On Monday, stories began to surface about Democratic congressional campaign staffers employing a new form of campaign tracking against their Republican opponents. Traditionally, campaign tracking involves a member of an opposing campaign recording every public appearance, speech and statement that they can. After each event, they report back to their campaign managers so that appropriate responses can be devised.
This technique has been used by candidates on both sides of the aisle for quite some time, although never quite with the twist that became apparent earlier in the week.
Numerous Democratic campaign workers have begun to record videos of the homes of Republican House members and Republican candidates, and posting them to the internet for everyone to see. They show GOP candidates’ houses, yards, cars, and even the occasional street address. Surely, a creepy tactic if ever there was one.
Some may say that this is no different than what was shown by undercover investigative journalists on websites like BigGovernment.com. These videos showcased shady practices within organizations like ACORN and Planned Parenthood. The biggest difference of course is that no one followed those workers home and put their addresses online. This was much more akin to investigative journalism, and not stalking.
Before Democrat-sympathizing readers begin to spout off the old "just a few bad apples" tirade, there are a few things to consider:
- This is 2012. Political campaigns for both major parties are not run haphazardly or with a ton of wiggle room. In a year with so much at stake, no candidate and campaign manager worth their salt will want to leave anything to chance. Nothing like this would happen without either the candidates or their campaign managers’ say-so.
- The fact that this seems to be happening in multiple races could be a sign that it comes from the top, which in this case would be the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, currently headed by Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY).
- YouTube and Twitter have been around for several years now. Everyone knows the impact of viral videos. If a video showing a bus monitor from upstate New York getting bullied generated millions of hits, how do you think something horrid happening to someone running for higher office would be received? This had to be authorized after some measure of risk was deemed acceptable.
- Or it could be that they simply no longer care, and have decided that intimidation could be the way to go, and it is intimidation. Liberals will cry foul, but try following anyone else that you disagree with to their home and putting their houses and addresses online for people to find. See how that works out for you.
In doing so they are attempting to paint these Republican candidates as part of the "evil 1%," further stoking the fires of class warfare. This was brilliantly illustrated earlier his week by PolicyMic columnist Sal Bommorito.
Organizers likely hope that by showing how many Republicans have been successful in their lives, they will re-ignite the short-lived anger that spawned the Occupy Wall Street movement. Nevermind that there are just as many wealthy and successful Democrats running for office at the same time. (The Democratic candidate running currently against Michele Bachmann could be worth up to $111 million dollars.)
In an era where anarchists and Occupy Wall Street sympathisiers make plans to blow up bridges, and a deranged liberal sociopath like Jared Loughtner shoots someone like former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head during a public appearance, putting videos of Republican congressional candidates homes and address online is not just creepy and irresponsible, it's dangerous.
So far, no evidence of similar tactics being used by Republicans has surfaced.
Could this be a plan to try and intimidate some GOP candidates into dropping out? Is it being done in the hopes that mobs will rally around candidates’s houses? Is it the expose, isolate, and ridicule tactics of Saul Alinsky at their finest?
The campaigns employing these creepy new tactics are putting the safety of their opponents and their families at risk. If something does go wrong and things get out of hand, someone at the top of the DCCC will have even more explaining to do that they do already.