Woke up yesterday to the news of Andrew Breitbart’s death. There’s been a lot written and a lot of it is memorable. I remember seeing this speech not long after it was given at CPAC. A true warrior! Here, after facing down the Occupy crowd outside CPAC who were busy hassling people entering the convention, Breitbart relates his recent dinner with ex-domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers (the Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson had won a dinner with them and invited him along) and his greater vision regarding the far and hard left’s agenda of intolerance and tyranny (they call it “revolution”). I think Breitbart was an ex-leftist himself and knew them well. Once, he skated over on rollerblades to the site of an Occupy Wallstreet demo and ended up taking them all out to Appleby’s. No doubt, they still disagreed, but apparently, the intrepid Occupiers were charmed, and — for once, opposing sides met as people with disagreements and ideas, instead of as cartoon opponents. He was funny, fearless and passionate — and he knew the stakes are high.
Breitbart at CPAC 2012
Other bloggers have amazing links and testimony on knowing him or seeing him work, here from Pamela Geller: BREITBART: BIG, BIGGER THAN LIFE
Here, neo-neocon: Devasting news: Andrew Breitbart dead at 43
And, from The National Review, Here from Michael Walsh:
“In the war against the institutional Left, Andrew Breitbart was the Right’s Achilles; the bravest of all the warriors, now fallen on the plain. There was no combat in which he would not engage, no battle — however small — he would not join with glee, and no outcome acceptable except total victory. His unexpected death last night at the young age of 43 is not the end of his crusade, but its beginning.
No figure on our side was more despised in the whited sepulchers of the media/academic/political Left, and Breitbart wore their loathing as a daily badge of honor. His refusal to grant even a glimmer of moral absolution constantly enraged them, and his very existence was an affront to their carefully constructed — to use one of Andrew’s favorite words — “narrative” of moral superiority. Naturally, they are already dancing on his grave, with the manic joy of being suddenly and miraculously delivered from one of their most potent enemies.
Breitbart’s death is a tragedy, not only for those who delighted in following him into battle but for those who cheered him on as well. Andrew was larger than life, a charismatic natural leader, a big man in every way — physically, spiritually, and intellectually. He would meet a total stranger and immediately try to enlist him or her into his army, railing against the Left’s mendacity and misdeeds. He would practically pick you up by the lapels and shake you in order to make you understand the furious, urgent necessity of his fight.
Confrontation was his métier, and he routinely and gleefully waded into groups of lefties to challenge them face to face. Puckish humor was his stock-in-trade, and he would often disarm opponents with his boyish, goofy side. He was a virtuoso of the Twitterverse, a master of multi-tasking, and would think nothing of having a meeting with colleagues in his Westwood home while talking on the phone to someone else and working his Twitter feed. He joked that he had ADD, but what he really had was an outsized heart, fueled by courage and passion and, as the title of his recent book had it, by Righteous Indignation.
That indignation came to Breitbart in mid-life. A bluff Irishman who had been adopted as a baby by a Jewish couple in Brentwood (one of L.A.’s tonier neighborhoods), he moved to the right in college, at Tulane University in New Orleans, and crossed over completely with the Clarence Thomas hearings, which fueled his rage against the Left for their hypocritical treatment of American blacks. I can personally attest that no cause fired his righteous indignation more than the Left’s plantation attitude toward African-Americans. ”
From here: Goodbye Andrew
And, here, about Breitbart’s quest to create “punk rock” Republicans…
“The left is smart enough to understand that the way to change a political system is through its cultural systems,” he told The New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead in 2010. “So you look at the conservative movement — working the levers of power, creating think tanks, and trying to get people elected in different places — while the left is taking over Hollywood, the music industry, the churches.”
His project was to take that cultural space back for free market conservatives. To make his brand of economic freedom cool.
He was often disheveled, unshaven, and looked more like a wild eyed provocateur than a button down and mild mannered conservative. He wanted more conservative (classic liberal) artists and writers who had edge and who understood pop culture. He was supportive of gay and lesbian people being invited into the larger tent of conservatism and supported the inclusion of GOProud at CPAC. Here:
Breitbart, who had joined the advisory board of GOProud in January 2011, hosted a party for the organization at CPAC that year.
When the presence of GOProud at CPAC in 2011 was questioned by some on the right, it was Breitbart who told Metro Weekly, “If being conservative means rejecting gay conservatives because they are gay, then fine, I’m not a conservative.”
He will be missed, but his example leads all of us with similar values and principals onward. In my own quest to find and embody the spirit of — “Punk Rock Republicans”, I guess I can start by stepping out a bit more on the ledge that he loved to dance on. I did some battle on FB with a post on his death, and in the ensuing dialogue I ended up inadvertently and with some specific intent — coming out! Coming out on FB. And, people actually go there in larger quantity than here (most unfortunately). I guess, that is the most fitting tribute I could begin to give.