Like it or Gump it


Charles AdlerWINNIPEG – Welcome to the Forrest Gump election. “Stupid is as stupid does.” That was the most memorable phrase from the 1994 Oscar winner that cemented Tom Hanks into the hearts of moviegoers. Stupid is as stupid does told us, as if we had any doubt, that a person’s intelligence doesn’t matter beans. If he does stupid things, he is judged as stupid.

Without drilling down deep into the in-and-out bookkeeping, Bev Oda’s spin altering and Jason Kenney’s clumsy letterheading, the truth is simple. This government is being defeated, though not because Stephen Harper is stupid. He’s not. Neither is Oda or Kenney.

But stupid is as stupid does. And the acts are more important than the basic IQ of those who commit them, and those who have to answer for them.

Everyone knows Stephen Harper rode into power on the high horse of accountability and shooting straight.

The feedbag for the Harper horse was Adscam. Actually, it was more like a feast bag. It was a once-in-a-generation scandal.

Odagate and In-and-outgate and Letterheadgate are unicellular life forms compared to the beast of the east that was Adscam.

Nobody is saying Bev Oda’s integrity has cost Canadians tens of millions of dollars. And while the in-and-out scandal can be argued as a raid on the taxpayer, it was chump change compared to Adscam. So it would be stupid to assert that these issues add up to Adscam. They don’t.

On the other hand, the daily drip-drip of evidence that the Tories don’t care about the supremacy of Parliament can create an odour of arrogance. That’s what results in e-mails to my inbox from longtime Tory supporters, like this one from Calgary:

“As of late, the Conservative Party has gotten a little too arrogant and too careless for even my liking and I’m not alone with that thought. Simply put, there have been far too many ‘issues.’ The good work they are doing with the economy will get lost in all the noise.”

Even the faithful are starting to wonder whether the relatively long-in-the-tooth minority government may be down a litre in competence while overflowing with arrogance.

Now there are those who think that none of this will lead to a dropping of the writ because Jack Layton will find a way to offer his crutches to Stephen Harper. It’s true that Jack’s prostate is in a 15-round bout with cancer. It’s also true his hips must feel like they left the operating table five minutes ago. But it would be stupid to conclude Layton would ever willingly cave to cancer cells or hip pain.

This is a man who refuses to say “uncle” to Father Time.

You can disagree with his politics, but you have to bow to his stamina. Layton is a middle-aged marvel. He leaves people half his age in the dust.

His partner in life, the terminally youthful Olivia Chow, would never discourage Jack from going pedal to the metal in what will likely be his last campaign.

Anyone who doubts Jack’s desire to compete is also suffering from a bad case of stupid.

In that quirky Tom Hanks movie, we learned that life is unpredictable and that anything could happen to and for anybody.

Anything in this Forrest Gump vote could see the election of Prime Minister Ignatieff.

Charles Adler

Charles Adler is a national radio columnist, whose show runs on the Corus Radio Network. Charles can be heard Monday to Friday online by visiting

Adler’s column appears on on a regular basis, as a means of offering new ideas, insights and opinion to the region.

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