Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea is a great example of what happens when a political consultant (in this case, Josh Penry) convinces a wealthy businessman who was otherwise fairly non-political that he can – and should – be a U.S. Senator. When you take someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time thinking about public policy issues and thrust them in front of a microphone with about 15 seconds of prep time per question, you often end up with a confusing word salad of an answer.
As we’ve noted on previous occasions, O’Dea’s substantive ideas and positions on various issues are often difficult to nail down. We’ve called him “Joe O’Dancing” for the way he jukes and jabs around the topic of abortion rights, for example; O’Dea says that he thinks abortion rights should be left up to the states to decide, but when Colorado made its own decision (with the recently-passed RHEA legislation), O’Dea vehemently opposed the bill. The states should make their own decisions…oh, but not like THAT.
O’Dea had some similar problems on the broader issue of government spending during an appearance on The Ross Kaminsky Show on KOA radio on Wednesday. O’Dea began the interview with Kaminsky by talking about his desire to cut back federal government spending, but halfway through the discussion O’Dea started bringing up examples of where he thought there should be MORE federal government spending. Eventually, an exasperated Kaminsky said this to O’Dea:
As a libertarian speaking to a conservative, I would request that you be careful about suggesting that the federal government do more things. I generally think and I know you think they generally spend too much and don’t do it very well. So be careful when looking to the Feds for answers. That’s my one comment to you. [Pols emphasis]
Let’s take a look at how this conversation with a supportive right-wing radio host went a little south for O’Dea …
Early in their discussion, O’Dea says that inflation is the foremost issue on his mind. This leads Kaminsky to ask O’Dea about what he might support at a federal level “that you think could actually make a difference.” O’Dea talks about reducing spending in general, “redoing” the Federal Reserve, and getting “oil and gas leases up and running.”
“That’s how you flood the market with oil and gas, and the economy will come back into line,” says O’Dea.
“I’m a conservative, I’m going to unite the good Trump Republicans, some of the GOP, Independents and some Democrats.” — Joe O’Dea, who is all things to all people
“I’m a conservative, I’m going to unite the good Trump Republicans, some of the GOP, Independents and some Democrats.”
— Joe O’Dea, who is all things to all people
As we have outlined more than once here at Colorado Pols, that’s not how any of this works. There are thousands of unused oil and gas leases in Colorado right now. Oil and gas production is not increasing because O&G companies are making too much money at the current levels – something executives openly admit.
Anyway, the interview moves along to “entitlement programs” such as Social Security and Medicare. In response, O’Dea leans in hard on the ‘no more gubmint spending’ routine:
O’DEA: Well, I think in order to manage the debt, you’re going to have to grab everything, it’s not going to be just one pill that fixes this thing. It’s going to be a reduction in bureaucracies. It’s going to be a reduction in the size of our government. It’s going to be a reduction in some of those programs.
After some commentary by Kaminsky, O’Dea continues with the standard, ‘treat government like a business’ nonsense:
O’DEA:“I think you have to look at these bureaucracies and what they do.You know what disturbed me during the COVID period, as we heard that 60% of our federal employees were not deemed essential. What’s that tell you, that means there’s some flip, there’s some fat there. And when you’re running a business, you look at that fat in a time of recession, and you start to cut that back so you can make your business profitable. Again, we’ve got to have that same concept.
The discussion then switches to gun violence, which is where O’Dea starts to double-back on himself. O’Dea’s proposal is this:
O’DEA: “What we need to do right now to help is let’s get the cops back in our schools. I mean, that’s where, really the rubber meets the mat. And I think that it shouldn’t be optional for schools to have armed cops in them right now. We should make that a mandate and the Fed should fund that. [Pols emphasis] That’s part of getting policing back in our schools.”
Apparently there was a time when armed police officers roamed our schools? We don’t remember this, but O’Dea does. O’Dea wants to fund cops in schools with – wait for it – federal spending.
This (rightfully) confuses Kaminsky, who responds as such:
KAMINSKY: “So I want to go back to two things you said, so you talked about, we need armed officers in schools, and the Fed should fund it. And then two minutes earlier, you said the federal government is too big, too expensive, and inefficient. So why do you want to add functions to the federal government?” [Pols emphasis]
Ruh-roh. Time to start dancing, Joe!
O’DEA: So I think the federal government should do three things…it should fund the police to fund our law and order, it should fund our military, and it should fund our infrastructure. Those are the things that the federal government should be doing.
KAMINSKY: An extension of his conversation probably requires more bourbon. But I would suggest to you that almost none of those things are a proper role of the federal government, and they wouldn’t do it very well, either. [Pols emphasis] You know, the federal government doesn’t have much police power, and it shouldn’t. And I think it would be a mistake to give them more police power.
O’DEA: I’m not talking about them actually running that, I’m talking about them providing the funds for it. So there’s two different things.
Keep in mind here that Kaminsky is a self-professed supporter of O’Dea. Kaminsky even tells a story in this interview about how he donated money to O’Dea’s campaign after Ron Hanks was the only Republican to make the June Primary ballot via the assembly process. Kaminsky’s logic is that he wants to beat Democrat Michael Bennet, and he believes O’Dea is the shinier turd in the Republican Primary.
Ron Hanks may be a “Big Lie” loving lunatic, but you can see here why right-wing Republicans might prefer him to O’Dea in the Senate race (and why Hanks keeps calling O’Dea a ‘RINO,’ or ‘Republican In Name Only’). Just as he has contradicted himself on the question of abortion rights, O’Dea is all over the place on federal spending. We need to make the government smaller, except for these places where I want to make the government larger.
Joe O’Dea keeps talking himself in circles, and even his supporters can’t help but call it out.