horse-race caller.

David is working on a podcast project about jobs and wants to interview people with interesting occupations, particularly in the service industries. If you think you can speak engagingly about the work you do, email the Political Gabfest at

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

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Max Tani.