Slate’s Political Gabfest visited Purdue to record their live podcast on Wednesday, April 18, in University Church.
The Gabfest, led by David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and John Dickerson, came to campus to discuss the upcoming election, the growing concern over the Israel and Iran conflict, and their opinions on HBO’s newest political comedy, Veep.
Plotz, Slate Editor, introduced Gabfest, describing it to be a discussion-based podcast focused on political topics.
The first topic discussed between Plotz, Bazelon, and Dickerson was the results of a recent presidential poll from CBS. All commentators agreed the polls proved the expected 50/50 split between Mitt Romney and President Obama.
Dickerson, Slate’s chief political correspondent, claimed Obama’s current presidential status as a weakness.
“He will always be the better campaigner, but he has the problem of the fact that by a 50 to 40 margin, people disapprove of the way he has handled the economy,” he said. “You can’t sell hope, wonder, and these magnificent things that are going to happen, because they didn’t.”
Bazelon, a senior editor at Slate, agreed with Dickenson that the Republican Party is strong, but mainly because of the party’s outlook.
“Electability is the product of everything, and the Republicans have enthusiasm on their side,” she said.
The team continued with a discussion on the conflict between Iran and Israel, in which Plotz claimed to be even more pressing than the current state of the presidential election.
“It is something where, unlike some of the silly season fights of the presidential campaign, makes a huge difference to the health of the world,” he said.
On to a lighter topic, the Gabfest hosts critiqued HBO’s newest political comedy, Veep. The show follows Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, as she braves her new position as Vice President of the United States.
Bazelon described the show to be very satirical, and she attributed the comedy to Meyer’s narcissism.
Dickerson claimed the show to be too far-fetched from a political office.
“There’s always something blowing up in this office, which doesn’t feel like real life,” he said. “As a piece of art, it’s badly done.”
Plotz compared Veep to past, and more serious, political shows, such as NBC’s The West Wing, that based on the country’s paranoia of political conflicts. He deduced Veep to be more focused on politicians’ obsession with their media appearances.
“This one is a very accurate portrayal of the political mood of today,” he said. “It’s an incredibly cynical and very funny show about people who can get nothing done.”
The show then moved on to Gabfest’s next segment, fondly known as “Cocktail Chatter” by the hosts. During “Cocktail Chatter” each commentator brings up one topic they have recently found interesting.
Bazelon discussed an interview with baseball player Steve Blass, while Dickerson commented in a recent discovery of an interesting Mona Lisa copy. Plotz finished up the chatter with a discussion of Purdue’s May 1960 mock political convention, in which students predicted John F. Kennedy’s presidential nomination.
The Political Gabfest concluded with a question-and-answer invitation for the audience.
Slate is an online political magazine, with daily articles that focus on current affairs, culture, art, and sports.
TIAA-CREF, a leading financial services firm and provider of Purdue employees’ retirement plans, sponsored this week’s podcast.
Written by Rebecca Courtney
Junior, Public Relations