Politico had an interesting story this morning about how Democratic “trackers” — those annoying campaign workers who follow opponents around with video cameras rolling at all times — have been acting more like creepy stalkers lately than political paparazzi. The article cites some weird examples of trackers posting footage of Republican candidates’ homes on YouTube, complete with addresses in some cases. The tactic was originally meant to record for posterity every gaffe and goof-up candidates make in every waking hour of their days, and most seem to accept that this is the new political reality. But some say that gratuitous footage that alerts every crazy in the word to where they live, especially in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, crosses the line and serves no political purpose.
Among the targets is Rep. Mike Coffman, who is being hunted like a rare bird by a liberal group called Colorado Fair Share. The article links to a video showing a woman knocking at Coffman’s door with the camera at her back, as if hoping for a gotcha-style ambush interview (like the one 9News was forced to resort to when Coffman wouldn’t address the birther controversy he stirred up a few months ago).
But far from being sinister, the video is a dud. It’s part of a series of videos the group is producing called “Where’s Mike?” that attempt to demonstrate that Coffman can’t be found by his constituents who, in one clip, look for him at the local golf course and, in another, try the offices of one of his campaign contributors. This type of guerrilla campaigning might have been funny if any of the videos had been executed even somewhat competently, but they’re almost painful to watch. To put it mildly, the “constituents” aren’t exactly Michael Moore. In some clips they seem scared to death and all too aware of how lame the schtick must look to those they’re trying to prank. In one, they even ignore what seems to be a reasonable accommodation when they call his local office and ask to chat with Coffman. The person who answers the phone suggests they call his scheduler to work out an appointment. Instead, the caller keeps whining that Coffman isn’t immediately available, as if they expected him to answer the phone. In that instance, Coffman’s hapless assistant comes across as pretty darned patient when dealing with an unusually dense constituent.
Failing to find him at various random stops, the activists finally show up to knock on his door. But does the lady really knock? You be the judge, but it seems suspicious that the woman in the clip conspicuously doesn’t ring the doorbell, which is right there, lady! Instead, she does an air-knock that, if it can’t be heard by the video camera waiting to record Coffman’s stuttering surprise at seeing an actual constituent on his stoop, certainly couldn’t be heard inside. For all we know, Coffman was sitting in there drinking his coffee and feeling a little bored, sorta hoping someone would drop by for a chat.
Unless he gets bionic hearing like Jamie Sommers, Coffman is going to miss a lot of encounters with constituents who knock on doors like they’re mimes.