The “Bomb Iran—We’ve Had a Bomb Iran Edition Before” Edition
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S2: Hello and welcome to the Slate Political Gabfest for January 9th twenty. The Bomb Iran edition. We’ve had a bomb Iran edition before. Actually, as I say that, we’ve done that before. I’m David Plotz of Atlas Obscura. I am in Washington, D.C., where I’m joined by no one but in New Haven, Connecticut, on the campus of Yale University. Emily balafon of The New York Times magazine. Hello, Emily.
S3: Hello. That was a Joe lined up. It seemed like something more exciting. I mean, you did it.
S4: Oh, well, I had exactly the same reaction I thought. She’s really reaching into deal. Faggotry.
S5: I was trying to think if I could think of something interesting to say about you after all these years, that I have nothing to say about you.
S6: Well, I mean, he used the word sinecure a couple of weeks ago and we all rain down on him with fury of a thousand suns.
S7: That voice back after a trip elsewhere to beyond. I don’t even know where you were, John. I think I’m about to find out is John DICKERSON of CBS 60 Minutes. Hello.
S8: Hi. I was on I was I was on break. I was in Tennessee and Utah place. Both places with mountains. What was the first place? I didn’t hear Tennessee. I was in Knoxville.
S9: I love it when John says Knoxville. There’s Knoxville, where the rest of us East Coast people say Knoxville don’t get a good Knoxville pronunciation. Welcome back. On today’s gabfests, are we at war with Iran? Are we about to be at war with Iran?
S7: Are we done with our war with Iran, then, the unsettled state of the Democratic primary race? Presidential race a month before voting starts? Then what is happening with the impeachment trial? Plus, we will, of course, have cocktail chatter. What what’s happening between the U.S. and Iran? So John just teased us with his presence there. He actually will be back for our later segments. He could not join us for the segment we’re about to jump into. We are joined by Suzanne Maloney, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an Iran expert. Suzanne, it’s been a nerve wracking week for Americans, probably for Iranians and for people throughout the Middle East. We had so many things have happened since we recorded since the drone strike that killed Kassim Lamani. But both sides seem to have de-escalate or seem to be de-escalating. So are we at war with Iran?
S10: Well, you could argue we’ve been at war with Iran in some way, shape or form, at least since the 1980s, perhaps dating back to the seizure of the embassy in November of 79. But we’re in a different phase, I think, of what has been a long conflict and often a war that only exists in the shadows. What we’re seeing now is much more akin to a conventional war. And at least a couple of days ago, it looked like it was about to morph into something that might be very reminiscent of the kind of conflicts that the United States has waged in Iraq and Afghanistan with such devastating consequence.
S11: Is this an actual de-escalation or is this just everyone sort of conveniently saying we’re just not going to do this right now, but check back with us in a month and we’ll be doing some damage here and there in some other fashion?
S10: Yeah, I I saw it described as the beginning of the end. I think we’re actually at the beginning of a new phase, which is going to be a long, ugly and unpredictable phase of conflict and confrontation with some quiet periods. But a lot of unpredictability about exactly where the next strike or when the next escalation will happen.
S9: What are potential options? What are the ways in which it could escalate from either side?
S10: Well, I mean, first and foremost, I think we’re going to see more trouble in Iraq. There’s an effort to try to push the United States out of Iraq. That is a objective of the Iranians. And now thanks to the fact that we didn’t bother to consult the Iraqis when we decided to take out a senior Iranian military commander on their territory, as well as an Iraqi militia leader.
S12: There’s a lot of unhappiness with our presence there. And I think it’s probably we’re on a road to a some kind of a drawdown of our presence, which will have real implications for the campaign to contain and deter any future resurgence of ISIS. It will have real implications for the stability of Iraq and the continuation of a government that can actually run the country. The Iranians will have lots of opportunities to push back against the United States and to try to retaliate without necessarily taking ownership in the way that they did on Wednesday with the missile strikes on U.S. military positions in Iraq. And that can happen almost anywhere across the region because they have proxies and assets. They’ve also struck over the course of history as far flung as Argentina, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Bulgaria.
S10: They have a lot of capability and it’s very far dispersed.
S1: I am worried about Iran pulling out completely of the nuclear accord from 2015. And I you know, you can trace this back to President Trump’s disavowal of that recall accord. And I wonder how much of this new, unsteady, unpredictable phase you attribute to that dynamic.
S12: I think it can be entirely traced to the decision in May of 2018 by President Trump to walk away from the deal, and even more so May of twenty nineteen when he decided to try to ratchet up pressure and bring Iranian oil revenues and exports down to zero.
S10: That was a bridge too far. It was something the Iranians couldn’t try to muddle or manage through. And we saw them turn almost on a dime from a kind of watchful waiting and trying to manage the situation to striking back in a very calibrated and incremental fashion to try to generate some diplomatic urgency. My own assessment is that the nuclear agreement, while the product of an enormous amount of work rightly contested on all sides and all parts of the world is on its last legs. It’s not going to be possible to return to status quo ante. And we’re more likely to face an urgent nuclear crisis with Iran than we are to actually get back into full compliance with that agreement.
S9: Do you think that Iran is going to conclude that it’s its major leverage in the region will be to have a.
S11: Your weapon, and so that’s going to be it’s going to really work on that development because it recognizes that the U.S. can’t be will not be a willing partner in allowing them to not have a nuclear weapon. So they might as well just go ahead and develop one.
S12: Well, I think that was the conclusion they made actually before the revolution was the show started, the Iranian nuclear program civilian at the time, but with an intent always toward something else. The Iranians mothballed it at the time of the revolution, but then very quickly reconstituted it. You’re not coincidentally because they were invaded by Saddam Hussein, who, of course, had his own nuclear weapons program. And so this is, I think, always been the Iranian assumption. They need the ultimate deterrent. They feel very much encircled by American allies and by hostile powers. And so there has been a really long term investment in these capabilities. The nuclear deal had the positive effect of putting some constraints on that, putting some brakes on that. But ultimately, it never really was going to change the Iranians mind in that investment. We’ve seen new intelligence coming out that suggests that, you know, the program is more advanced than we appreciated and that they may have continued working on the sorts of things they weren’t supposed to be working on.
S13: The thing I don’t understand about sanctions is so. So every time I’m a total lay person here, keep reading or we’re ratcheting up sanctions or ratchet up sanctions. How far can they be ratcheted? And is is the US’s position so dominant at least over the financial system, so dominant that the US can effectively choose to prevent anybody from doing any business at all with Iran? I mean, is is Iran in a situation where if the U.S. chooses, we can literally prevent them from exporting a drop of oil, importing, you know, anything of value to the country?
S12: Well, they’re always going to be able to engage in smuggling and barter trade and lots of other sort of creative means to get both their oil out and to get some necessary, essential products into the country. But the simple reality is that the U.S. does have a dominant position in the international financial system. The authorities that were put in place after 9/11, nothing to do with Iran originally were then turned toward dealing with proliferation as well as broader terrorist threats and apply to Iran in a really innovative and effective way. First, initially by the Bush administration with with real effect by the Obama administration. And there was a lot of doubt about whether we could go it alone under the Trump administration with the active opposition of all the rest of the world who are relatively ready to do business in Iran. What this experiment has showed is that the U.S., even without the support of allies and partners, is able to essentially sever a country from the international financial system and make that stick.
S7: So even if China wants to do a ton of business, even if Russia wants to do a ton of business, India wants to do it. But I mean, not if they do that. They just can’t.
S12: Well, they could. But they’d risk. They have to make a choice between doing business in Iran and doing business in the United States. And frankly, Iran is not that attractive of a market, particularly at a time where there is a surfeit of oil exports and production around the world. So, you know, this is not a choice between China and the U.S. market. It’s a choice between a country of 80 million, which is appealing, well educated, has a lot of growth potential, but also has a tremendous amount of dysfunction in terms of the economy, regulatory blockades, things like this. And so, you know, for a lot of firms and entities around the world, when they saw the Trump administration begin to take aim at the nuclear deal, they began to walk away preemptively, simply because it just wasn’t worth it to them to take the risk of in any way getting crosswise with the Treasury Department.
S1: So when we think about the tragedy of this lost nuclear accord, if indeed you’re right about its slim prospects for being resurrected, if you go back to, you know, the Obama administration’s agreement in the period before the Trump administration walked away, Iran was not acting in the way that a lot of people in the West ideally wanted. Right. They were still interfering in Syria and Lebanon and trying to increase their regional influence. And, you know, funding terrorism and acting like Islamic theocracy in a way that scares Westerners or makes people think of Iran as continuing to be this very hostile presence. Does that mean that President Trump’s skepticism about Iran is legitimate? Like, should we have expected Iran to take more steps toward good behavior in the League of Nations, or was it unreasonable to think they were going to more quickly walk themselves back? I’m just I always struggle with how to think about that period and Iran’s response to being in the accord, but not exactly. Behaving like a responsible nation.
S12: Well, that’s, I think, the fundamental paradox that we have today that, you know, we had an agreement that was working but didn’t solve the problems that were outside the scope of the agreement that were never intended to be addressed directly by the agreement. Do you simply junk the agreement or do you find other ways to deal with the problems that you’re facing from Iran? This administration actually had an opportunity to try to devise a follow on agreement with the Europeans, at least that might have tried to press the Iranians on at least some areas where the deal had fallen short. The deal didn’t address Iran’s missile development, for example. And this was something that was pursued pretty intensively in the early months of the administration with at least some resulting support from the Europeans. When push came to shove, I think the president was just fixated on fulfilling a campaign promise. He also, I think, sees that Iran is is pretty good politics for him domestically, at least up till now. And there just wasn’t any real interest or effort in investing in what it would have taken to try to develop a real negotiating track with the Iranians on everything that was outside the deal.
S9: How much, if at all, do you think what we’re doing with Iran is because it is very convenient to have an enemy and we don’t have any convene. We don’t have any other major enemies that are troubling us right now. And Iran is the easiest one to pick out, to demonize and to to attack.
S12: Well, Iran’s been, you know, sort of cartoonishly convenient adversary since 79. Everybody at that time was galvanized around the hostage crisis. More recently, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became a sort of, you know, Saturday Night Live figure of mockery. And Iran plays that role. Unfortunately, its government plays that role very effectively. But I also think that, you know, what we’re seeing is really driven by a theory of the case about how to handle a recalcitrant power and how the U.S. needs to kind of retake the dominant role in the Middle East. And that it’s the the frustration with the Obama administration’s unwillingness to challenge Iran as it began to expand its influence and become very directly engaged and successfully engaged in military conflicts in Syria, in Iraq, and also, of course, in Yemen. And this administration believes that we have such overwhelming conventional military superiority that we shouldn’t be we shouldn’t be restrained in using it. We should push back against the Iranians. And they believe that if you push back really hard against the Iranians, they will, in fact, retreat. We’ll have to see if that works out for them.
S7: Do you think that the United States or the world is safer with casinos salomone dead than it was with him alive?
S10: I think the world is safer without Kassam Suleimani. I don’t think that the world is safer as a result of the strike that we undertook in the way that we undertook it with a very shifty set of justifications the administration has utilized and without any kind of contingency planning around the inevitable ramifications that have followed in its wake.
S7: So sorry, what’s the distinct make that distinction more so. So that he has bad influence, malevolent, malevolent Maleficent person, but that the methodology. Has ripple effects that are.
S12: It even makes perfect sense that he’s been on a kind of list of targets dating as far back as is the second term of the Bush administration. He is a critical commander. And while Iran has a pretty deep bench of security force leadership with a lot of experience and in in battle, you know, Suleimani had a unique role. And his the fact that we were able to get him on what is essentially his home turf, I think is a is a pretty showy demonstration of American might. But the reality is that you have to think through the second and third order effects of any action that you take. That’s what the military is incredibly skilled and well, well situated to do. And it’s just doesn’t appear to be clear that this administration utilized that kind of typical planning process. They really thought through and built up, you know, force protection, for example, around U.S. military presence in Iraq, for example, that they thought through the implications for the Iraqi government and whether or not we would, in fact, then be pushed out of Iraq. All of these things could have been addressed in a way if one was really serious about try about focusing on Suleimani as potentially a way of weakening Iran’s influence in the region. It could have been done in a way that demonstrated, I think, a more coherent and effective policy process and minimize some of the backlash. Instead, what we have is the worst possible scenario, which is, you know, a situation of what I think is going to be very sustained chaos. And we have not reassured our allies in the region. We have not really accomplished a significant foreign policy objective. The question is for me and for I think a lot of others, whether, you know, to what extent the kind of domestic positive boost that the president sees in his base at this time when he’s under pressure, may have made for him, at least offset some of the negatives of what it has brought around the world.
S1: I mean, I just want to add to that to think about this from a legal standpoint, from an ad that, you know, we just assassinated a government official, high up government official. This is a step beyond killing, assassinating, whenever you want to call it, people who are non-state actors, which the, you know, George W. Bush administration did after 9/11, which the Obama administration continued, that was supposed to be a line. There was like a real recognition that it means something different to assassinate a government official, that that puts our government officials at risk abroad or, you know, wherever that it, you know, changes the calculus for our allies. And so I feel like that’s both just like a legal moral point to make and then also one that has strategic implications.
S9: Do you guys think do either of you think there’s any chance that there will be evidence presented that will assure the American public that this was not an assassination, that this was a legitimate act of self-defense as part of or that they were engaged in a war and this was a legitimate military act as part of a war?
S12: I’ve read various sort of legal arguments on both sides that suggest that, you know, we don’t need to have had an absolute degree of imminence in order to justify this action from a legal perspective, which isn’t the same as from a policy or political perspective. You know, what we’ve heard from the briefing from senior administration officials on the Hill suggests that they haven’t really come up with a persuasive narrative, even for senior members of the Republican Party on the Hill. So I’m not convinced they’re going to be able to come up with a persuasive narrative. It’s notable that Mike Pence had announced that he was going to give a major policy speech on Iran this coming Monday. And instead, what we saw is he quickly canceled it after the backlash on the Hill. So I think there’s still kind of working out their story. And unfortunately, that’s not the way these things should happen.
S14: Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution, thanks for joining us. Thank you.
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S13: The Net. The presidential debate in the Democratic race is January 14th. There are only five candidates of the 24 who have been in the race who have qualified for that debate. We are down for this debate to Biden. Sanders But Judge Warren and Klobuchar, Corey Booker and Andrew Yang. I’m not qualified. Mike Bloomberg has not even tried to qualify. Julian Castro dropped out this week and threw a support to Elizabeth Warren. The race is. Is it? It either is wide open or it’s narrowing. I don’t even know, John. It’s a weird period. We have Sanders thriving post heart attack. Biden still solidly kind of in front. Warren, who’s lost her mojo, the pundit class trying desperately to make the case for Klobuchar. What are the fundamentals of the race as we are getting down to the moment, getting into the crucible?
S8: Well, I think and you and the Buddha JEJ boomlet bounces on. I continued to be interested in Bernie Sanders supporters, which we saw in the last race in 2016. We see it again. There’s this there’s a firmness and solidity of his of his supporters that is different than any other candidates, even Elizabeth Warren, though, there’s overlap in their policy positions. And that matters with the state of the race right now. But it also matter because he will hang on even if he doesn’t get the number of delegates and he’ll have a role to play. And so the longer he’s in the race as a viable candidate, which he certainly is now having raised a bit, beaten everybody in the last quarter fundraising, it means he’s going to have more throw weight even if he doesn’t get the nomination. So that that’s one thing that matters. I think no matter what, he raised thirty point thirty four point five during the fourth quarter million, butI JEJ raised twenty four point seven, Biden twenty two point seven and Warren twenty one point two. That that Sanders money is is amazing. And that’s also a sign of support. But I think that the pundit class with cloture, I wonder what you guys make of that and where that comes from. I have a theory, but I’ve talked long enough.
S16: Well, I think there’s been this question about the whole selection process. Right. I mean, partly because candidates of color have been not making the threshold for reaching the debate. And I think there’s just the sense that Democratic voters are not choosing them in large enough numbers. And so I think David lean hard and a few other people have been as pundits saying, OK, well, what if we went back to a world in which party elders, the folks who used to convene in back rooms, smoke-filled back rooms, had a larger say in this process, like what if all the Democratic congresspeople or governors were choosing the candidate? And when you start thinking that way, you imagine someone like Klobuchar having more appeal certainly than like Andrew Yang, who has captured some voters imagination. And so I think it’s particular recognition of club strength as this Midwestern senator who’s trying to make a more moderate and kind of pragmatic argument for how she would conduct the presidency. But then also some nostalgia about it, just a different selection process that isn’t as subject to the whims of the voters and to celebrity and like media coverage, these ineffable aspects of politics that are frustrating to people who I think are trying to think through or wish politics was more rational.
S13: Can I make a slight amendment to that, which is you began with this premise that Klobuchar has been knocked out of the race, because while the voters are not interested in cloture, the voters haven’t done a thing. There have been no voting. There hasn’t been. We’re a month away from voters doing anything. There’s been polling, which is some kind of proxy for something. And then there’s been fundraising, which is not at all a proxy for voting. It’s a proxy for some intensity of support and effectiveness as a fundraiser. So it’s it’s not quite fair to say that this is a voter driven, that that the voters haven’t expressed anything. It’s an attempt to undermine a system which chooses for celebrity, for ability to generate media coverage rather than something either electability or effectiveness in office. So that’s my job.
S16: I mean, you’ve obviously thought about this a lot. I mean, David, you’re right. I was using polls as a proxy for voters, and that’s really not quite the same thing. But, Don, I mean, if you were designing the ideal primary process, like do you have a thought out sense of what it would be? I mean, I just find it really confusing.
S6: Yeah. God love you for asking that question. So it’s it’s you know, would parties want is different than what a country wants. Parties want their ideas to go forward. And whoever controls the party wants that process to go forward. And there’s always a wrestling over who actually controls the parties. Parties have gotten a great deal weaker in the Democratic Party. Weakened itself more by reducing the power of superdelegates. In a perfect world, what you would want is both the voice of the people and you want the irrational voice of the people. OK, so you want people who have passions and push the system because passions and pushing the system is how you get social change. Whatever your goal is for social change, whether you’re a liberal or conservative, politicians are risk averse. And the idea of the politician who says we must go forth in this direction and pulls the country along, it doesn’t usually happen that way. They are more facilitators and conductors of social movements.
S4: And those social movements are full of passion and they’re not, you know, perfectly reason. So you don’t want to take out the madness of the of the population. But. You also have a second piece, which is that you can’t have a car, that is all you know, where you have this this incredible fuel for the car, but the car isn’t built very well.
S17: So if you have a candidate who doesn’t have the skills and attributes necessary to convert that social passion into actual durable and long lasting. Which is to say not by executive order, but through legislation and other things that are durable and long lasting. Then all you do is create a system that generates persistent frustration. And so you need to have some system for selecting for those sets of attributes that would give a person success within the system. And that’s where superdelegates and the back rooms and those kinds of forces used to select and filter for people who had some of the skills that would be necessary to do that two-part thing.
S13: But, John, I think you begin with a false premise that parties exist to advance some set of ideas or beliefs. We have seen with President Trump that the Republican Party, as it exists in 2020, the kind of ideas that it is pushing forward, the ideas it believes has practically nothing to do with the Republican Party and the ideas that it said it believed in in 2013 or in 2000, seven or in 2001 or in 1989, that there is very little continuity because you see, if you have somebody who in Trump’s case, is that incredibly charismatic mobilizer of people, that the ideas are actually slightly kind of irrelevant. But and so and so I don’t I don’t think I don’t think that that the party the party ideas have much valence at all.
S6: But you’re making my case for me when I was talking about is when the parties are not and as they aren’t, when the parties are weakened, as they do now, they don’t have the function that was previously saying they should have to in order to create this mix for the platonic ideal of a of a selection process. Parties are weak now. And as a result of their weakness, they have no ability to influence the process. And so what you have is a purely candidate to the people connection. And by the way, that used to be thought of as a as a beneficial thing for democracy, because you had situations where the people were kind of shut out of the process. And we know all of the bad things that happened as a result of that. So I’m not saying that people should be shut out again. What we want is, it seems to me, a mix of things. And so what you’ve correctly described in the weakness of the party and the Republican side, you also see that in in the Democratic side, as the parties lose their ability to have some kind of control to create this kind of beneficial balance. And so in the Republican Party, it’s precisely what you’ve said.
S17: And what’s fascinating about the Republican Party, just to take a brief detour, is the number of politicians who’ve decided that it’s that Donald Trump is not a special magician who’s pulling off a trick only he can pull off. You’re seeing some politicians who have ambitions for the future starting to to not just support Donald Trump, but ape the kinds of behaviors and things he says as a route to their own self-aggrandizement. And again, that’s that’s not the party making any choices. Finally, one quick point on the Republican Party and how it has no control over the the nominee. The Republican Party created did an autopsy after the 2012 election and said that it had to change in a number of different ways. They made one single suggestion on policy was, which was that Republicans should support comprehensive immigration reform. The next nominee and successful president of that party had the 180 degree opposite opinion from what the party approved opinion on immigration was to give you some indication of how meaningless parties are in the process.
S13: I just wanna make one other point, which is that we also see in the UK as a prime example of this. What happens when a party elite, when a party insiders maintain control of party decision making apparatus and the disastrous performance of the Labor Party under Jeremy Corbyn is the evidence of this. Here you have the kind of party the whole party infrastructure selected Corbyn. And yet Corbyn came to represent a view that was totally untenable within the actual desires of the British electorate. To the party elite insider choosing means not quite the same a smoke filled room because it’s a vote by all the party members. It’s not quite the same, but the party elite choice was also a disaster in that case. Emily, are you moved at all by the people who are making the case for club, which are under on these grounds?
S1: Well, I really liked club char in the moments after the last debate when she was just sitting around.
S16: I think on CNN and it just seemed like she was in this moment of I don’t have a whole lot to lose. She seemed so much more normal and candidate than I’d seen other candidates be. So I had this moment where my heart warmed to her for that. But I mean, I don’t know, I I feel like Biden and Bernie Sanders are leading the polls. They have been consistently doing so. They’re offering pretty different. Policy visions, different cases for electability, both of which are kind of plausible. That’s where the polls have been from the beginning and they haven’t really changed that much. And so this sort of casting about for another alternative reflects the weaknesses and the kind of caveat emptor the party, people in the party or watching the party are having, especially because of the drive to defeat President Trump. But I don’t think Globalstar is like really going anywhere. She raised a little more money. But, you know, I. It just feels to me like a sort of casting about. And also, it is true that if you’re following these races, it gets boring, like you need some new kind of shiny object to look at. To change the story. And so there’s a degree to which Club Cha is just a kind of confected example of that.
S13: I don’t have any real brief for Clover Cha. I mean, she seemed very smart. Whenever I’ve seen her speak in person, I met her a couple of times. She’s very winning in person with the one point I rise in her defense around is I thought the stories about her being a bad boss were so incredibly unfair and sexist. And I’m sure she’s the bad boss. I’m sure she’s I’m sure she’s a mean, vicious boss. There would not be all those stories if she wasn’t. But it is also true that people who work with Biden say that Biden is a bad boss. Sanders think reputationally, not a great boss. There’s a way in which the can’t eat salad with a comb is a phrase that is going to be stuck to her for life. That is unfair. And they wouldn’t be there if she were.
S1: Man eat salad with a comb being a story about Amy Klobuchar asking a staffer for a fork. Then when there was no floor getting super pissed and eating the salad with her comb, it’s a cheap shot.
S18: She’s a tough person. She’s a tough boss. And for that, that slander or Kate guess is not slander. That’s true. It’s probably true for that, too, to hang around her neck seems grotesquely unfair.
S4: I think you’re right. I think you’re right if there is a gender issue here. But more to the point, what do we mean when we. Why is it necessarily bad to be a mean boss? I mean, you know, Dwight Eisenhower, who was very good at the presidency in all of these ways that people didn’t appreciate at the time was known as the terrible Mr. Bang because of his. That was the White House named for him because of his temper. Temper. I mean, what are we really saying about the skills for the presidency or is it just being used as a dismissive thing? Like, what’s this? What’s the ultimate thing? Are we are we about to have a big, huge, long discussion about the proper management techniques of the presidency? Because I’m on for that. But that’s not what people are really anxious to have. They’re trying to find a thing, as they’ve done with lots of other candidates in their vote, whether they do it with age or something else that just allows them to immediately dismiss a candidate. But in my futile effort to make the presidential campaigns better, I’d love a long discussion of what some of these things that you perfectly describe, David, as a as a kind of limiting get rid of her out of the conversation thing. What do we really mean when we’re highlighting that idea?
S1: Aren’t we afraid that if someone has a terrible temper and is mean to their employees, that it suggests they’re going to rule by fear, that that’s not as effective a way to manage an organization there like as a fallout and costs for that? And you turn people against each other inside your organization and give people reasons to want to undermine you?
S4: I mean, totally, 100 percent. Yes. And that’s really interesting because. What? Because what? Because in the presidency, you can’t because it’s such a blunt instrument and because you have to move in and you’re not giving very much time to figure out the place and and the bureaucracy, which I say not in pejorative sense, but I say it’s just a big, massive thing. It’s an enormous organization. And some of the people who’ve been successful in making organizational change have done so by being kind of blunt and unpleasant. Now, is that the best way to make the thing move? I don’t know. But that’s a really interesting conversation because clearly the incumbent president manages in in a bullying way. On the other hand, if you’re a person who believes in his maximalist position on immigration, his bullying ways have gotten you results that you like. And the same would be true on the courts and taxes and other things. So I I would just love to have that conversation rather than the sort of theater review way in which her temper is used to make to just dismiss her. The two other quick just very two other quick points. I think the club HRP is not about club H.R. It’s about its pundits deciding that the target that that Democrats need to hit is a general election target in seven states that are in you know, many of them are in the Midwest. And so what they’re saying is looking ahead to that target, not the target for the primary and who’s going to win it, but in the ultimate race against Donald Trump. It’s going to be about these states and that her characteristics are successful for that state. The reason I bring that up is that this primary debate is always a debate about what’s the shape of the final target and everybody chooses a different shape of the final target. And then everybody is to. What has to agree on what the final target is, nobody quite has yet. And so I think the club a charged discussion is also about this uncertainty about that. And then the final point is if we realize the general elections are about negative partisanship and that basically what Donald Trump is going to do in a time tested technique is basically make the Democrats seem objectionable and completely out of the mainstream. It’s it’s interesting to sort the candidates in that fashion, each party making the others seem much more objectionable. And so which candidate which Democratic candidate sets up best if that’s the case?
S9: Emily, what’s going on with my beloved Elizabeth Warren? Why? Why is Sanders, as you say, so firmly locked with most of the same policy positions, yet as much older, much more infirm, much. You know, less appealing for me at least. Why? Why is she not doing well?
S19: Well, I think actually it’s important that Sanders came back from his heart attack and doesn’t seem infirm, like he’s been charging ahead with his usual vigour.
S16: And he has this really loyal core group of supporters. It seems like in retrospect, maybe Warren had this kind of lift from a lot of positive press coverage.
S1: And then as she kind of struggled to talk about how she was going to pay for Medicare for all, seemed to be evasive in those moments. I’m not sure how much the voters were paying attention to that, but the punditocracy cared about that and started digging her. And I don’t know, maybe that surge she had in the polls was based on not like the sticky loyalty that some Biden and the candidates like Biden and Sanders have been able to show with their loyalists. I’m not totally sure. I also wonder if in the whole electability conversation, the fact that she’s a woman and that people are worried about other voters, sexism is having some effect on her. I mean, I’m casting around for explanations here, but it does seem like Sanders has this much more sticky support than she’s proved to have.
S4: May I raise a question for the two of you to answer, which is medicalise just wrote the case for Bernie Sanders and Fox writers are taking on the case of making the case for the remaining candidates. And in his piece and I’m de-linked from it now, so I don’t mischaracterize it. But in his piece, he basically argues that Sanders Isma is a more wily legislator, an inside game player than his campaign persona would suggest, because if you listen to what he says on the campaign about he’s going to create a national movement, then it’s going to change. Washington weaves its its way out on the furthest out and of not just policy, but also kind of the way politics works in America. You Barack Obama had a was a pretty popular president and got a lot of people to come to his rallies. And even he wasn’t able to convert that into power in in Washington. It would would Woody Gilliss suggests perhaps is that basically Bernie Sanders knows that he’s going to ultimately have to work within the system and then since he’s done it before, that makes him a good candidate. So the question I ask you, too, is, is it okay if a candidate, let’s say Bernie Sanders talks about things in their most dreamy fashion, but knows basically in his heart of hearts it ain’t ever gonna be that way and that that’s not a sign of duplicity? Well, it is a sign of duplicity, but it’s a beneficial sign of duplicity. And that you want candidates basically to know that you have to sell things that they’re most attractive, but also have the realism to know how to get it actually done.
S3: I feel duplicity is a funny word for this because another way to think about it is maybe I mean, OK, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
S16: It’s based on his whole career. Bernie really does believe in free college and Medicare for all. And raising taxes to pay for it. And he just Gore will not win.
S4: You know, I’m not saying it’s not the policy positions. It’s the whether they can ever get through and whether his methods that he’s explained in the course of his campaigns for how it’s all going to happen by this creating this great national movement that’s gonna change Washington from its from its ways going forward, that that’s that I don’t think he would concede that they can never get through.
S16: I think he would say like the only way this was possibly ever going to happen is if we call for a revolution. And I get in office and I get my best shot. And like, I don’t think, you know, does he see the obstacles as, like a rational, intelligent politician? I’m sure he does. But I don’t think he’s willing to concede the notion that, like, this is all total pie in the sky. It’ll never get anywhere. I think he would point to other unlikely moments in American politics where, you know, the civil rights movement like that wasn’t poll tested. It wasn’t popular. People succeeded anyway. And he would say, like you, you have to we have to take the first step in order to maybe get further down this road. Right.
S20: Well, I guess my point is if if you accept the frame that the map was using, we’re nowhere near what the political situation was like in the mid 60s. That kind of change can’t happen when you’ve got, you know, Mitch McConnell on the filibuster used in the way it is and so forth and so on. But I think at the end of the day, you’re probably right, which is OK, if I don’t have any shot at all the more humans behind me, I have pushing for this, you know, large thing. Even when we fall short, it’ll be a hell of a lot better than the status quo.
S16: I think what’s funny about Matt’s case is that Sanders isn’t running as a pragmatist who, you know, worked with Republicans on veterans of their thing on revolution. And so the notion that, like we’re just voters, moderate Democrats. Oh, don’t worry about that man behind the curtain because he really takes the, you know, bipartisan or.
S1: However, the Democratic votes when he needs to and like hell, it’s just not how he’s presenting himself. And so I think that it’s an odd argument to make that like, oh, we shouldn’t worry about these big radical plans because that’s his whole platform.
S14: Emily, what is happening with impeachment?
S21: Oh, my God.
S15: I was about to take as if you were waiting for some big plots lined up. Yeah, it was that I have to such.
S16: What is happening with impeachment? The Senate trial has still not begun, as I’m sure our listeners know, the House as we’re taping, is still withholding the articles of impeachment, hoping for maybe some leverage in trying to change the Senate procedures, get the Senate to call witnesses. No indication that Mitch McConnell is going for this.
S22: I also think that the Iran strike by President Trump kind of put a pause on all of this and is now kind of part of the politics, of the timing of how all this unwinds. So we’re kind of in this pause moment. The most interesting development is that John Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, who says he has exciting, important facts that nobody has heard yet, announced that he had decided he would comply with a subpoena from the Senate and testify at the impeachment trial. If he is called, I don’t know what this play is. Bolton could at any moment hold a press conference. Tell us what he knows. He could also ask the house or the house on its own, could ask him to testify. There’s no a special reason this has to happen before the Senate. Adam shifts committee could just call him up.
S16: I don’t imagine that McConnell will call Bolton. One does wonder about the timing of all of this. Bolton is thrilled by the killing. Are the United States killing of General Suleimani in Iran? And so it seems a little strange to imagine that this is the moment that he is going to betray President Trump with his exciting testimony. Maybe he would do exactly the opposite. Despite his disdain for Trump, he is, after all, a lifelong, pretty loyal Republican. So hard to know what all of this means. I don’t imagine we’re going to see him take a star turn in front of the Senate, but who knows?
S9: I found the excitement on the left about Bolton statement that he would onnot Senate subpoena so bizarre and misplaced. I mean, there’s nothing at all in John Bolton’s career to suggest he’s someone who’s gonna go in and knife President Trump in public in that way. Nothing whatsoever.
S7: He is somebody. He’s a party guy who. You want to support the party? I think I actually. I mean, you know, I actually think there’s it’s more easy to think that Trump wag the dog and some part of Trump’s Iran motivations, actually. Oh, that. Let’s just mollify let’s mollify Bolton while we’re at it. Because knowing that knowing that Bolton is such an Iran hawk. So either he doesn’t want to testify and knows that he doesn’t have to testify, but he just wants to virtu signal that he would testify. That’s option 1 or option 2. He would testify but not say anything that’s particularly going to hurt.
S9: The president might not help them, but definitely not gonna say anything that’s going to be super damning. So. So the level of excitement versus actuality there seems way. The ratio him way, way off.
S23: I had the same reaction. And then as I’ve been trying to condition myself recently, I realized I was just reaction. Reaction. I was just reacting to behavior on Twitter, which I’ve decided is a weird way to behave in life because Twitter is not representative of anything. But I nevertheless share what you’re saying.
S17: It was a weird, strange glee, if for no other reason than it just was totally uninformed. That all seems weird. He’s got a book coming out next week year, which means as since I do too. It made me first think, OK, who is the bigger book buying public? The supporters of the President, from whom he also would like to raise money for his PAC and who are big fans of his from years of appearing on Fox. Are they the people more likely to buy his book, or are the people who don’t like the president more likely to buy his book? And if you use that as your single limiting frame for what his strategy is here, how does that give you an insight into what he’s doing? This is all very, very deep into the realm of speculation. He also didn’t tell Mitch McConnell until right before left a message at McConnell’s office, essentially saying he was going to say what he was going to say. So that seems a little strange. Didn’t tell the White House. It all just seems like a weird mystery of running on stage at this moment. And also, by the way, what could he say that would actually change the shape of things in the impeachment proceedings? It doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to let him testify in the Senate, by the way.
S19: I mean, I understand that you’re speculating, John, but I’m glad you brought all of that up, because there’s part of me that just feels like John Bolton just wants a big burst of attention. And it is related to books and book sales and his own sense of importance and celebrity.
S16: And I mean, this is something I wonder about all the time with Rudy Giuliani. Bill Barr, these are old people who were off stage and are now very much on the center stage. And maybe there’s just something really tantalizing about continuing to generate headlines.
S13: Yes. And to be psychically rewarded. That’s the other piece. It’s not enough to generate headlines. It’s the thing that we forget about. Barr and Giuliani is that as much as Barr Giuliani get? Absolutely thwacked on the left and on left, Twitter and in The New York Times and so forth. They are receiving validation. Left and right are actually right and right and also right from the world in which they swim. And so in the world in which they swim, presumably Rudy Giuliani is not you know, he’s not been mocked and derided, but rather he’s been praised and affirmed for his stalwart support of the president. His creativity is energy, is aggression. And so that feels good. And so it’s not merely attention, it’s attention with positive affirmation, which is is a pretty heady drug.
S1: Right. And when you think about it that way, it just seems so unlikely that Bolton is going to destroy himself with Republican right wing book buying voters by taking down President Trump.
S17: I mean, David started by saying everything. John Bolton is believed that in his life, Donald Trump has done a very good job of supporting John Bolton. One of his earliest jobs was working in the Reagan Justice Department, pushing very strongly for the nomination of Robert Bork against a lot of what used to be called moderate Republicans who were in the Reagan administration. And Bolton was was successful, obviously, in getting Bork into the into the, you know, getting him nominated. He obviously didn’t get confirmed. But so on the judges question, the president is done quite well on the spending for defense. He’s done quite well. I mean, so for his entire in Iran, as David mentioned, he’s doing what John Bolton would like. So it would seem strange, extremely strange that a president who is delivering on every possible thing that a Republican of John Bolton’s kind, with the possible exception of flirtation with getting out of Syria and Afghanistan, would then suddenly turn on him and be forever, then known as the person who either A turned on him or B, if he’s got something really a real bombshell, B became the person who changed is the John Dean of this impeachment, essentially the person who changed the narrative, which right now looks like an easy acquittal for the president and the Senate.
S13: Emily, we talked about this last week, where week on who is enjoying the waiting game more? Is it Nancy Pelosi or Mitch McConnell? I do think I mean, just let me just give my thought for one second. The more I thought about this week, Nancy Pelosi, the House Democrats have done their constitutional duty. They have done their job. They have impeach the president. They’ve presented compelling evidence that he committed impeachable offenses. They have impeached him for those impeachable offenses. They have created a record around it. They brought in witnesses. They should just stop messing around and let the Senate do its job, even if they know the Senate is going to make a mockery of it, even if they know the Senate is not going to offer a fair and honest trial. That’s not that is not their responsibility. They know it’s no longer there.
S7: It’s the responsibility of the other August legislative body that the United States has. And the voters can see the Senate make a mockery of it. And then can, you know, can judge them accordingly. But I do think that Pelosi at this point has has. I don’t think she has any leverage. And I also think it’s making it all kind of weird that they did what they were supposed to do now. But the other body do what it’s supposed to do. Even if it does it poorly.
S1: Yeah, that seems right to me. I feel like this is gonna wind itself down. Yeah, quickly. Or it should.
S23: As of Thursday morning, there was some fibrillation in the force. On the Senate side, you had Dianne Feinstein and and a few other Democratic senators saying, okay, let’s get this sent over here and let’s get this thing going. You also had some Democrats in the House in let’s call them Trump districts, swingy kind of House districts who were saying, all right, let’s send it over. And then you had Mitch McConnell making efforts to Piner kind of move forward even without Pelosi. So it seems like it’s going to get going. Maybe as early as next week and then it’ll sit for six days.
S20: The senators can’t talk with each other, can’t look at their phones. It will be probably unpleasant for a lot of them. And it just basically at a human level to sit still and have to listen for that period of time, which they almost never do in their lives. I mean, who does in the modern life, any of any of us, John?
S9: I cannot remember you and I both covered the Clinton impeachment trial, which was also a witness list, but it was not. It took time. What do you do in a witless with witness?
S5: Witness Senate trial? Know when a witness. It also does happen in a witness Senate trial.
S20: Well, don’t you hear from the the managers, the impeachment managers in the House. They make their case and then the defenders of the president make their case. And then the senators can send up written questions to both sides. So then there’s the answering of that which takes place. And so it’s a lot of, you know, a lot of talking.
S9: It’s basically like an argument. Everyone makes their own argument, but without it being the questions being interrogated in effect. Way because there is no there are no fact witnesses.
S4: I mean, there could be a lot of interesting. Right. I mean, there could be, but there there won’t be. I mean, there could be fact witnesses that would be perfectly that would be perfectly reasonable thing to do.
S24: But but there won’t be. Let’s go to cocktail chatter. When. You are gotten off work as a juror in a trial. Going around the corner. Have a drink at the bar by the courtroom. You can’t really talk about the trial. Your beer. You shouldn’t talk about the trial you’re part of. What are you gonna be chattering about?
S19: Emily Bazelon I went to New Orleans in November to report a story about juries that will run in The Times magazine next week. And it was the first time I’d ever gone and done some reporting with a photographer. It was so interesting. And I mean, I, Larry, think the photographer who I was working with was amazing. He also had this fabulous assistant, John O. Ratman, who’s a photographer in his own right. It changed my process both because the photographer, like they were they’re part of the reporting, but also because I had these amazing photographs to look at as I was writing the story. And it just was so interesting to me to like it. I’ve been a journalist for a long time. I guess it’s kind of surprising I never got to do this before. But I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of photography in journalism, which is like in some ways a completely banal point.
S11: But it was really brought home to me by working with Larry and Jarno when I was a cub reporter at the Washington City Paper. There was a staff at hogger offer still there. Daro Montgomery, an incredible photographer, and Dara would come out reporting as the paper was slack on resources. We relied on resources, so he’d come out with me if I was writing a story.
S13: And I learned so much just from watching him work and that he he had this relaxing effect on the subjects of people I was writing about. It was great having a photographer, not in every situation, but when you have someone who is wise and careful and and themself inquisitive and in a different way than you, it can be really, really delightful.
S16: Absolutely. And the idea of like portraying to telling a story is a photo essay as well as a narrative or analytic piece just anywhere exciting for me.
S9: John DICKERSON, what is your chatter?
S23: Well, I feel like I now have to add my photographer anecdote, which is when I started a time you always traveled with a photographer and particularly in political campaigns. The magazine Pooler was with the magazine photographer. And so after some short period of time, I would I learned to always ask them what they were seeing when they were taking shots of candidates and of rallies and of because their attention and focus is on. What cannot be said, but which is sometimes far more powerful than what’s actually being said, particularly in politics. And now at 60 Minutes, where you work with these cameramen who are artists who’ve been doing it for 30 years, what they see when an interview is happening, what a person does with their face, when they’re asking questions, when they’re responding, when they’re listening to a question. I mean, they see the entire landscape of the human being with a with a kind of an acute focus. That is that’s fantastic. That’s why they’re so good. And so I I envy that experience, Emily. And I got to enjoy that experience myself. When I worked on one of my cocktail chatter, which is on the my piece for 60 Minutes this Sunday is about Venice. A few months ago, I mysteriously wasn’t on the show right after the gig. Considerable flooding, second biggest flooding in the history of recorded history, Venice and went through the city. And it’s a piece about what that flooding. And then the flooding that is now a part of the new normal of Venice. It was there was that one day on the 12th of November that was particularly awful. But then when I was there, the flooding was continuing. What it’s doing to this jewel of a city and then what, of course, that means for global climate change, because it’s it’s not just Venice that’s having to deal with these. What’s happening in Australia is a part of this story. What happened in the Amazon and California and this is the sea level rise. Part of it. But it’s a story about Venice and what Venice means for the entire planet. That’s the sun. That’s this Sunday. Check your local listings.
S9: My chatters about a wonderful Washington Post story that has put an idea in my head. The headline is People are seeing cats while high out of their minds. These are their stories.
S14: And it’s the movie Cats is in disaster at the box office. It’s been panned.
S7: It’s surreal and terrible. Taking this musical, which I loved as a child. Just full confession. I really did love it. And turn it into a movie with these humans in cat fur has caused the world to laugh and be shocked. But there is this category of people who are getting real pleasure out of it by getting extremely high and then going to it. And this is a story which they interview. A whole bunch of people have done it. And it is hilarious. The story is so, so funny. I strongly recommend reading it. Some people were terrified by it. There’s one woman who described vomiting four times, but ultimately understanding the film on a deep level. When the other person said when Judi Dench turned and looked me directly in the eyes, let me know. The cat is not a dog. I was terrified. Someone else described how she couldn’t get past the mismatched proportions of the cats in the film while she was high, because sometimes there were cat sized. Sometimes they were human sized, and sometimes they appear to be the size of mice. And that confounded her. It’s a very funny match of subject, which is the surreal bad movie. And and people stoner thoughts. I’m now intending to go get high and go see cats. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing in the next couple of weeks. So if you want to join me, let me know also if you wanna join me. Just a small thing. If you’re in D.C. this Sunday, I think Gabfests listeners know I’m a huge fan of group singing and there’s something which I think is relatively new to D.C. called the D.C. Sing Along. And there is a Sunday D.C. sing along in Adams Morgan at the Cheshire. So if you go to D.C., sing along dot com, you can check it out. I’m going to be there. I’m so looking forward to it. Emily, you should come down and join me to sing along.
S25: You don’t like that. I wish I could do that. We knew the New Haven version of that.
S7: Listeners, you have sent us excellent chatters. Excellent, excellent chatters and 20/20. Your new decade of chatters are great. You’ve been tweeting them to us at Slate Gabfest. And this week, Barbara, who is at Lucky Penny Make sent us a listener chatter, which actually a forward of another tweet thread from Jessica Price at Delfina, 7/7/07, which is a tweet thread about how cities. One reason why everyone’s allergies seem to be getting worse in big cities is that cities are planting basically only male trees and there aren’t enough female trees which cat trap the pollen. And that’s a reason why people’s allergies are getting worse. And it’s it’s just as hilarious and disturbing fact that that when arborists and in who are planting for big locations or planting, they tend to plant male trees because I guess male trees don’t fruit. And so you don’t have to deal with the messiness of fruit. But the result is you have all this extra pollen and it’s tree tree sexism. So check out this tweet thread around tree sexism off shift for today.
S2: The gabfests is produced by Josslyn Frank mitha Kaplin. Help me out here in D.C. I’m guessing Ryan MacAvoy helped out Emily in New Haven and I’m guessing. Helped John in New York City.
S23: You’ll correct me if I’m wrong immediately, it was destine up here in in New York City.
S2: Oh, Ginger Bay, mercifully, let Alan have the day off. Nice and hope Alan is out partying somewhere.
S26: Gabriel Roth is editorial director of Slate Audio, Jan Thomas Menchu, producer. You should follow us on Twitter at 8 at Slate Fest and tweet chatter to us for Emily Bazelon, John DICKERSON and David Plotz. We will talk to you next week.
S9: Hello. Slate Plus John and Emily have both watched the morning show, which I’ve only seen one episode, but the morning show is a show that is on Apple and there’s about a morning show discuss.
S25: I really enjoyed the show. I do not think it is great television. I completely eat it up. Nonetheless, the premise very quickly is basically a Matt Lauer story. So Jennifer Aniston plays is the co-host of A Guy. The actor Steve Carell, who right away gets fired for sexual misconduct. We don’t know exactly what he’s done in the beginning, but we get the sense he’s abused his power on the show in some way. And then from there spins out this plot. I’ll give away one other part of it that’s happens pretty early, which is that Jennifer Aniston kind of impulsively chooses as her new co-host. Younger woman played by Reese Witherspoon, who’s a kind of cantankerous West Virginian, like either shot in the arm or like disaster, depending on your view of the journalism she produces and her kind of challenge to the show. And I guess, Don, one of the reasons I was so excited to talk with you about this is obviously you’ve been on a morning show. And so you have some sense of whether the portrayal of the culture not like setting aside the sexual misconduct, but also just the culture on the show, whether that felt real to you.
S3: And then I was also just so interested in the sexual dynamics there.
S16: It’s pretty complex like the show does more than I think a lot of portrayals to get beyond the like very basic idea of some terrible predatory man, only one kind of bad misconduct. So, yes, there are predatory men, but they’re also women who are asserting their power or trying to use their sexuality to a to assert some power in a way that was not the like only kind of victim predator dynamic. And I wonder what you made of that.
S20: Well, I guess I have to give a little bit of a disclosure, which is to say that don’t freight. What I’m about to say as like, yes, that’s exactly what it was like where I worked. The things that are similar are and what I like about the show is that it’s I mean, any good show is you basically take you build a house, you build a structure with all kinds of pressures in this house that you’ve built. And then you release good actors into that environment. And all kinds of high stakes, fraught things happen. And you can build the house, any of Adam, anything. It’s be a police headquarters. It can be a fire station. It can be. You know, obviously, people picked hospitals a lot and television is ready made for it because you always have narrative interjections from reality. So you have, you know, fires and floods and emergencies that shows are doing. It’s high stakes. It’s pressure and deadlines which move the show along. And you have a class of people. So that’s all true both for reality and and the show itself. And then you have a class of people who are super hard charging and also you have not, unlike politics, people who get into the business for one reason and then find themselves some place down the road in it, perhaps for other reasons. And they constantly wrestle with that. So I thought the human balance of all of that was is just good drama, whether it’s and even in the cases where it was different from my own experience just was interesting. But to your point about me, there’s and there’s some fantastic acting in this, which is a which makes it just enjoyable to watch on its own. But there are a couple of scenes on the the sexual dynamics front that are and I don’t I don’t want to spoil them for people. But are just what you were talking about, Emily would show to a subtlety and gradations. And to admit gradations in the world is not to excuse behavior when somebody watches the actual scene I’m talking about. It’s just an amazing scene between essentially the Matt Lauer and the Harvey Weinstein character. Anyway, it’s there. They’re aware with the acting is is just just amazing. And and I thought, just like some of the characters are interesting characters, no matter what kind of show they would be in.
S16: Well, another thing I really enjoyed was the portrayal of the New York media world, which is depicted as like super catty full of to me, completely unrealistic interactions between this female magazine journalist who’s kind of slinking or sleuthing around trying to sort of investigate. But she is.
S3: So she says things to her sources. I would never say in a million years.
S27: Wondering what you thought about that. It made me feel like there’s some whole approach to reporting going on that I literally like have never heard of. My wife, which is to like excoriate now newly powerful people and tell them you’re about to take them dead. That is what like walts out of lunch.
S4: Well, there is. You know that, right? So there there are those things that are not factually true, but have a truth to them.
S23: And then there are those things that are. Wow. That’s pretty close to the way it actually goes. And then there are things that eat either. And she seems to be full of that. It’s like it’s a cartoon character of what that what the relationship between is sort of gossipy magazine writer who covers the industry would be like. And and the reality, which isn’t to say I mean, there’s an entire institution and the obsession with the gossipy undulations of the who’s up, who’s down in the ratings and all of that, which in parts of the show are well, well done in the magazine world.
S17: There is that does exist. I mean, there are people out there who do, but they don’t do it the way that that one character does, which is that one character has a kind of super power like this super power, which is outsized in the messiness. One of the things that shoguns does well is the messiness of just the whole process of both life, but also of life in this particular zoo. And the magazine reporter is too perfect. You know, she has these superpowers that work and and she wields them.
S20: And it seems out of shape with the gradations that are in the rest of the characters in the show.
S3: And what did you think of the discussions about coverage on the morning show? Because one of the things about the Reese Witherspoon character is she’s asking for hard air hitting pieces. And some of the ideas it brings up seem like utterly unsuited. Right. They just they’re just more abstract or policy driven. It’s like you’re listening to some explainer piece and imagining it on a morning show and like, no, that’s not going to work. But then you see these moments of them covering cooking for celebrities that feel like, OK. Yes. I mean, in the moment in which one super dramatic thing happens, they’re reporting on like an outbreak of people getting sick on a cruise ship. Right. And I was really struck by the just difficulty of balancing these different kinds of stories.
S17: Well, it depends which of the morning shows one is on where the where the balance is more difficult to do. I think my own experience, I’ll I’ll just go to that. What it was definitely very hard. I mean, this happens in any broadcast. But, you know, you have a limited amount of time. You have commercial breaks, you have things shifting. One thing that it would be more fun to see in the show is one of the things that that struck me about the extraordinary talent of the people in the control room is that news is breaking all the time, even if there’s not breaking news because. And segments run longer and there’s conversations that are always read tailoring the show as it’s being made. I mean, the plane is being flown as it’s being built, and that creates all kinds of high excitement, drama, even when the stories are relatively straight up, the CTM is a more news focused. And so this didn’t happen so much, but there was a lot of time. There were times where you would and they would usually warn you about this that you would make a turn even if it was just in the news portion of the show, a turn between something that was really grim and solemn and then something that was newsworthy but not I mean, in other words, it wasn’t you didn’t go from somber and grim to lighter than air, but you would sometimes go from somber to human interest or kind of something that’s that’s newsworthy. But but not as solemn and new, they would warn you and say, like, be careful and the turn here so that you wouldn’t. And he usually actually went the other way, which is you you were, as you were saying, something that was kind of fun. And then, you know, and now we turn to this incredibly glum thing. So usually they’d warn warn you about that. It’s a little it’s a little overdone in the show. But that’s just relative to my experience. I don’t know if on the other real morning shows that head snapping happens as much.
S16: Well, I really recommend the show. I mean, it flawed as it is in its many ways, I found it totally entertaining. I was looking forward to it dropping on Fridays. So, David, I’ll be curious to see what you make of it. Did you felt feel like you want to keep watching after one episode or no?
S7: Yeah. Also, you guys were so enthusiastic. I’ll keep watching. So thanks. All right. Goodbye. Slate plus.