I am Eric Odom, hear me roar....
Looks like Odom's first attempt at maligning conservative presidential candidates for 2012 is Mike Huckabee. But who will be next? Odom tells us it will be Romney and Gingrich that he goes after. Don't worry Palin fans, Odom is one of you. He didn't vote for the McCain/Palin ticket in the 2008 general election. Instead he took his vote over to the libertarian party and cast a ballot for Bob Barr. He still likes Palin though and joined the ThankstoPalin website.
Who is Eric Odom? Should we care? What type of influence has he had on the Republican party and is he trying to be a king maker?
After leaving the Republican party in 2008, Odom stated that he would only return if they met his demands. Paraphrased by Dawn Teo, the demands are listed as:
- Give Odom their blessing.
- Expel from any future party support or praise any Republican Congressperson who votes for health care reform.
- Stop being camera whores.
- Stop asking for money.
- Promote (Odom's) Tea Party websites on the GOP website.
- Stop paying professionals, and hire real activists.
- Stop holding "idea camps"; stop asking for ideas; and stop co-opting activists' ideas.
- Start really attacking Democrats.
So he is coming back and is ready to steer the Republican party on its "Right" course. That is a good thing as we discovered that the tea party had a great message of cutting taxes, reducing the deficit, limiting government, and giving the rights back to the people. But is Odom really a Republican or is he just using the Republican party to gain power for himself? As we can see by the title and first two sentences of a letter that he wrote to his fellow libertarians in November 2009:
It's time to take over the GOP…
I know many of my fellow Tea Party activists are going to hate me for this, but it’s time to face reality. The Republican Party must be our vessel in 2010........
As a libertarian who voted for Bob Barr in 2008, I find it very difficult to state this in a public manner, but I will now be joining the Republican Party. Not because I trust Republicans or believe the existing establishment properly represents me. Not because I think the Republican Party has brought upon us the full protection of our individual rights and liberties.
No, it’s because I believe the Democrats are literally trying to destroy the free-market fabric of this country. And I believe that if we spend even another week working towards a third party for 2010 and 2012, we commit ourselves to certain doom.
I’m in no way advocating that we as a movement stand behind the existing Republican establishment. I am, rather, suggesting that we become the establishment.
As Erick Erickson and so many others have rightfully pointed out… we have the numbers. We have the people, we have the passion, and we have the organization. What we don’t have is unity.
I know many of us in the movement have different goals. Some are to weaken the two party stronghold. This is understandable and a good long term goal.
But look, if we screw around and let dangerous Democrats walk all over us in 2010 and 2012, we’ll never again get the opportunity to do ANYTHING as free Americans.
Love or hate the Republican Party… it’s our only vessel in the short term. We either unify through it and make a stand strong enough to stop this madness in government, or we fracture over third party efforts and meet uncertain political demise.
This choice is ours to make. I’m making my choice now.
Fair enough. As someone who went to several tea party events myself, I hope that by my attendance, the Republican party loses their spending ways and becomes the fiscal conservative influence that it use to be. But am I willing to fracture the Republican party and end up giving the election to Obama just to prove that I have influence? Apparently Odom thinks that is a means to the ends ("we fracture over third party efforts and meet uncertain political demise.") Take Odom's support of Christine O'Donnell in the mid-term election of 2010. Some would say that it was better to have a conservative who could not win than a moderate who could win. But was O'Donnell the best conservative to put in place for the general election? Or should the Republicans put up a much better qualified candidate? Clearly the voters did not think highly of her credentials. The lesson learned from the state of Delaware is that if the Republican party wants to win, they need to put up a conservative candidate who has experience, a proven track record, and the ability to get their message out. Marco Rubio, the new senator of Florida is a good example of finding that type of candidate. But Odom goes beyond wanting to endorse and promote a conservative candidate, he wants 100% purity or nothing. He is willing to fracture the Republican party, get behind a third party candidate, and lose the general election. For what? And who is to decide what is the true definition of conservative? Walter Cantrell in his piece What is a True Conservative? states that:
Whenever you hear anyone asserting that they are a “True” anything you can bet they are saying it with an air of condescension that is meant to establish themselves as sole experts on what that trueness actually involves. You can also bet it is meant to set a very narrow definition which excludes anyone that doesn’t fit within their views. So when someone says that they or someone else is a True Conservative then what do they mean? It means they want to set themselves up within the conservative movement as the power brokers that get to determine who is and isn’t fit to be called a conservative and who can run for political office under that label.
Perhaps Odom is not afraid of Mike Huckabee winning the nomination, but more afraid of that he is not the Lion King. He clearly wants to be the King Maker for 2012. On his website he lists his credentials as a web strategist who is working to develop infrastructure for activists within the liberty movement. As stated in the article, Tempest in a Teabag, Though Odom has no intention of supporting the current crop of Republicans (and proudly asserts that he will work to defeat many of them), he is making his 2010 stand from within the Republican Party, "Love or hate the Republican Party, it's our only vessel in the short term. We either unify through it and make a stand strong enough to stop this madness in government, or we fracture over third party efforts and meet uncertain political demise."
As Odom continues his strategy to take down potential presidential candidates using his 200 web domains and his youtube videos, he misses the opportunity to work together with those candidates to build a better 2012 platform. Instead he tears apart at the message, creates a bloodbath, and thereby increases the chances for another Obama victory. Perhaps when we are stuck with another four years of Obama's dismal economic policies, he will realize that the Republican party wasn't just a vessel he could use, but a ship willing to let him assist in navigating through the rough waters.