Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just Call Him Mr Lost Cause

Adam Campbell doesn't stand a chance in Vegreville-Wainwright -- And he knows it

For a party as politically doomed in Alberta as the federal Liberals are, it probably pays to have an individual one can kick around, wheeling him out in various ridings as a glorified punching bag.

For Liberal leaders Paul Martin and (now) Stephane Dion, Adam Campbell is that very individual.

In 2004 and 2006, Campbell lost to Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson, who on each occasion captured 80% of the vote in the riding. In 2008, Campbell has been parachuted to run against Vegreville-Wainright incumbent Leon Benoit, who has consistently claimed more than 70% of the vote in his riding.

To credit his acceptance of reality -- if not his competitive spirit -- Campbell seems to have resigned himself to his inevitable October 14 defeat.

"It's going to be a real uphill struggle," Campbell acknowledged. "I'm aiming to get over 10 per cent of the vote."

"I know I stand a very poor chance of winning. That leaves you much more freer. You can be much more controversial, there's much less responsibility," Campbell added.

Which makes a certain amount of sense, if one thinks solely in terms of one's own electability, and not the electability of their party.

Of course, no one's going to suggest that the Liberal party shouldn't run a candidate in Vegreville-Wainwright. After all, an election in which any significant number of candidates are elected by acclaimation is significantly short of democratic.

And certainly the Liberals need a candidate there. Clearly, Duff Stewart must be tired of getting crushed.

One almost has to admire individuals like Adam Campbell. Canadian politics, like anything else, needs its lovable losers.

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