The Gabfest on whether to call the cops if a kid is playing alone at a playground, the rise of political prejudice, and Hillary Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices.

Listen to the Year’s Best Political Gabfest Segments

Listen to the Year’s Best Political Gabfest Segments

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
Jan. 2 2015 10:04 AM

The “Year’s Best Gabfest” Edition

Listen to three of the best Gabfest segments from 2014.

The Political Gabfest has moved! Find new episodes here.


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:


Slate Plus members get an ad-free version of this podcast with bonus segments. Visit and try it free for two weeks.

This week’s Slate Political Gabfest features several of Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz’s favorite segments of 2014, including discussions of whether to call the cops if a kid is playing alone at a park, the rise of “partyism,” and Hillary Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices.

Here are some of the links to topics discussed on this week’s show:

  • Debra Harrell, a black single mother and McDonald’s employee, was arrested after leaving her child at a park during the workday. Previously, Harrell’s daughter spent her summer break surfing the Web at her mom’s work, but the family’s laptop was stolen during a break-in.
  • Instances of child abduction by strangers are extremely rare.
  • “Partyism,” or discrimination against someone based on their political beliefs, has increased tremendously over the last 40 years. In 2010, almost 50 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats responded that they’d be “displeased” if their son or daughter married someone from the opposite party, compared to 1960 where the numbers were 5 and 4 percent respectively.
  • As Ezra Klein points out, people who are the most politically engaged tend to be more partisan.
  • Most polls show that NASCAR fans tend to be more conservative, while soccer fans are easily more liberal.
  • John reviewed Hillary Clinton’s book Hard Choices, which he received in PDF format. Emily had a similar experience when reviewing Glen Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide.
  • Clinton’s politically cautious writing is a direct contrast to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.
  • John wrote about Clinton’s remark that she was “dead broke” after leaving the White House.
  • Amy Chozick has been assigned to the Clinton beat for the New York Times, and wrote about the first book signing of Clinton’s tour.
  • Using Time’s Political Memoir Generator, David generated names for the Gabfest hosts: Solemn Leadership, by David Plotz, A Mission to Defend, by Emily Bazelon, and The Authority to Decide, by John Dickerson.

In our single favorite cocktail chatter of the year, John tells the fascinating story of a crazy assasination attempt against Andrew Jackson.

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest.

Join the discussion of this episode on Facebook.

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 Maxwell Tani.