Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Friday, March 26, 2004

"Dogs know what to do with polls" - John Diefenbaker

During the federal election campaign, I'm not going to report on polls for poll's sake. I will not play the "who's ahead, who's behind" game. That shouldn't be what the campaign is about - election day is the only poll I'm interested to see.

But there still should be some horserace-style excitement, shouldn't there? Hey, I'm happy to help out any way I can.

Introducing the "Revmod Gaffe-o-metre" (Canadian spelling, eh?). Few of us will admit it, of course, but some election coverage comes from the same place as motor sports coverage - sure, it's fun to watch the candidates circle around, and I guess there's some sort of race involved, but wouldn't it be exciting to watch a huge crash? Wasn't the highlight of the 1993 federal election hearing Kim Campbell declare that a campaign was no time to talk about policy? Didn't we all titter at hearing Stockwell Day send the Niagara River's water flowing upstream? And who didn't love Gilles Duceppe's little hairnet-thingy (oh, for a photo to link!)?

The Gaffe-o-meter will be here to measure those crashes, providing you with your daily dose of schadenfreude. Scoring will be based on the following formula:

(prominence of committer of gaffe)*(significance of gaffe) = GaffePoints
So, yes, that means any candidate for any of the four major parties is eligible to be recognized as a "gaffer" (not to be confused with the honourable and respected profession of lighting movie sets). For the leader, something as simple as staging a photo op on a jet-ski will be noticed, but hardly election-impacting, so Layton's score there would be (Prom=3)*(Sig=1)= 3. On the other hand, if some no-chance-to-win schmuck running in rural Manitoba starts sharing his ideas about how Hitler's Final Solution was ahead of its time, the calculation would be the opposite: (Prom=1)*(Sig=3)=3.

But more than just scorekeeping the gaffes of the thousand-odd candidates and campaign workers screwing up for your entertainment, there will also be a contest. Pick the final score for each of the four parties, and the closest prediction will win some political swag I can dig out of my storage closet.

I will be the final assigner of scores for individual gaffes, though I'll be attempting to recruit someone from the other end of the political spectrum to review my decisions and confirm to me that I'm not just judging out of my assumptions. Even still, arguments over my scoring are encouraged - I didn't set up the new comment server for nothing.

In the next few days, I'll be posting my own predictions, and perhaps a fancy graphic to represent the running score. I'll figure out a fair way to take entries, I'll publish the Revmod Gaffe-o-metre to the election blog, and I'll open the contest.

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