Smug Contrarian

Aaron Wicks at the Smugtown Beacon points out that Republican Congressional candidates got shellacked in the towns of the new NY-25 in 2008, by a factor of 63-37%, better than the roughly 60-40% Obama-McCain margin, and he thinks that’s good news for Republicans. His argument is that if there were a better Republican challenger, the margin would be tighter.

That’s true, but Wicks looks at these numbers, which are horrible for Republicans no matter how you slice them, and asserts that Brooks will win by an enormous 54-46% margin. No reasonable analyst has this race anywhere near there–all the services that charge money think this election tilts towards Slaughter and Brooks could at best edge her out in a hard-fought battle. Should we pay attention to Wicks?

My take is no, and here’s my reasoning: There are two kinds of contrarians. The first listens to the conventional wisdom, looks at the facts, and points out how they support a different conclusion. This type of contrarian is worth your attention, since they aren’t just reflexively saying “up” when everyone else says “down” to get your attention. The second type of contrarian is someone who looks at the facts, ignores them, and listens to his gut. As Stephen Colbert says about the gut’s role in logic, “I trust it so much, it’s where I put all my food.” In other words, Wicks probably could be trusted with a cheeseburger, but I don’t think I’ll trust his take on this election.