The Reckoning

Romney Wins! (Playing the Contrarian Card)

kid with electoral map

So easy, a child can do it!

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/GettyImages

Back in the 1980s, Mike Lupica, the great Daily News sports writer, was asked by someone how he could pick the New York Rangers to win hockey’s Stanley Cup year-in, year-out. After all, the questioner went on, the Rangers had not won hockey’s championship since 1940 - the famous chant fans of other teams, particularly the upstart New York Islanders, taunted us with for most of my youth.”Nine-Teen_Four-Tee.” I can still hear it.

Lupica said his choice was based on one simple dynamic: the law of averages. “Someday, the Rangers are going to win the Stanley Cup and I’ll look like a genius.” It took until 1994, but he was right (though not since).


Something similar happened in the world of finance today. The Gartmen Letter, most likely, is not something readers of State are familiar with. Written by global markets analyst Dennis Gartman since well before Lupica’s prediction came true, it’s a particular flavor of “required reading” among the brokers, bankers and strategists of the City of London.


This morning, Gartman pulled a page out of Lupica’s Daily News column and predicted a Romney victory tomorrow. Not only a Romney victory, in fact, but one the former Mass. Gov. cruises to handily.

Publicity stunt? Sure, probably some of that - he got a lot of it in the financial press, genetically engineered to pray for the advent of the first Mormon presidency. But I suspect Gartman, whose views on global capital markets I deeply respect, is also having some fun here. Like Lupika, Gartman knows that if the glum, disheartened readers of his stories morning note wake up to a Romney administration tomorrow, his call will be put on par with Nouriel Roubini’s 2005 prediction of the global financial crisis or Babe Ruth’s promise to hit three home runs for little Johnny Sylvester, a hospitalized 11-year-old.


But there are plenty of Tea Leaf readers making Romney victory predictions. Michael Barone, for one. Peggy Noonan another. Why is Gartman different?

Well, because he has a track record of being right about a lot of other things.

Having said that, he also has a track record of being pretty funny in some of his newsletters, and he goes on to admit he could be terribly wrong on this one. Here is his analysis in a nutshell:


1) Jimmy Carter had a 2-to-3 percent lead on Ronald Reagan at this point in 1980 and Carter lost.

2) That Obama has lost the “hearts and minds” of many segments of his 2008 winning coalition, including Catholics, small business owners and “Reagan Democrats.” Enough will vote for Romney, or not turn up at all, to give it to Mitt.

3) That pollsters and pundits, even over 147 years after the Civil War, are underestimating the advantage a white candidate (who isn’t John McCain) has running against an African-American candidate.

What do I think? Rangers in four games. But for tomorrow, Obama 302, Romney 236. And it doesn’t take much of a genius to see it, either.