SElection Day marks the end of this interminable campaign, though not the issues that drive it or, one hopes, the electorate's interest in politics. To help me mark the time, former Jezebel Moe Tkacik takes a break from running up and down the East Coast and hobnobbing with the intellectual elites and a Congressman or two to hit up the elections, the financial crisis, the housing crisis and the great Ponzi scheme that was our financial system. Oh, yeah, and that elections thing.MOE: Ok so THAT was fun... economic indicator time! I'm sitting in Starbucks and I had resigned myself to paying $10 for a crappy TMobile session, when it turns out they've changed Wifi partners and now AT&T is offering 2 hour blocks for $3.99, the price of a soy latte! How times change, okay, and speaking of Starbucks I think I'm going to be watching the returns in Boston with Barney Frank if anyone's interested in showing up to that. Dixville Notch will already be in bed natch! Landslide for Obama up there! Oh and did I mention that before I hit Boston I have to go to Philadelphia to cast my vote? And then the crappy AT&T Wifi service crapped out. MEGAN: So you worked out the registration issue that got screwed up from the primaries? Good! Also, that sounds like quite the fun day of train rides, culminating with watching election returns with a seated Congressman. I will be live blogging for Jezebel. In preparation for it, last night I stopped by the grocery store and bought: 2 bottles of Guenoc Petite Sirah, one of cava, a six pack of beer and a bag of chips. I might have a friend over, or not if I don't feel like sharing. I'm already craving the salty chips. MOE: Now I'm stealing Wifi and it is working better than the Wifi I legitimately clicked the "Terms & Conditions" box and PAID for. Yeah I called the hotline last night. They told me my polling place was at 23rd and Fitzwater! MEGAN: Mine is around the corner, and has been for the last 5 years. MOE: Yeah but you have to stand in line right? In Philly polling places are so small you rarely have to stand in line. It's like a few thousand Dixville Notches. MEGAN: Well, I didn't wait in a line until 2006, when it was an hour wait in the morning and I gave up and decided to come back later but you should have seen the looks I got from people. I then managed to get caught in a deluge which caused three car accidents on the way home from work, ran into the polling place with 2 minutes to spare and there wasn't a line at all. I assume that, even though I will be voting mid-day, there will be a line. We are a swing state and all. MOE: Hey so it turns out that the AT&T network just can't handle its traffic today. A guy came up to me and just informed me of this. MEGAN: Great. It's like voting in a swing state, all fucked up. By the way, within the first 90 minutes of voting in Virginia, not one but two cities in Virginia were already having problems. MOE: And we're back, on Gchat this time. Good thing I'm not voting by internet right?? MEGAN: I'm sure they'd find a way to make that even more fucked up than the system already is. And the system is pretty fucked up. MOE: So, okay, there are many things to discuss. Many many things. And yet the whole topic feels so exhausted. Yesterday Rachel Maddow had Tim Pawlenty on her show and started grilling him about why McCain wasn't closing up the campaign by going out for Republican congressional candidates etc. etc. and you could tell even she wanted to tell herself to just give it a rest. MEGAN: That's going to be a question a lot of Republicans start asking tomorrow, when the Dems are, at a minimum, in the high 50s in the Senate and way, way down in the House. I mean, $150,000 is a lot of radio ad time in, say, Tulsa. MOE: Yeah, well, sure, but the Republican Party has bigger problems than that. As David Brooks captures. Contempt for government turns out to breed bad government! Which Republican Senators are losing btw? I haven't been paying attention ever since I sort of started to inherit Barney Frank's Senatitis. MEGAN: Oh, gosh, Ted Stevens in Alaska, Liddy Dole in North Carolina and John Sununu in New Hampshire, for starters. MOE: Right, I knew about them. MEGAN: And then possibly Mitch McConnell, Roger Wicker, Saxby Chambliss and Norm Coleman. MOE: I went to a Democratic dinner in NH with BF. Interestingly his favorite person in government is a longtime Dole loyalist, Sheila Bair of the FDIC. Have you written about her? There are few heroes in this financial crisis, but a wildly disproportionate number of them are heroines and she's one. (Also: Brooksley Born, Meredith Whitney, possibly Zoe Cruz.) MEGAN: No, I have been all politics, all the time! Also, I forgot Gordon Smith in Oregon, because one generally always does. And there are 3 vacancies that the Republicans expect will be Democratic pick-ups. By the way, in case you were curious, Obama's grandmother's absentee ballot will be counted. Countdown to inappropriate Republican comment about a Chicago politician and dead people voting: T minus 2 minutes and counting. MOE: Well I was going to say if you read one thing read this, but actually, just read that, people, it's nothing you don't sort of know about the crisis but it's horrifying nonetheless. There are parts of California where people who have been paying their mortgages for three and four years have been simultaneously watching their balances and monthly payments balloon while the values of their houses shrink to less than half their balances. It's insane. And anyone who buys, even to a teensy degree, the notion that "people without jobs were getting houses" and that's what got us here, ughhhhh. MEGAN: Well, but, rich white people don't do things like that! The Wall Street Journal is biased! Of course it was the minorities! How can Ann Coulter be wrong??!! MOE: What actually happened was people, in particular Hispanic people, were signing on to mortgages with such hair-raisingly exploitative terms it makes no sense in any fractionally-logical universe that anyone would extend such a loan. If not for the fact that none of the mortgage lenders actually every had to keep track of who they were lending to or whether they were paying! MEGAN: Well, and the fact that some brokers weren't exactly good at things like "disclosure" and "layman's terms" and "honesty" and "integrity." MOE: Yeah but forget honesty and integrity, I'm talking logical working capitalism here. I am a cynic, I am a skeptic, I sometimes call myself a Marxist, but the more I read about it the level of corruption and internal destructiveness allowed by the current system is actually astonishing. MEGAN: Well, but ask Adam Smith, the basis of capitalism was supposed to be honesty and integrity. Without it, of course the system doesn't function. You can't have a functional market economy if it's all a zero-sum game of fucking over the other guy with every transaction, and trying to minimize the amount you get fucked over. People do business with one another assuming that they will get what they pay for, and that they will be paid. If that goes away, there's no longer an incentive to do honest business and it just devolves into chaos. MOE: Well that's the invisible hand. Adam Smith never anticipated the credit default swap is one problem. And here's another thing: I really hate it when Republicans — notably Larry Lindsey, who I talked to the other day and is otherwise a stand-up guy — say stuff like "Don't buy stuff you don't understand…" A bigger part of this crisis — AIG — is that none of the SELLERS of this stuff understood what they were SELLING. In many cases the buyers knew better. And McCain — at the end of the day, he didn't need to pander to the base, which is what has been so sad about this. But better I suppose. It's almost as if their inane resurrection of Reagan era code words and talking points was in the cards all along, so we could sort of definitively put it all to bed. Although they are still screaming about socialism on CNBC. MEGAN: If no one bought things they didn't understand, no one would invest their 401k's in the stock market in the first place. MOE: What % of the Latin vote is going for Obama this time around? MEGAN: McCain's numbers are down in the high teens, so I think 70-80 percent. MEGAN: The Latino community isn't so keen on the Republican's "kick them all out" immigration policy. MOE: That wasn't McCain's policy, poor guy. Too bad he couldn't remind any of them of that! MEGAN: He could've reminded them of that, only he had to pander to the base that feels differently, so he pandered and then couldn't pivot. MOE: Oh here's something about the strategic importance of Hispanic voters. And, not to belabor but the stock market was not the problem here. The stock market is like tic tac toe compared to the securities that caused this. MEGAN: Well, but the point I was making was not whether stocks were the problem, it's that it was a stupid point. People buy stuff every day they don't understand. MOE: Hispanics and youngs really got in at the tail end of this debt Ponzi. No, it's a stupid point, but it also has no validity whatsoever.
Submitted discussions can be approved by the author or users followed by this blog.