Is Rand Paul the 2016 GOP Front-Runner?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
June 27 2014 12:36 PM

The “Get Your Hands Off My Cellphone, Officer” Edition

Listen to Slate's show about the Supreme Court’s cellphone privacy ruling, Thad Cochran’s win in Mississippi, and Rand Paul’s common ground with liberals.


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:


For this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, David asked Emily to share some behind-the-scenes details and complaints about the Supreme Court. 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 the Supreme Court’s cellphone privacy and recess appointment rulings, Mississippi’s GOP primary runoff and the value of the Tea Party–versus-establishment narrative, and Rand Paul’s chances in 2016.

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

  • The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that police cannot search an individual’s cellphone without a warrant.
  • Linda Greenhouse suggested that the Supreme Court’s decision was based partially on how the justices view the content of their own cellphones.
  • Walter Dellinger writes that because of recent cases that limited the exclusionary rule, the court can now enforce the Fourth Amendment more aggressively as it applies before searches.
  • In another unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that President Obama’s recess appointments were unconstitutional because the Senate was technically in session during the appointments.
  • The Senate’s filibuster rules have recently changed, requiring a simple majority to confirm executive and judicial nominees.
  • Sen. Thad Cochran won the Mississippi GOP primary runoff against Tea Party–backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
  • There’s a debate among political scientists and journalists about whether campaigns make a substantial difference in election outcomes.
  • Cochran was saved by black Democrats who were possibly swayed by McDaniel’s coded comments on race and promises to slash federal government spending.
  • Despite some primary losses, Tea Party representatives and sympathizers in the House are fighting the establishment GOP on legislative issues such as the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.
  • On Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul criticized former Vice President Dick Cheney’s handling of the war in Iraq and criticized the Bush administration for the power vacuum that allowed the militant group ISIS to grow.
  • Most Americans now feel that the U.S. should “mind its own business internationally.”
  • Although Paul is sponsoring a bill that would allow nonviolent ex-felons the right to vote, Republicans won’t support it because it would help Democrats in swing states.

John chatters about “The Great Tamale Incident.”

Emily chatters about the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision that a Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer-zone law is unconstitutional.

David chatters about why it’s occasionally OK to objectify World Cup athletes.

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 Alexis Diao. Links compiled by Max Tani.

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 Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories to the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
Oct. 22 2014 9:00 AM Wailing Against the Pansies: Homophobia in Whiplash
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 8:43 AM Thunderstruck: Rock Out With Mother Nature’s Evil Side
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.