To paraphase Forrest Gump: tepid is, as tepid does.
Let's admit it. No one has been inspired by this election, outside the relatively small circle of political partisans and activists.
The 20 million or so Canadian citizens voting today will cast their weary eyes on the ballot, shrug their shoulders and, for the most part, hold their nose while they vote.
Except in Quebec, where they'll vote, overwhelmingly, to have nothing to do with the rest of Canada.
This mean, IMHO, a Liberal minority. They'll hold the east, lose some seats in Ontario to the NDP while the Tories will smugly wallow in the nostalgia of olden times. ("We're bringing the west back!" (psst: but only because the Right was such a failure for the past decade.))
Make no mistake.
This means the Liberals will win.
They will win because they will come into Government with such low public expectations, that there is no way but up.
Its not a vote of confidence. Its a vote of: well, show us what you can do because someone's got to do it.
But a mandate, even a minority, could do much to dispell the Chetiean scandals that have plagued the Liberal campaign. Martin will, quite rightly, be able to demand accountbility on his own government's merits, and the oppositon will have to focus on the present, not the past.
And Paul Martin, dependant on the support of third parties, will have to prove he's a better PM than PM candidate.
This is no easy task. But those who know Martin, would say he has a unique focus to do it: his own record of fiscal conservatism, his father's deep passion for social justice, his chosen committment to Quebec.
Martin is, perhaps ironically given his father's legacy, the best Canadian leader, since Pearson to lead such an effort.
Whether he'll get the backbench depth to form a solid cabinet, whether he'll draw on more seasoned staff, to accomplish this is another matter.
Martin's the man in the spotlight.
Pick your songs carefully.
The judges are fickle.
And Harper is waiting in the wings.