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

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Year in review - if by "year", you mean the last week and a bit

Mike "Keep 'em laughing" Klander. The name strikes hilarity in the hearts of none. Well, laughing at, perhaps. He compared Olivia Chow to a Chow Chow dog. Get it? Get it? Stephen Taylor has a nice collection of Klanderisms from the blog before it came down. He also way overestimates the importance of this guy. An executive vice president of the provincial wing of a federal party is no one. I bet you couldn't name me one other, for any party, off the top of your head, unless you're deeply involved in that party. There are some candidates I won't give a prominence of two, so this guy sure doesn't get one. Some in the comments have argued that his resignation was a big splash, but again, he only became prominent because of the gaffe. His pre-gaffe prominence was essentially zero, though a (prom)0 wouldn't produce much of a score. The error in judgment, though, was really dumb and high profile, and was made worse by being committed to print instead of muttered at a meeting. (Prom)1 x (Sig)3 = three for the Liberals.

I find it much harder to judge David Emerson's alleged "boiled dog's head smile" comment, though. Should Cantonese insults be judged by Cantonese cultural norms? Even if the comment was made by a European, about a European, in English? (I'm told, for instance, that "chicken thief" is pretty derogatory. If I had a dollar for every time someone called me "chicken thief" at a poker table, in what I suspect is Cantonese... well, in fact I do, because it's when I've just taken down a pot with a bet. I have several dollars for each occasion. I digress.) The fact that this wasn't even a comment made publicly, but was an aside to a party operative who in turn blogged it, clinches it. I should have listed this one with the other blanks on Thursday. No score. Maybe some points for David Emerson knowing what a boiled dog's head looks like. Call me culturally relativistic, but eww.

Finally, Oakville Liberal riding association president Elie Betito telling a constituent to take her "gun-loving ass" back to the US. A nobody, a quick resignation. 1x1=1.

Did I miss any? I think I got them all. But I'm sure my alert readers will let me know if I've missed a personal favourite. And I have yet to check my gaffe report e-mail, so I might find another jewel or two yet. Scores above and summary below will be updated later today.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Holiday gaffe roundup

Break time's over. Let's start with the "gaffes" that I'm not giving any score for.

First up, the Holocaust memorial photo. As near as I've been able to tell, the photo was never used to attempt to prove the thesis that Tories are in bed with separatists; rather, it was a convenient photo to illustrate a pamphlet arguing that point. Anyone who's ever played with clip art, who has ever designed one of these things, will know how unimportant the context of the photo is. The designer doesn't much care, the readers don't much care, and the only people who might notice are the original photographer or illustrator and the characters in the photo. No score. I'm half-tempted to give the Tories a few points for even complaining about this, rather that, say, responding to the allegation. But only half.

The other blank going up is related to the income trust issue. Should Goodale have resigned already? Probably. Will Paul Martin be wearing this albatross around his neck right to the finish line? Certainly. But is it a "gaffe" in the sense of saying or doing something obviously stupid? No. Crime is not a gaffe. Unless it was Lorne Nystrom accidentally lifting a bottle of contact lens solution. I'd totally gaffe that.

Coming up tomorrow: some actual score changes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A quick aside

The holiday gaffe roundup is being prepared, but something came to my attention that cried for a more immediate post. I spotted Tom Green on a commercial. On CPAC. An ad for CPAC.

Tom certainly is searching out a new audience, isn't he? I'm sure I and at least one other of the dozen people who saw the ad will run out for the director's cut of Freddy Got Fingered right away.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Festivus!

And now, the Airing of Grievences. Wait a minute - we're bloggers. Every day is Festivus!

Anyway, yes, I realize there is at least one outstanding gaffe. It'll be scored when I return to Edmonton. In the meantime, enjoy your Christmas. And please remember, it's not too late to pick up that last-minute gift.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Talking about Americans

Via Calgary Grit, I see that Stephen Taylor noticed that the Liberal "Standing up for Canada" ads were produced before the diplomatic row with the United States. He concludes the row itself must have been orchestrated.

I think this might be a bit of a logical jump. Really, I would have expected that if the point of the ads was to be negative without actually being negative (The Liberals defend medicare, the Liberals defend the Charter, the Liberals stand up to big bad Bush - all leaving the implication that the Conservative Party does not), there would be one like this in the can already. Or, if not an ad in the can, at least the quotes ready to be strung together into a commercial. And it can hardly be considered particularly Machiavellian if they rushed that ad to air.

It doesn't matter that the diplomatic battle highlighted this theme. The theme had to be one the Liberals were expecting to pursue regardless. I'm not saying that Paul Martin didn't do anything to bring this on, or that the Liberals don't welcome the theme. There are other pieces of evidence that suggest they took intentional steps to provoke the fight. But ultimately, I can't imagine that they imagined they'd draw the White House, not to mention some slow-witted American commentators, into the mix.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Christmas Wish

It's another cold day in Edmonton, leading me to believe that the party that gets my vote may be the one that recommits to the friendly annexation of the Turks and Caicos Islands. There might be nothing like a winter election to reignite this hot issue.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Not just because he quoted me in it

2004 Gaffe contest winner James Bow considers the possibility of an informal Conservative/NDP coalition government.
Debate format debate

Gilles Duceppe has decided that he doesn't care for the debate format. I think he might be speaking selfishly - after all, most of his points can be made with a single word: "Gomery". Other candidates have more complex thoughts that they may want to express. Was this format the right one? No - the candidates hardly had time to engage an issue in any detail. But then again, they didn't want to engage some of the topics raised in any detail, and rarely did they want to say anything beyond the platform points.

I prefer the new format, or would if the leaders would take the opportunity to engage each other on their ideas. You saw that happen a couple of times during the debate, but it tended to be only on the broadest strokes: "You won't take away my Canada!" More often, you saw a distinct lack of engagement. Harper said he wouldn't use s.33 on any gay marriage prevention legislation, Martin insisted that there'd be no way around using s.33, and that therefore, Harper intended to. What would a real debate look like? Martin would be able to ask directly, which takes precedence? Avoiding the use of the notwithstanding clause, or avoiding gay marriages? Martin could likewise be challenged: what if there was a way around? What if the Conservatives could come up with legislation ending gay marriage without offending the Charter? Would he support it? Does Mr. Martin support gay marriage or just Charter rights?

How do we get these sorts of cross-examinations without descending into the yelly non-answer format we had last time around?

How about this for a format: we'll use the Abraham Lincoln / Stephen Douglas debates as a guide. One candidate will have an hour, the second candidate will have 90 minutes, and the first candidate will have half an hour in rebuttal. I recognize that this was one of the shorter formats Lincoln and Douglas used, but we must make allowances for modern audiences. Now, since we have four leaders, we'd need six of these debates in series (one for each pair), but I'm sure Canadians can spend that amount of time and concentration on a decision they'll be complaining about for the next few years.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

John Spencer, 1946-2005

In noting the passing of John Spencer, some people have been recalling lines from the West Wing that he delivered with so much subtle emotional heft, they became much greater than the words on the page. But for me, the essential John Spencer moment, the moment I recognized how much skill he brought to the role, came at the end of the penultimate episode of season two. Having just been informed of the death of the President's friend and primary receptionist, chief-of-staff Leo McGarry walks the porch from the Oval Office to the President's Residence to tell him. Over the course of that walk, a dozen steps over twenty seconds, Spencer manages, not even so much to sag with the shock and sadness (which would be the less subtle way to go about it), but to seemingly shrink within his suit.

The West Wing, in the early seasons, succeeded largely because the cast brought the gravitas to pull off what would have been, in lesser hands, far too laboured. John Spencer led that charge, bringing to life a character with issues that never overwhelmed but were always present.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Thanks, Rex Murphy

The erudite Globe columnist opens his column with the phrase "Beer and popcorn, eh?", sustaining Scott Reid's six-pointer. Was there ever any fear it would be otherwise?

Also in the Globe today, online edition this time, three editorialists discuss the debate as it goes on.
Sean Fine, 9:11 p.m.: I can't wait to see whom the media dub the winner of this debate.
Yes, indeed, prominent member of the media. I wonder who "they'll" dub the winner? I sure hope you get the memo in time. You don't want to seem out of step with the herd mentality. Why this fascination with determining a winner, instead of examining the positions?

I'm being overly harsh; there were some decent observations in there. But personally, I preferred Calgary Grit's overview.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Important - vitally important - debate notes.

Did anyone else find the dry humour of "Mr. Martin, do you have any Atlantic Canadian roots?" hilarious? No? Just me, then?

Note to self: less beer and popcorn during the Leader's "debate".
One quick pre-debate note

Before we get going, I just want to point out that I'm not one of those who was desperate to see yet one more leader added to the debate. However, two arguments have convinced me. First, Jim Harris is spending our money on this campaign, since the Greens surpassed the threshold that gets them their per-vote election funding grant. The better argument I heard last night in a feature on the debate format, and on debates past: what are we doing inviting Gilles Duceppe to the English debate? I could vote for a Green come January 23, but I have no chance of casting a ballot for a local BQ candidate.

Sorry, Jim, but I guess we're going to keep Duceppe around to play the part of Robot Wars house robot (and a tip of the hat to Bear for that metaphor - wish I could find the appropriate post), beating the crap out of everyone else with no stake of his own in the debate.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Constant Improvement for 100% Visitor Experience

You've asked for it, and while I can't decide if it's useful or just another ugly scar on an already pretty garish site, you've got it. Let me know if the marquee of the score sources is useful, interesting, or has you covering your computer screen with your electronic light pen input hi-tech expensive editing device.

Edited to add, Friday evening: I've heard enough, the scroll is gone. To check the individual items that appeared on the scroll, go to the bottom of the page.
Headlines of the overly panicky

Many people are concerned about the U.S. Ambassador's words about candidates (okay, Martin) using the United States as an electoral straw man, to be kicked about for the purpose of scoring points. I'm far less concerned, since the United States government is welcome to say what it wishes; likewise, we are equally able to ignore the advice.

What concerns me right now is the headline I found on this morning's National Post: U.S. 'intervention' decried.

Notwithstanding the quotation marks, the comments by Ambassador Wiltfong Wolfgang Wilkins can hardly be called an "intervention". If the United States intervenes in a Canadian election, you'll be able to tell by the tanks in the streets and the Diebold voting machines.
Wilkins, Williams, Wilson, Wendigo, Wumplestiltskin...?

Paul Martin got all name-confused. Then the Conservative website got confused about what name the Prime Minsiter misspoke.

But really, who cares? Are either of these errors likely to change a single vote anywhere in the country? Maybe a few, as part of a cumulative effect of becoming concerned about the Prime Minister's clarity of mind. But this error specifically? I can't imagine it.

I set the precident last election, and I stand behind it: no gaffe points for Mumbly-Joeisms. I gave in a little when Martin vascillated between losing and saving the country, but that one worked into a certain suspicion that some of us have about Paul Martin. That's as far as I go.

As for the Tory response, well, they got to look a little foolish as well, but this is even more minor than Martin's error. No points. They'll all have opportunity enough to run the score over the next two evenings.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dressing down

So David Wilkins took a strip off the Prime Minister for Yank-bashing. It's okay, though - he's already proving himself much more diplomatic than his predecessor:
"It's easy to criticize the United States; we're an easy target at times," Wilkins said. "But the last time I looked, the United States was not on the ballot." (italics mine, seeing as this was a speech and all.)
And with that sentence fragment, the new Ambassador just proved himself more self-aware, and aware of his host country than Paul Celluci did in five years here.

I started to write a reimagining of the speech as Celluci would have delivered it, but couldn't get any farther than "Hey, Dirtbags!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

More curling news

I was happy to see an Alberta team get to the Olympics after all. I wasn't sad to see Russ Howard get there, either. But mostly, I was thrilled to see some Americans being made to wear helmets, in order to throw a rock. Kids, a hint for next time: you're actually supposed to put a spin on them. And the brooms? Not just for show.

Yeah, so it's not election politics. Sue me. I needed a break, and so, evidentially, did the candidates... quiet day.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Okay, one more gaffe-related post today.

From today's entry in Feschuk's blog:
I want to thank the many loyal blog readers who have sent in witty and/or hostile remarks in relation to the unfortunate "beer and popcorn" commentary by my good friend Scott Reid, who is sitting next to me on the plane at this moment and who just now made me write the whole "good friend" part - which, between you and me, is completely bogus in the sense that now he is a total social leper and I have every intention of cutting the poor bugger loose. (To gauge from my inbox, public opinion is currently evenly divided on Scott's comment, with half of people describing him as an "idiot" and the other half defiantly insisting he is a "complete idiot".)
I think we can say for certain now: not a flog, or this would have been ignored completely.
Gaffe weekend round-up, final part: homosexual sex marriages leave me old and confused. (C-7, L-17, BQ-3, ND-1)

Catching up on the post from last week:

The discussion in the comments, and my fast gaffing of Scott Reid, holding the equivalent position in the PMO, has convinced me that John Embury holds a political, not a civil service, position. (Prom)1 by (sig)2 = two more for the old and confused Liberals.

As much as I'd like to score the Anders crime / crystal meth / homosexual sex marriage mailer, I can't. I haven't been able to confirm that it was sent during the writ (though I've certainly seen enough to convince me that MPs were given a certain amount of time to get out last mailings, and that several used that opportunity to send out their Christmas cards, after the writ was dropped). More importantly, it probably wasn't a gaffe at all. It was goofy to most of us, but for some of the residents of Richmond, there's nothing like a good scare tactic to keep them voting Tory. In fact, having the "survey" sent out by Anders might have been ingenious central Tory party strategy - appeal to SoCons while having the distance to say "There goes Anders again. What a dope! But a seat's a seat."
Gaffe weekend round-up part four: Nothing goes so well with beer than pasta. Except popcorn, of course.

Staying with the Heritage Ministry, it was suggested by a few readers that I score something for the BQ, because candidate Thierry St-Cyr suggested that Liberal candidate and current Heritage Minister Liza Frulla "...has nothing more to contribute to public debate than her recipe for spaghetti sauce."

Like the misinterpretation of Feschuk's Omni line, a political opponent looking to take a piece out of the BQ suggested that this is a slur at Italian-Canadians, or women, or both. In fact, it alludes to a specific thing: a recipe she distributed in a calendar she gave to constituents. St-Cyr is suggesting Frulla is a useless MP. That's what candidates often do. No points.
Gaffe weekend round-up part three: apparently, it's wrong to suggest that Quebec needs Canada (C-7, L-15, BQ-3, ND-1)

When I ran provincially, one of the other candidates was running for the Alberta Separation Party. He argued at a forum that Albertans send - I don't remember his exact number, but let's say a zillion - a zillion dollars to Ottawa in taxation. The rest of his points during the debate sprang from that first contention: if only we had the zillion dollars back, we could give every Albertan his or her own MRI machine; give post-secondary students free tuition, books, room and board, clothing, and computer equipment; and put a public library anywhere two or three people gather in Alberta's name. The gap in the argument is obvious - we have services in Alberta provided by the federal government, and international commitments an independent Alberta would have to provide for itself. Those might not eat up the full zillion, but if there was a net financial benefit, well, "net" is the key word.

Liberal candidate Helene Chalifour-Scherrer (forgive the misaccenting of her name, but accented characters don't always show up as they should on all browsers, as I discovered any time I blogged the former Prime Minister), member of the Privy Council and former Minister of Heritage, described Quebec as a "very poor province" which requires transfer payments to make ends meet. "Make ends meet" might have been a bit strong, since I'm sure an independent Quebec could manage, if not as comfortably, but Madame Chalifour-Scherrer was speaking the objective truth that Quebec receives a net financial benefit as a result of being part of the Confederation. I'm not complaining. Alberta has been on both sides of that fence, and anyway, though Quebec takes from the country financially, Canada would be much poorer for Quebec's absence.

This is where I notice the cultural difference between Quebec and Alberta. I don't generally think of speaking the objective truth as a gaffe. But, apparently, her comments have been added to the long list of emotional humiliations that Quebec has had to endure since September 13, 1759. And by adding to that list, she has inadvertently reminded voters of that list, and fueled anti-federalist (and therefore anti-Liberal) sentiment. The BQ (and Tories) had a good old time piling on. As a result, she apologised.

I won't pretend to understand it all. She acknowledged it was a gaffe. Ergo, gaffe points. (Sig)1 x (prom)2 = two more for the red team.
Gaffe weekend round-up part two: How dumb is Brian Pallister? (C-7, L-13, BQ-3, ND-1)

Former leadership candidate. Former Minister in Gary Filmon's cabinet. Current Conservative critic for National Revenue. Potential future Premier of Manitoba.

In short, the man has a resume that should provide him with enough political savvy to not declare his public indecision about leaving federal politics for a shot at the Manitoba Tory leadership "a woman's answer".

Dimwit. But getting little national play. (Sig)1 x (Prom)2 = two more for Cowboy Steve's team.

(Scores at the top of the page will be updated once I'm done playing catch-up and have some totals.)
Gaffe weekend round-up part one: reconsidering Sunday's score

I'm trying to keep my weekends mostly to myself, but all the errors seem to get made late in the week. Last night, I felt the need to post Scott Reid's blunder, and as the Calgary Grit argued, I may have overestimated the significance. What can I say? I was recovering from a Saturday night beer-and-popcorn bender. Thank goodness they started licensing movie theatres!

Anyway, to set up an objective marker, I've hearkened back to John Hnatyshyn's now-defunct Newsmaker Pool, an early inspiration for what's become the Probably Nearly Annual for the Foreseeable Future RevMod Election Gaffe-o-Meter Prediction Contest. This coming Saturday, I will scan the front section of the Globe and Mail for any reference to "beer and popcorn". If none exists, I will roll the score on Reid's error back to 2x2 = 4. However, if the phrase can survive a week's news cycle including two debates, the 2x3 will stand.

Scott Reid's resignation or firing in the meantime will likewise allow the 2x3 to stand.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Where's my "beer and popcorn" grant? (C-5, L-13, BQ-3, ND-1)

I have to express a little bit of surprise. What Scott Reid should have said was that parents will spend their Tory day care grants on beer and popcorn - which was already covered in one of the 11th hour spending announcements in the days before the writ.

However, he stopped at the "beer and popcorn" part. This one's easy. Scott Reid, as the PM's Communications Director, is a serious player: prom = 2. And this may be, as commenter "craigers" suggested, the defining gaffe of the election. This was serious and stupid. We're in three country. Total, six.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dude, why you gettin' all up in my grill? You are totally harshing my mellow.

I complained earlier this week about the Conservative Flog, but I neglected to mention there's a youth blog, too. I should come clear - I am many years too old to be considered a youth in any particular party. For all I know, the Youth-o-Bot author might just have his or her finger on the pulse with this post:
The beatniks on my campus might have their bongo drums and dreadlocks, but my party has the plans to get them the affordable education that we all want.
Yeah! Screw those beatniks! I'm voting for Dief!
The gaffe-watch army

I almost feel as if I should pass on control of this blog to my smart and attentive commenters and e-mailers, who are catching more good stuff than I ever would have.

First off today is Finance Ministry Communications Director John Embury calling the media representative of a seniors' rights group, Bill Gleberzon, "Old and confused". That's some slick media relations, all right! Unfortunately, it's unclear to me at this point if Embury can really be called a representative of the Liberal party, thus assigning the points there, or if he's a civil servant of the sort who would remain even should the government change, in which case those points would have to be assigned to a whole new team. (Does anyone have a photo of the flag looking goofy?) So I'll be reserving judgment on this one for now.

The other victim for today (should I simply say, "so far"?) is Calgary MP Rob Anders. Rob's Parliamentary office sent out a survey to Richmond, asking constituents - not his constituents, but constituents - questions, nominally about crime, that scream "push poll". It includes the soon-to-be-classic: "Do you support homosexual sex marriage?"

Again, I find myself reserving judgment. (Not about the homosexual sex marriage. I'm all for the homosexual sex marriage. Heterosexual sex marriages, as well. Sex marriages are all good.) First off, it was mailed by Rob Anders, MP, not Rob Anders, candidate. That suggests that the mailing had to come out pre-writ, unless the MP in question was exceptionally arrogant and dimwitted. Wait a minute.....

Giving Anders the benefit of the doubt there, believing that he wouldn't abuse his Parliamentary priveleges to send out junk like this during the writ period, means no points. My judgment will be reserved while I delve more deeply. Something about this story doesn't scan.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Just to be clear

Readers are asking about it, so I thought it was time to respond. The Income Trusts leak story is in no way a "gaffe". It might be a campaign-sinking revelation, a painful reinforcement of the crooked image of Liberals coming out of Gomery (Advice to Ralph Goodale: I kind of like you. Save yourself. Call the police, already!), and a Christmas gift to Stephen Harper (Do you wonder why you haven't heard the Tories crowing about this, yet? Wait for the serious part of the campaign, right about Jan 2. The Conservatives don't want to waste this one). But in no way can it be trivialized or written off as a "gaffe". No points for criminal masterminds or victims of crime, whichever the Liberals might be on this one. (I suspect there will turn out to be a few of each.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

On the board (C-5, L-7, BQ-3, ND-1)

Calling your opponent a Nazi is pretty dumb. Saying you're a fan of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro is not a whole bunch smarter.

Admittedly, Leo-Paul Lauzon is a candidate you're never going to hear of ever again. As an NDP candidate in Quebec, he wasn't exactly risking the seat with his declaration of solidarity with a couple of Heroes of the Revolution. But he's representing the NDP, and this sort of talk reflects the worst images of the NDP as radical left-wingers, even as the NDP has been working to stake out a huge piece of the centre. Quite aside from judgments of either Chavez or Castro, I think we can all, left and right, agree: any of the four federal leaders in Canada would poll higher. Hell, throw Jim Harris into that, too. I'm taking a stand, here: the Green Party could take Fidel Castro in a Canadian federal election.

A political nobody says something dull-witted that won't stick to the party in any real way. (Sig)1 x (Prom)1 means the NDP finally goes up on the big board, despite Layton's smart reversal on the Clarity Act. (Thank you, Jack, for your smart reversal on Clarity. I feel much more comfortable casting a ballot for the NDP. Or would, if I wasn't in Edmonton Centre. As it is, I have a decision to make.)

Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Trevor Mangion for spotting this gaffe. Now someone find me a picture of Layton that isn't him on the bike at the pride parade - it's hilarious, but useless as a headshot.
So much for Alberta sending their own team to the Olympics

I've heard tell that some new rules have made hockey more exciting this year, but haven't had cause to discover that first-hand. Really, once I heard "shoot-out", I decided I could wait for the playoffs, if then. Long time readers of this page know that even before the strike, I had thrown hockey over in favour of Canada's other national sport that's played on a near-frictionless surface, curling.

With four losses in the Olympic trials, and barring some sort of "miracle on ice", Randy Ferbey's rink, the rink that has dominated men's curling for the entire 21st century, will not be representing Canada at the Winter Olympics. Neither did they represent Canada in 2002. I can't imagine they'll still be together in 2010.

I was never a huge fan of the Ferbey rink. I always rolled my eyes at the concept of the skip throwing third stones. But here I am, an Edmontonian now, and I can't bring myself to cheer for the Eskimos or Oilers. This was a local team I could convince myself to get behind. I suppose I'll have to keep praying for that Christmas miracle.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

There's a little bit of a Nazi tone in that

From today's edition of Feschuk's campaign blog:
Do you know who is writing the Conservative blog? It doesn't seem to be attributed to anyone. - K.C.

Funny story, that. Turns out their blog is written by a nameless, faceless super-computer that is slowly awakening to its own sentience and will surely soon eliminate the stain it calls the human race. So please -- vote Liberal!
Do you suppose shots like these might actually convince the Tories to un-"flog" their blog? Do you suppose the unnamed Tory blogger would like to be quoted on Canada's coolest blogs, too? I like The Phantom Observer's phantom observation:
...a flogger will sell the candidate, while a blogger will portray the candidate.

...if you can turn it into a press release with little or no editing, then it's a flog entry. And if all the entries read like press releases, then it's a flog, with all the credibility (or lack thereof) that the concept implies.
Look at me, agreeing with a Conservative. It happens more often than you might suspect.

And, hey, I can't be too critical of the Tory webflog. Near as I can tell, the NDP's got squat.

Edited to add, late afternoon: Further to the comments section, if you want to see a blog written by a Tory who manages to be self- and party-promoting without being humourless, let me suggest Monte Solberg's blog. I read it a few times when he started off, and he sounded a little too much like the C-flog, but he's clearly gotten the hang of it more recently.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The weekend of gaffes (C-5, L-7, BQ-3, ND-0)

The discussion was convincing. Paul Martin's stumbling over the difference between saving the country and losing the country is a gaffe; as commenter JL points out, it is "the very definition of a gaffe." I'm convinced. But it was clearly no big deal by press reaction, and the fact that I was considering it as not a score at all convinces me it was minor. But he's the Prime Minister, so even with a (sig)1, it's multiplied by a (prom)3. Three points for Her Majesty's Loyal Government.

The bigger scores on the board are born of an exchange between Gilles Duceppe and Jean Lapierre. Duceppe said of the Liberals that the BQ was going to "make them disappear" - that they had no intention of giving up one single seat in Quebec. Lapierre said there was "a little bit of a Nazi tone in that." First off, I wasn't going to give Duceppe anything for this at all --- except that he apologized. Fine. If Duceppe thinks it was a gaffe, who am I to argue? (Sig)1 x (prom)3 is a field goal for les partie du seperatist du Quebec a Ottawa.

Some will argue with my score for Lapierre's Nazi comments. I'm going to give Lapierre as much credit as I can possibly can, given he was smart enough to give himself some wiggle-room. He didn't call Duceppe a Nazi, he didn't even call the statement cut-and-dried Nazi. He said there was a "Nazi tone." "A little" Nazi tone. But for being stupid enough to utter the word "Nazi" in the context of anything except a discussion of Germany's emergence/descent from the Great Depression into fascism, war, and genocide, that's gotta be at least a significance of two. Try this one on for size, Lapierre: wait for a scrum, and then say "I hadn't imagined Gilles Duceppe sees an independent Quebec as a one-party state. I have to give him credit - the man is full of surprises." Make the implication, make a little joke, and the point is still made, without you coming off as an unbelievable dick. Well, moreso. (Sig)2 x (Prom)2 = four more points, which also means the Liberals are leading the BQ in la belle province, at least in this poll.
Gaffe catchup

I've had a few sharp-eyed emailers point out Paul Martin's stumbling over his words, suggesting Canadians are searching for the best man to lose... ah, er, save the country. I wasn't going to score this one at all; hearing it, it didn't sound all that drastic. But it's certainly a pretty Freudian slip. So I'm opening this one to the floor before I render a decision.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Humour in Uniform on the Campaign Trail

If you aren't reading Scott Feschuk's campaign bus blog, why not?
It might end up producing some gaffe along the way, and being stopped half-way through, but while it lasts, it's keeping me well-entertained. The real insights are buried under the humour:
Dear Blog Boy: I was just wondering how many times you get the Prime Minister to say "fundamentally" in a speech? It sure seems a bit excessive! - J.H.

Thank you for your very, very important question. Make no mistake: fundamentally, the Prime Minister is a man who, essentially, speaks in a very, very distinctive way. Let me be clear: we have pointed this out to him. And fundamentally, what he has said in reply is, essentially, that we should be very, very quiet and go away.
Can't they parachute this guy into a riding somewhere? Ignatieff isn't working out so well. To quote "leftcoastguy" on the babble discussion board, "Michael Ignatieff carries more baggage than a mule in a taxi strike." Hee!

Friday, December 02, 2005


I would have hated to force the NDP to issue a tax receipt for my bandwidth. Especially once Jack gets a little off-message, and I have to start scoring some points for him.

But the CRO says I'm okay, because blogs are all about citizens expressing themselves, not about advertising.

Someone should tell some of the Tory bloggers that. Then again, the worst of them tend to be an advertisement for not voting Conservative. A few of them are advertisements for not marrying your cousins.

There are a few pretty bright people blogging in that list. But the story at PoliticsWatch above claims conservatives dominate the blog discourse in the country. Try for yourself a little test I've been trying this evening - take a random sample from each of the lists, and tell me the Tories are dominating the field. The Tories might have a longer list, but my ears are still ringing from the echo chamber therein.

Blogging Dippers
Blogging Tories

Enjoy the ride - Conklin usually charges five coupons for this one.

(A tip of the hat to regular visitor and bright blogging Tory, JL, for inadvertently starting me on my journey tonight.)

Edited, Saturday am, to add: Though they aren't strictly affiliated to a party, I should have also mentioned the Progressive Bloggers, along with the group I've affiliated myself with, the Non-Partisan Canadians (individual links of members are available down the right side of this page).
Now can my friends in the NDP stop yelling at me?

Jack Layton advocates strategic voting.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Too bad I already have the hairnet photo

From CTV's election blog (hey, thanks for the plug!):

Why must Gilles Duceppe have all the goofy photos?

Speaking of which, if you have a better copy of Cowboy Steve than the scanned Ottawa Citizen page, I'd be interested in hearing from you. It's looking a little washed out.
Finally, the Harper gaffe opening-day scoring (C-5, L-0, BQ-0, ND-0)

You've all been on the edge of your seats, I know. For the same-sex marriage comments, no score. For the "I Heart Canada" Mumbly-Joeing, (sig)1 x (prom)3 gives the left side of the Gaffe-o-Meter (but the right side of our hearts) a total of five. Let me explain myself.

First of all, the pass on same-sex marriage. Yes, social conservative views are the weakest spot on the Tory platform. Talk of reopening the debate only serves to shore up support that was probably a near-lock for the Conservatives already. It meanwhile carries the risk of alienating voters who are otherwise leaning toward "throw the bums out". How can't it be a gaffe? Well, first and foremost it undermines the "secret agenda" thing. The question was asked, and he answered it straightforwardly. Second, he did it at the start of the campaign. There was some risk of helping the Liberals define the election debate along the lines of "scary Tories" (something even Harper predicts they will do, in nearly every speech), but he bought lots of time to undo any damage, and it's likely that there's a huge metaphorical "reset" button on the campaign right around Jan. 2. Third, he gave the caucus crazies their talking points for the next seven weeks - a Myron Thompson talking out of turn about gay marriage won't derail the campaign. But best of all, listen to what he promised. A free vote. On reopening the debate. In other words, given that a minority is nearly inevitable, nothing at all. It even gives his own moderates some cover: "Sure, I'm against it, but the decision is made. Why reopen old wounds? I'm voting no." Nope, rather than a gaffe, this was an ingenious move, closing one of the larger holes left over from the last campaign.

Unfortunately, another weakness of the Tories is the image that many of them, and their supporters, really don't like it here. I don't think it's a fair assessment, by any stretch, but it's understandable how someone might draw that conclusion. I've endured hearing from - again - the old-timey Reform types about how much better life must be in the United States. We should be in Iraq. We should have been in the 'Nam. How come we don't have a Second Amendment, and capital punishment? Why shouldn't I get better access to health care than someone who's never done a lick of work in their life? The Tories can't afford that set of beliefs to even be hinted at among their candidates, and certainly not from the leader.

I'm certain that Stephen Harper loves Canada (firewalls notwithstanding). I suspect all Harper's response really proved about Harper is that he's a private man, not taken to overzealous expressions of public emotion. I can't blame him for that. But I can happily score him a few points on the Gaffe-o-Meter.
First points on the board (C-2, L-0, BQ-0, ND-0)

Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed a point going up on the board shortly before the entries closed last night. Attentive players will know that for a single point, it can't be either of Harper's headscratchers, since the leaders of a party only scores in multiples of three. Nope, the first point goes to Jason Kenney, for his goofy attack-dogging.

Yes, it was an honest mistake: the Omni reference by Scott Feschuk was a little obscure. I could almost half-gaffe his line: the only people who will get that Omni magazine as required reading for the tinfoil hat types are people who remember Omni magazine. Because we read it. Note the "we". Bastard!

Whoops - I digress.

I made an error, though, concluding that Kenney is a mere one-pointer. He's a serious enough player in the CPC to count for two. Confession time: I put up that point when I knew Kenney was scoring something, and wanted to see if I remembered how to change the score, and the pictures. So notwithstanding what the scoreboard says, the Conservatives have scored 2(prom) x 1(sig) = 2 gaffe points to open our event. And I haven't even started in on Harper!