Trailing candidates
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Mar 26, 2013 | 3089 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, waves as he arrives to speak at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md.  Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, waves as he arrives to speak at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press
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The nearly 100-page report outlining how the Republican Party can reach out to racial minorities recommends that an “allied group” be created to “establish a private archive and public website that does nothing but post inappropriate Democratic utterances.”

This, the report continues, “would serve as an effective vehicle for affecting the public issue debate.”

In other words, start filming and taping, and with diligence and luck the filmmakers will get a “gotcha” moment that damages Democrats.

One only wonders why it took the Republicans so long.

In 2006, a tracker working on behalf for a Democratic candidate videotaped Sen. George Allen, R-Va., using what was considered a racial slur — the famous “Macaca moment.” The video went viral and Allen lost his election.

More recently, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was videoed making his famous “47 percent” statement, which Democrats used to pound home the idea that the Republican was out of touch with regular Americans.

Following the example set by American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic research group created to get “gotcha” moments on GOP candidates, Republicans are setting up their own research group, America Rising, to do the same on their opposition.

We know, we know — good for geese and ganders alike. But is it good for the political process?

Undetermined is whether video and sound bites improve the quality of our political debate or do they make candidates more wary, their words and actions more scripted and their candid observations less candid.

Off-the-cuff remarks often reveal more about a candidate than the speeches they give and the interviews they allow.

Now that candidates know the opposition is not just watching, but videotaping — and that what they say can be used against them — they will surely be more careful to say only those things they would want to instantly see on YouTube.

As a result, there will be fewer and fewer “gotcha” moments.

So, eventually our political debate will become more civil and the parties will no longer need American Bridge and America Rising.

One can only hope.
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