I can tell you the very first time I met Andrew Breitbart. A few years back Tony Katz, Justin Smith, Stephen Kruiser, Brooks Bayne, Gary Aminoff, and I embarked on hosting the very first tea party in Los Angeles. On the Santa Monica Pier. In the middle of the “People’s Republic” as us Conservative Angelenos affectionately refer to Santa Monica. Andrew’s backyard. No one else would cover this event except bloggers and the TCOT (Top Conservatives on Twitter) crowd; Andrew being one of them. Why would the mainstream media in Los Angeles cover an anti-tax, pro-liberty rally, right?
He gave me a ring and asked how he could help. I was floored. I knew who he was. In shock I said “Aren’t you Matt Drudge’s sidekick?” He laughed and replied with a coy “Well yeah. Sort of. I mean yes. But I’m doing my own thing these days.” Little did I know his “own thing” would later turn into numerous popular websites like Big Hollywood, Big Peace, Big Government, and amassing a Twitter following of epic proportions. His re-tweeting of the hate spewed at him was hysterical. There would be times I would read some of his back and forth with the far left and crack up laughing. He got a kick out of going back and forth with his haters, people he often times called his biggest fans.
As a young Conservative ideologue from LA, I couldn’t quite figure out what medium I would use to spread the message of Conservatism to other people my age. And then I hopped on Twitter and began to use my Facebook as that medium. After that call from Andrew, I have never turned back.
Since learning about the real power behind social media, I have been able to convey so much to so many people. Social media has given me the opportunity to meet other like-minded people my age and introduced me to people who I will cherish as life long friends. That young Conservative from LA found her foot in the door of politics and found her voice. I credit Andrew and the rest of the TCOT crew like Tony, Stephen, and Brooks for helping me find my place in social media.
Andrew was larger than life to every one who had the opportunity to work with him. He was the center of the party, never took himself too seriously, and he always had time to chat with the College and Young Republicans at conventions who idolized him. Andrew was a headline speaker last year at the California Young Republican Federation’s convention in San Francisco. The second he walked into the room hundreds of rowdy and fired up Young Republicans began to cheer, he walked up to the mic, smiled, and said “DID YOU SEE THE PROTESTERS OUTSIDE? I don’t know who they hate more me or Ann!” (Ann Coulter was also a speaker at our convention).
I titled this piece Andrew Breitbart Just Another One of the Guys, Sort Of for a very specific reason. Andrew really was just one of us. Another liberty loving, Constitution reading, truth seeking, Conservative. He showed up to events in jeans, and he could have a beer while waxing nerdy poetic with all of us at an event. He was in fact, just like me, another kid from LA who grew up listening to KROQ and lamented as to how terrible their music selections had become since the 90s.
He called my Mom (A nice Federated lady may I add) once to gather the goods about a now infamous event at a campaign town hall in the San Fernando Valley two years ago she had attended. And while she was a bit star struck by his phone call he was the same grounded and accessible guy he always was.
It’s the “sort of” part of the title that differentiated him from the “rest of the guys” line. Andrew in many other ways was not like us. He was a citizen warrior. An enlisted man in the officer’s ranks. He had a fire within him to seek the truth. He wanted the average American citizen to know that anyone could be a journalist and that you did not need to hold a journalism degree or work for NBC to spread the message.
He had a spine of steel and the intestinal fortitude to give the left a proverbial middle finger. People like Olbermann called him a hack. Politicians were terrified of him. His adversaries loathed him. None of that stopped his mission. He kept writing, he kept fact finding, and he did it with a smile on his face.
Your beautiful family will miss you so much Andrew. Your friends and supporters feel that sting too. I know that you would want all of us to pick up your torch and carry on with that same seek the truth spirit. Learning from Andrew, studying his tactics, and finding the courage to say the sorts of things that everyone is thinking but no one has the guts to has become part of my style. All thanks to courage I gained by learning from from him. His attitude was not common in today’s world. Then again, common was something Andrew both was, and was not.