At first, I thought it was an ugly joke. I still do not want to—can’t—believe that Andrew Breitbart is gone.
My heart and my eyes ache–for us, for his wife Susie and four children, for his friends, for the conservative movement that he passionately embraced after his conversion from his days as a liberal. He was a fighter, defender and supporter of conservatism, the Tea Party, Mama Grizzlies, and Gov. Palin.
I was getting ready to take my children to school when I heard the news of his death on one of the local conservative talk radio stations here in Chicago, WLS-890AM. Just last October, Andrew came to Chicago to speak at TeaCon, a conference for conservatives hosted by another Chicago radio station, WIND-560AM. Others in attendance: Glenn Beck; Dana Loesch, his colleague and Editor at BigJournalism.com; and then GOP Presidential Candidate, Herman Cain.
The day before he was supposed to speak at TeaCon, Andrew substituted for Dennis Miller on his radio show. He had just taken a call from a man in Detroit who happened to be black and claimed, surprise, that the Tea Party was racist. I called in, told him I was Hispanic, attended many Tea Party gatherings in Chicago and debunked the previous leftist caller’s “racism” garbage. He was thrilled to hear that I had recently put a Herman Cain bumper sticker on my minivan, and encouraged all listeners to do the same. I was reading his book and he invited me to find him at the conference so he could sign it.
I did. The next night, I met him at the TeaCon event, where he gave a rousing speech, inspiring us to keep fighting the good fight. (He had a generous spirit and spoke with a bunch of us afterward, offering to take a photo or two.)
That’s who he was. A bold, courageous, generous fighter.
In 2009, when Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the Congresswoman for my district, sent out postcards inviting her constituents to a “town hall” on health care, my husband and I went with our children. Andrew, a regular substitute for Dennis Miller on his radio program, was taking calls about our experiences. I called and told him how my young daughters and I drew handmade poster board signs: “Stop Spending $$ We Don’t Have; Stop Borrowing $$ We Can’t Pay Back” and “Stop Bankrupting My Future.”
Police were everywhere. Busloads of opposition people were brought in, chanting along the sidewalk and street, holding up their own signs—professionally made. I told him how they yelled at us, shouting to my daughters that I was a “horrible mother” and “you don’t even know what your signs mean!” One of my daughters, 11-years old, started crying. Breitbart told me: “You were community-organized.” I wasn’t sure what he meant at the time. Thanks to him, I do now.
His transformation from uber liberal to conservative warrior compelled him to protect those that the Left sought to destroy. In some small way, I felt that is what he was doing with me –assuring me that I was not alone, not doing anything wrong, but rather I was the target of a larger Leftist agenda. I had to be taken down.
In every speech I heard him give, he did the same for Gov. Palin. He defended and supported her. In his book, Righteous Indignation, he outlined how Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” was used against Palin, especially using rule #13. Wrote Breitbart:
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize and polarize it. This is the most important and famous of Alinsky’s rules. You have to pick a target, then freeze it and prevent it from shifting blame elsewhere, then personalize it by making sure that it is something specific and identifiable rather than general, and finally polarize it by demonizing it. It does you no good to talk about the pros and cons of your target—you must show the target as entirely evil, and yourself as entirely good. This is commonly known as the politics of personal destruction. (See Palin, Sarah.)
Just last month Andrew was at CPAC with some of his Editors and colleagues from Breitbart.com: Dana Loesch, Lee Stranhan, Brandon Darby. All kinds of literature were being passed about by all the different groups attending. One was a business-size card with a photo of Andrew’s face, somewhat scratched out with pen. The title: “Hating Breitbart.” I saw him in the lobby of the Marriott and showed it to him, concerned that someone was trying to smear his name. But he replied, “Oh yea, I’m working with those guys on that. It’s good! It’s all good!”
And sure enough, when I saw a trailer of the film, scheduled to debut summer 2012, it was classic Breitbart, a fearless warrior for the truth.
(The website www.HatingBreitbart.com has temporarily suspended the site out of respect to Andrew and his family stating: “www.HatingBreitbart.com has been taken down today in respect of Andrew Brietbart. We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a warrior, and a good friend.”)
Yes, Andrew could be crass. But I realized it was probably bred because of the milieu in which he operated. The brutality of the Left is fierce.
Gov. Palin wrote of his book:
“Andrew Breitbart is an invaluable asset to the Commonsense Conservative cause. Righteous Indignation is a manual and call to action for awakened patriots who are too intelligent to believe the leftist media lies and distortion. Breitbart reminds us why we must fight for our country’s future by staying true to core values and never retreating.”
Update by Nicole:
This is such a sad day for conservatism. As we pray for Andrew’s heartbroken family, let us also celebrate his life. Here is Andrew Brietbart at this year’s CPAC at his fiery, no-apologies-best: