As I prepare my next Classic Rock magnum opus, The Semiotics of An American Band: Poststructuralist Dialectical Narrative in the Music of Grand Funk Railroad (10,000 words, indexed and footnoted), I have a question for you. Do you listen to any political podcasts?
I would prefer to get all of my political commentary from just hitting refresh and bathing in the fecund sea of witty commentary here at balloon-juice.com all day, but a fella’s got to go to work eventually. Here are the ones I listen to.
Woocast’s Politics and Polls: This is Sam Wang’s podcast and it is one of my favorites. Sam has always seemed like a likely reader of the constellation of blogs we all visit in common. Of all the commentators I can think of, he seems the least likely to go all soft and centrist on us. He and Julian Zelizer are pretty academic in tone. That doesn’t bother me. I like academics.
Five Thirty Eight Politics: Another good one. Fun, knowledgeable journalists from Nate Silver’s site. They try to focus on data and numbers with varying success. Nate Silver rightly decries punditry in all its evil guises…and with the next breath engages in punditry. His employees at 538 all seem to have a genial contempt for him, which makes me think he’s not so bad.
The National Security Law Podcast: This one gets super technical as one might expect from two law professors. Only about 1/4 of it is typically of interest or even comprehensible to me. But that 1/4 is pretty good!
The Lawfare Podcast: This is a mixed bag since they range over lots of topics. Some are good! Some are quite dull. They will platform some conservative viewpoints sometimes too. Mostly having to do with national security.
Rational Security: This is DougJ favorite Ben Wittes’s podcast. When he confines himself to his bailiwick, matters of national security, he is knowledgeable and clear. Great at explaining things and why they matter. When he strays from his realm he is less useful and very much given to smug centrism. Generally very good gender parity on this podcast. Tamara Coffman Wittes, Susan Hennessey, and Quinta Jurecic are excellent. WaPo journalist Shane Harris emcees the proceedings and he is well on his way to becoming another irritating villager. At its worst, this show will feel like a high school lunchroom table filled with unappealing nerds.
Stay Tuned With Preet: Supposedly Preet Bharara has no ambition for higher office. This is his ambition. To be some kind of media person. This is a slick show that sounds like it wants to be on NPR. He has a warm, daddish manner and definitely has some insight into the Mueller investigation. Will fawn obsequiously over guests at times.
Pod Save America: Did you like the Obama approach to messaging? Because this is basically it. This is also a slick, well produced show. I don’t know if I would recommend it to anyone who reads The Blogs on the reg. I feel like it is pitched for those who are taking some tentative steps out of television news. I think younger people would like it too. The live shows I find unlistenable. This is true for any podcast. There’s something particularly irritating about hearing the superfans of a thing that you only like enough not to even pay for. Like suddenly finding yourself at an Alf convention. AlfCon 2018. This show also gets a little bro-y.
Before you explain to me how I have gone all wrong in my choices, please take a moment to consider giving to the fund that’s split between all eventual
Democratic nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.
ETA: How the hell did I miss this? Thanks, Betty Cracker!