”‘One man with courage is a majority.’ Andrew Breitbart was that one man.”
I was devastated when I read about Andrew Breitbart’s passing this afternoon at lunch. I’m still in shock. There are some great tributes to this great man and his great life’s work in many places online which I will add later.
The Man We Lost
An hour ago, Mr. Onesty said “We have lost one of the best attack dogs we have had in a generation. He was fearless and determined and smart and funny and principled. We MUST take up the baton he has handed off to us and take up the race with vigor… join the fight with abandon.” We feel his comment accurately expresses the sentiment we’ve heard all day.
We never considered how the loss of Andrew Breitbart would affect us. We guess we always viewed him as just another pundit fighting alongside many others: Limbaugh, Beck, Malkin, Hannity, O’Reilly, Carlson, Ingraham, Savage, etc. We were wrong. You don’t realize what you have until it’s gone, and so we’d like to drop our usual pretense to properly address our loss of a great man.
I’m listening to Grassroots Colorado, a local talk radio show that airs out here. They opened their show talking about Andrew Breitbart. The hosts discussed how they had a short-notice need for a speaker for their local 09/12 rally. They were referred to Andrew, so they called him up and asked if he’d mind flying out and speaking. He made his demands: pay for his flight, his hotel room, a dinner, and a beer. That’s it. There was no speaker’s fee for thousands of dollars; he just wanted his basic expenses covered and a beer. That’s the man we lost.
This 09/12 event was before the radio show, which only started last year. The hosts spent several hours talking to Andrew. He was happy to stay a few extra hours to get to know fellow conservative activists. That’s how the hosts first got to know each other. One of them said that, “in a roundabout way, Andrew was responsible for me sitting here right now.” That’s the man we lost.
Jon Caldera, of the Independence Institute, went on the show and said that he thought of Andrew as “the opposite of a pundit.” I realized then why his death was so meaningful, not just to me, but to all of us.
Andrew Breitbart got his hands dirty. I was discussing his death today with a coworker, who remarked that Andrew was more conservative than he had been led to believe. We’re not sure where he’d gotten his information, but Andrew wasn’t like all those other pundits. He never discussed his own views much. He was, as James Taranto (of the WSJ) has often remarked, the perfect Alinskyite. Breitbart realized that making a positive claim left one open to analysis. He realized that, if you seek authority, then the Left will have ground on which to stand in their quest to destroy you. So he never sought authority. He never made positive claims: I support X because of Y and Z. Instead, he beat the Left at their own game. He purposefully gave up any pursuit of his own authority, which is why the Left’s attacks against him never worked. He never sought the moral high ground or acted like he was God’s greatest gift to the Truth. He just made the Left look stupid, and he was brilliant at it. That’s the man we lost.
Andrew Breitbart got the President of the United States to fire Shirley Sherrod with a single, well-edited video. Imagine that! A simple blogger/pundit/journalist/whatever he was got the most powerful man in the world to act rashly and drastically! That’s the man we lost.
Andrew Breitbart got Representative Weiner to resign. At the press conference, the uninvited Breitbart grabbed the mic and launched into a long tirade against the Leftist Media, sitting right before him. That’s the man we lost.
Andrew Breitbart stood before 2 thousand Occupiers. As they screamed their drivel at him, he shouted back: “Behave! Behave! Stop raping!” That’s the man we lost.
On Twitter today, I saw a woman say that Breitbart not only responded to her once, but followed her back. He responded to me once on Twitter too. He had mentioned Arianna Huffington. I asked him if she’d ever apologized to him for her hypocrisy and for throwing him under the bus for his HuffPost article. He replied, “No she hasn’t. Thanks for asking!” He made sure to keep her tagged in the response so she could see it. That’s the man we lost.
All this shows why Andrew’s death has hit us all so hard. It’s not just that he was so young, or influential, or passionate. There’s a lot of conservatives out there who fit that bill. Andrew was something special, because he got his hands dirty: not just once or twice, but over and over again. He stared the lion in the maw as it roared, and he roared right back.
That’s the man we lost. There will never be another just like him, but he left us all with a lot of lessons to learn. When the Left shouts, shout back. Don’t be afraid to speak the truth. Obama is a radical, so say it! The Government is corrupt and bloated, so say it! When they call you racist or stupid, shrug it off and keep shouting! Fight for what you believe, and help other conservatives do the same, because you never know what kind of impact you can have. That’s the man we lost, but with his death, we can gain a million more.
One last thing crosses my mind. The nice thing about being a conservative is that you don’t have to apologize for believing in God. You don’t have to hide it. So we leave you with this: a tornado in Heaven, Andrew Breitbart is with God now. Make him proud.