Podcast / The Time of Monsters / Feb 4, 2024

The Abortion Battle Needs a Fighting President

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, Moira Donegan on Joe Biden’s need to embrace pro-choice politics.

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Here's where to find podcasts from The Nation. Political talk without the boring parts, featuring the writers, activists and artists who shape the news, from a progressive perspective.

Gaza City Massacre, Darfur Aid Crisis, And Sweden Joins NATO | American Prestige
byThe Nation Magazine

On this News episode of American Prestige, Danny and Derek work on leap days. This week: in Gaza, a massacre in Gaza City (0:29), ceasefire talks (5:20), and Netanyahu’s postwar plan (8:35); the U.S. and U.K. launch more joint airstrikes against Yemen (10:25); North Korea trades arms for food with Russia (11:54); in Sudan, military groups block aid shipments to Darfur (14:13); a new date is set for a presidential election in Senegal (15:58); a Ukraine War update (19:04); Sweden’s NATO accession is finally ratified (26:08); Colombia reopens talks with the ELN (28:29); NORAD intercepts a new balloon (29:55).

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Protesters hold a huge banner reading "We Are Taking Abortion Pills Forever" in front of the Supreme Court.

Demonstrators protest in front of the Supreme Court as the justices hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Abortion will be one of the top issues in the 2024 presidential race and will also be crucial for control of the Senate and House of Representatives. The good news for Democrats is that the public is four-square pro-choice. The battle over abortion has energized Democratic voters and helped the party consistently outperform for the last two years. The bad news for Democrats is that Joe Biden is, at best, a reluctant warrior on the issue.

Writing in The Guardian, Moira Donegan looked at Biden’s history on reproductive freedom and his continued preference for a nonconfrontational approach to the issue.

I spoke to Moira about this and we had a wide-ranging conversation on how the politics of abortion have changed and about the dangers of having a party leader who doesn’t voice the passion of the base. A columnist for the Guardian, Moira is a frequent guest of the podcast. As always, she brings a fierce clarity to the topic on hand.

The Nation Podcasts
The Nation Podcasts

Here's where to find podcasts from The Nation. Political talk without the boring parts, featuring the writers, activists and artists who shape the news, from a progressive perspective.

From McCarthyism to Citizens United | The Time of Monsters
byThe Nation Magazine

The mathematician Chandler Davis, who died in 2002 at age 96, was one of the notable victims of the second Red Scare. In 1960, Davis was sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to answer questions about his membership in the Communist Party. Davis’s lawyers defended him with the innovative legal argument that the First Amendment barred such questioning. While Davis lost in the courts, his legal battles were still an important effort in a larger battle to extend the parameters on political speech. Davis’s story is told in a new book, The Prosecution of Professor Chandler Davis by Steve Batterson. Siobhan Robert’s obituary for Davis ran in The Nation.

On this episode of The Time of Monsters, I talked to journalist Doug Bell, who knew Chandler Davis, about this book and Davis’s larger place in history. We take up the history of anti-communism and how it has limited free speech, the legal philosophy of Alexander Meiklejohn, and the reactionary Supreme Court's use of the First Amendment to expand corporate power.  

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Jeet Heer

Jeet Heer is a national affairs correspondent for The Nation and host of the weekly Nation podcast, The Time of Monsters. He also pens the monthly column “Morbid Symptoms.” The author of In Love with Art: Francoise Mouly’s Adventures in Comics with Art Spiegelman (2013) and Sweet Lechery: Reviews, Essays and Profiles (2014), Heer has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The American Prospect, The GuardianThe New Republic, and The Boston Globe.

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