The “tracker controversies”, ginned up and used by both sides in the Senate race, are immensely childish, and would be avoided by a modicum of common sense, adult behavior and decency.
First of all, the practice of having “trackers” who follow the candidate around waiting for them to drop a private F-bomb or careless remark, is stupid and insulting to the public. I know we on the left all celebrate George Allen’s scalp with the “macaca” remark, but truly, if you can’t win on the stupid, witless, dishonest and scandalous things people say in public — written into their speeches and into their public records — you’re not doing your job as a political operative. No. One. Cares.
Furthermore, if you’re a tracker, don’t stick a camera in someone’s face who is ancillary to the event, actively trying to cause a confrontation. Give people some personal space. That’s common sense and decency.
And if you’re being tailed a little too closely, try not to take the bait. Don’t threaten people — even if they’re being A-holes.
I don’t see why a political campaign has to turn into a middle-school recess showdown. I think everyone can grow the hell up for five minutes. Stop insulting the public’s intelligence. Stop turning a race with profound implications for the country’s future into The Jerry Springer Show.
I call on both sides to withdraw trackers — or at the very least for them to stay 10 yards away from the candidate at any given time.
UPDATE: I appreciate the wise points made by some of our commenters. I would say that a 10 yard rule would allow trackers to document public remarks, while giving a candidate plenty of space to speak confidentially with whomever they need.
With regard to the driver and Warren’s tracker: I do not approve of the driver’s behavior. But a 10 yard rule would make clear the distinction between tracker and stalker. Candidates and their aides may well understand how the game is played, but others may not, and feel threatened. If part of the game is to provoke people into angry outbursts — even if they should know better — then that’s beneath us, and needs to change.