Several liberal Facebook friends of mine have delightedly shared today this piece from 11 Alive: ‘Political stalker’ does surveillance on Sen. Carter
From the piece:
When Democrat Jason Carter exits his office across from the Capitol, a Republican is almost always there to meet him. The man with blonde hair is a 22 year-old North Georgia College grad named Ben. He’s called a tracker. He simply videotapes his target wherever he can. […]
Ben politely declined comment. A spokesman for the Georgia Republican Party, Ryan Mahoney, said “his job during the (legislative) session is to monitor Sen. Jason Carter and to hold him accountable.”
And the tracker is becoming a routine part of the political landscape. “It’s a pretty common occurrence now to have them on both sides,” Mahoney said.
So how common is this? Do the Democrats have someone videotaping Deal? Are the Senate candidates tracking each other like this?
Frankly, I see nothing wrong with political opponents videotaping each other’s public events, but there’s an obvious political risk in seeming overly aggressive.
The piece makes a labored comparison to Romney’s 47% video, but that’s not a good analogy. I don’t know if Ben is tracking Carter’s private life after work hours, but clearly the videotaping at the capitol is being done openly and publicly. That’s a far cry from Romney’s remarks recorded by a hidden camera at a sort-of-private event.
Ben’s work could be much better compared to that of S.R. Sidarth, the native Virginian who was videotaping George Allen at a public event in 2006. Allen turned on Sidarth himself, and that “macaca incident” might have cost Allen a Senate seat and an eventual shot at the Presidency.
But how likely is it that Carter will do or say something so hypocritical or offensive within the confines of the Capitol that it can be used against him?
And how much damage is done when the practice itself gets publicity like this?