By day (or, at least, by morning and early afternoon), Bobby Eberle is an engineer doing work for NASA in Houston via an aerospace contractor. By night (or by late afternoon and evening), Eberle is a conservative activist when not being a father. His GOPUSA.com is not a Republican site but a conservative one that unabashedly takes the approach that conservatives must work within the Republican Party.
“I’m a Republican because I’m a conservative and this is our vehicle to get our philosophy enacted,” said Eberle in a recent interview. “I believe in lower taxes, smaller government, and less intrusion.” He said that he didn’t agree with everything Republicans stand for these days, noting in particular that “there are some screwy immigration policies thrown out there.”
Eberle is not a long-time conservative activist. In college at Texas A&M, he wasn’t one. He got involved only after settling into an engineering career track. “In high school, all I cared about was tennis,” he said. “My second ambition, if tennis didn’t work out, was to be an astronaut.” Neither one panned out, and Eberle was bitten by the political bug a decade ago. “I volunteered in 1994 to help in a congressional race,” said Eberle. It was a good year for Republicans but Shelia Jackson-Lee got elected in a heavily black district. “We got smoked,” said Eberle.
Despite the setback, Eberle became involved in Young Republicans and was chairman of the Texas state chapter from 1996 to 1999. He had a different concept for GOPUSA when it was originally launched in late 1999, said Eberle. “The original mission was to have a web design company for Republicans,” he said. “In summer 2000, we relaunched it as a site for conservative news, information, and commentary. We want to educate folks on the conservative philosophy.”
GOPUSA’s columnists sometimes offer takes on some unusual news. “A foreign country comes to America and decides to build its embassy on Bunker Hill. A letter is sent by the Bunker Hill Historical Society to the nation’s embassy, requesting that it not impose bulldozers on our national treasure, and the embassy replies…nothing. Would we stand for it? Of course not. But that is what the U.S. government is doing in Skopje, the capital city of the Balkan nation of Macedonia–building a new embassy on a historical, treasured, and yet to be explored archeological site that is the cultural and spiritual heart of the city,” wrote Kerri Houston in an August 26 column. “First settled during the Bronze Age, the Gradiste-Kale (an Ottoman word for fortress) has been a symbol of the capital city of Skopje and the Macedonian people for thousands of years.”
GOPUSA provides news, too, such as through Eberle’s Talon News service. Reported Leslie Wetzel on August 26 from Crawford, Tex., “Dispatched by Kerry to defend his service, former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia and Jim Rassmann, the man who was pulled out of a river in Vietnam by Kerry, arrived at Bush’s ranch Wednesday to deliver a public protest against what he called ‘disgraceful’ attacks against fellow Vietnam veteran John Kerry’s war service. The letter was also signed by nine senators who served in the military. The Bush campaign sent its own supporters, including a war veteran, to meet Cleland and supporters of Kerry at a security checkpoint just down the road from the entrance to Bush’s ranch.”
“Talon provides news to GOPUSA, Men’s News Daily, and some other sites,” said Eberle. Other than its annual conference, GOPUSA is an all-Internet operation. GOPUSA’s e-mail service “goes out to 300,000 subscribers,” said Eberle. “In September 2000, we started with 400.”
For his second annual conference in Washington, D.C., September 16 to 18, Eberle expects 100 people. “We have Alan Keyes, G. Gordon Liddy, Congressman Steve King [R.-Iowa] and Brent Bozell speaking,” he said.
GOPUSA has a “Featured Candidate” section which last week showcased Keyes, highlighting his qualifications to be a U.S. senator. “Alan Keyes spent 11 years with the U.S. State Department,” it said. “He served in the U.S. Foreign Service and on the staff of the National Security Council before becoming Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where he represented the interests of the United States in the U.N. General Assembly (1983-85). In 1985, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations (1985-88).”
Despite sharing the same last name and buying the “Millions of Americans” Internet petition company from him recently, Bobby Eberle is not related to direct mail baron Bruce Eberle. Bobby Eberle hopes to transition out of engineering into politics and news full-time. “I believe in enacting conservative ideas through Republican solutions,” he said.