The Gabfest on Obama’s executive actions on immigration and deportations, Sen. Mary Landrieu’s failed attempt to get Senate approval of the Keystone pipeline, and whether Thanksgiving is a conservative or liberal holiday.

Is Thanksgiving a Liberal or Conservative Holiday?

Is Thanksgiving a Liberal or Conservative Holiday?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Nov. 21 2014 10:19 AM

The “Is Thanksgiving Red or Blue?” Edition

Listen to Slate’s show about Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the politics of the Keystone XL pipeline, and whether Thanksgiving is a conservative or liberal holiday.


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For this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, the hosts discuss the Thanksgiving foods you should be eating. 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 Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the Keystone XL pipeline’s political symbolism, and the political leanings of Thanksgiving.

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

  • Deportations spiked in the wake of 9/11 and the creation of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which began large-scale efforts to remove unauthorized immigrants from inside the U.S.
  • E.J. Dionne Jr. hypothesized that Obama’s actions on immigration aim to energize the Democratic voters who stayed home during the midterms.
  • Over the past several decades, presidents from both parties have taken actions to reform various immigration processes, including easing deportations for certain groups.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz opined that Obama’s actions on immigration are monarchical.
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu won less than 20 percent of white voters in the Louisiana Senate race early this month.
  • Though its construction would create thousands of temporary jobs, the Keystone XL pipeline would only generate 35 new permanent jobs.
  • Despite the Keystone pipeline’s relatively small role in environmental degradation, opposition groups have been very successful in transforming the pipeline into a symbol of the energy lobby’s power in Washington.
  • Jonathan Chait believes that there is little incentive for the GOP to cut a deal with Obama over Keystone’s approval.
  • A 2011 Harvard study found that celebrating the Fourth of July actually makes children more likely to vote Republican later in life.
  • In an effort to help retailers frustrated by a late Thanksgiving, in 1939, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week, enraging Republicans.
  • The most ceremonious Plotz family Thanksgiving tradition involves a lot of pies.

John chatters about Harold Holzer’s new book Lincoln and the Power of the Press.

Emily chatters about the end of wild fish.

David chatters about a nurse’s refusal to force-feed prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

For the credits, David speculated about what kinds of Thanksgiving foods each Gabfester would be.

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