Where to turn, after a day like Tuesday, for political conversation that resists the hysteria of either left or right electronic media megaphones turned up to 11? You can go, I suppose, to CNN or MSNBC or even Fox News, but then you run into the possibility of exposing yourself to Alan Dershowitz or, God forbid, a Trump administration official. There’s NPR, but, you know … pledge drives. (And I’ve never forgiven them for Garrison Keillor.) And who reads newspapers these days?
Well, I read newspapers, yes, but the voices on the Op-Ed page rarely respond to each other, at least not so’s I can hear. So instead I turn to a terrific podcast called Deep State Radio, issued twice a week, the brainchild of David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former CEO of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy magazine and for which he was Editor-at-Large. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Rothkopf presides over a freewheeling, irreverent, never-too-apocalyptic roundtable discussion about both domestic and foreign developments among people who know about these things, including Rosa Brooks of Georgetown Law School, Kori Schake of Stanford University, David Sanger of the New York Times, and Ed Luce of the Financial Times. This morning I was delighted to find a special “Trumpocalypse Now” edition of the podcast, in which Tuesday’s developments were persuasively anatomized by David Sanger; Katie Phang, legal contributor to NBC and MSNBC; and Sharon Weinberger, former executive editor of Foreign Policy and current DC Bureau Chief for Yahoo News.
Here’s how they describe themselves:
Twice a week this podcast will take you on a smart, direct, sometimes scary, sometimes profane, sometimes hilarious tour of the inner workings of American power and of the impact of our leaders and their policies on our standing in the world. … The program will be the lively, smart dinner table conversation on the big issues of the day that you wish you were having … without the calories. Sometimes special guests will join the conversation and always the emphasis will be on providing the unvarnished perspectives others shy away from. Deep State Radio is the insider perspective on American national security and foreign policy that you can’t find anywhere else.
Deep State Radio always manages to lower my blood pressure in some ways and raise it in others. Maybe not so good for my health, I admit, but it’s a small price to pay for 45 minutes or so of sane and only occasionally flippant commentary in insane times. Today’s installment can be found below, and you can catch up on previous episodes here. (And you can sign up for Deep State Radio updates — including the impending launch of an associated Web site — right here. Swag is promised.)