The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Breitbart: Who He Was, How He Was

Posted on | March 1, 2012 | 38 Comments

Aleister at American Glob shares a memory of being an unknown blogger in fall 2008 when he learned that Andrew Breitbart was launching Big Hollywood:

Without expecting much, I emailed him. All I said was that I heard about Big Hollywood and I liked his idea. How can I help?
Less than ten minutes later, he wrote back.
“Thanks for writing. Here’s my cell number… call me.”
You have to understand, as a blogger I email other bloggers and media people all the time. I never get a response like that so quickly. I was a little stunned but once I had a chance to gather my thoughts I called him and he answered.
We talked about his background and mine, what he was trying to do and the people he had already recruited to help him. I remember thinking at the time – I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart.
A short time later I was contributing material to a nationally recognized blog. I’ll never forget my gratitude for being allowed to be part of something so special.

“I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart.”

That story captures the essence of what was so amazing about Breitbart: He was always open to everybody. How many hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people had his personal cell-phone number? He would talk to anybody. Merely by talking to them, and more importantly, by listening to them, he would make them feel important, make them believe that there was real value to whatever it was they were doing for the cause.

A few months ago, I’d called or texted Breitbart about something and left my cell-phone in the kitchen, plugged in to re-charge, while I worked in my home office. So the phone rang and my son Jefferson answered, then brought the phone to me. Andrew and I talked a while and, after I’d hung up the phone, Jefferson said: “Wow, Dad, you know Andrew Breitbart?”

A lot of people knew Andrew Breitbart. He loved to meet people, to hang out and socialize. Among those whom you could call “celebrities” in the conservative movement, he was the most accessible person I knew, no matter how famous he became.

I first met him at CPAC 2007, shortly after he’d launched, when he was still known mainly to news junkies, as Matt Drudge’s longtime right-hand man and the guy who had helped Arianna Huffington launch HuffPo. And a few months later, I interviewed him while he was in D.C. for a Reason magazine event:

“The idea that I could do for a living that which I would do in my free time, for free, is the single greatest thing on the planet,” he says.
“I realize that my entire brain was meant to be connected to the Internet — it is my Ritalin. I don’t feel that I have a disease now. I really don’t. I’m like, ‘Oh, finally the device has been invented.’ That’s why I call it a panacea. The Internet is the greatest single invention, to me, ever.”

You can read the rest of that. Breitbart was a visionary — inimitable and arguably irreplaceable. Michelle Malkin says, “If he were here, he’d be retweeting all the insane tweets from the Left rejoicing over his death.”

Of course, he would. He was fearless like that, and took an ironic pleasure in being hated by the Left. He was extraordinarily generous with his time, and lent his support to many good causes.

Andrew had agreed to be a board member of the National Bloggers Club, whose co-founder Ali Akbar is now organizing a Saturday night memorial in Breitbart’s honor in D.C. Just send Ali a Twitter message if you’re interested in attending.

So many people like Aleister had the same experience: “I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart.”

And now they all have the same painful feeling: “I can’t believe I’ll never talk to Andrew Breitbart again.”

UPDATE: Details on the Breitbart memorial in D.C.:

Saturday, 7:30pm until 10:30pm

722 12th ST NW Suite 400 Washington? DC 20005

All friends are invited to attend and honor Andrew’s accomplishments in journalism. We expect several members of Congress, bloggers, and journalists who knew Andrew as a visionary and a warrior for the conservative movement.
ATR is graciously hosting this event.

UPDATE II: This is typical Breitbart: A few hours before his death, he stops into a bar, finds himself debating a total stranger, and doesn’t mind at all:

“He was friendly and engaging,” Sando recalls. “I said, ‘You can’t be very happy with the slate of Republican candidates’ and he said, ‘Why would you say that?’ I said, ‘Well, they’re talking about contraception,’ and he said, ‘The conversation is being framed by the liberal media.’ I said, ‘Well, the media isn’t writing Rick Santorum’s speeches for him.’ We had a back-and-forth for awhile until we said we weren’t going to agree on some things.”
The friendly debate continued in the bar as Breitbart sipped red wine, says Sando. “We just hit it off, he was delightful. There were other people who sat down and joined the conversation.”

Notice how Breitbart responded to Sando’s provocation with an open-ended question: “Why would you say that?” A tiny glimpse at Breitbart’s brilliance — rather than go immediately on the defensive, make your antagonist explain his challenge.


38 Responses to “Breitbart: Who He Was, How He Was”

  1. Conservative Warrior Andrew Breitbart Dead at 43 | Maggie's Notebook
    March 1st, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

    […] The Other McCain: Breitbart Who Hew Was, How He Was […]

  2. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    March 1st, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    I am really shaken by this loss.  I am so sorry this happened.  It is tragic on so many levels.  

  3. Breitbart: Who He Was, How He Was « That Mr. G Guy's Blog
    March 1st, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    […] Breitbart: Who He Was, How He Was. […]

  4. Bunk X
    March 1st, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

     “Less than ten minutes later, he wrote back.
    ‘Thanks for writing. Here’s my cell number… call me.'”
    That was exactly my experience last summer. Fun to talk with, kids screaming in the background.

  5. Red
    March 1st, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    I’m shocked. My condolences Stacy. God. What now? Who carries that torch?

  6. Garym
    March 1st, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

    He was my hero. My condolences to all his friends and family.

  7. John Murphy
    March 1st, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

    Thank-you for reliving your piece of Andrew Breitbart. The more I read about this stunningly wonderful human being, the sadder I get about the fact that he is gone.

  8. JeffWeimer
    March 1st, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

     “and now they all have the same painful feeling: “I can’t believe I’ll never talk to Andrew Breitbart again.”


    The Lord gives us challenges he knows we can meet.

  9. R.I.P. Andrew Breitbart « Tacky Raccoons
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 12:42 am

    […] Robert Stacy McCain has a good sendoff, as does longtime friend Michael Walsh. […]

  10. Rose
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 1:22 am

    My favorite summation: launching tomorrow, up there somewhere,

  11. willpeir
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 1:53 am

    It’s funny. It didn’t really hit me until I read the Day by Day cartoon today. I already miss him. This sucks. 

  12. MrPaulRevere
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 2:13 am

    It was horrible to hear of this. I’ve been walking around in a daze all day. It seems like a bad dream.

  13. robertstacymccain
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 2:24 am

    He was so much fun to hang out with. I was just explaining to my oldest son: Yeah, sure, Breitbart was a powerful force in the conservative movement — one of a kind, irreplaceable. But what I’ll really miss is just the fun of hanging out with the guy.

  14. The Vermont Avenger
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 2:28 am

    I’ll forever remember getting to meet Andrew at the CPAC bar just 3 weeks ago. “I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart” was indeed what went through my head. I couldn’t believe I was talking to the man who inspired me to start a blog, to get behind the mic and launch my own talk radio show and to make videos exposing my local community’s left wing establishment. To hear him wish me luck meant the world to me. I’ve been in a haze all day. While I may not have known him the way you and some of the others did, I just can’t believe my hero is gone. I had hoped to meet him again. I can’t believe I’ll never meet Andrew Breitbart again. May he rest in peace. 

  15. Anamika
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 2:33 am

    “If he were here, he’d be retweeting all the insane tweets from the Left rejoicing over his death.”

    Of course you would think Andrew Breitbart would do that. What doesn’t surprise me is that you wouldn’t even think of the remotest chance that Brietbart would retweet all the decent and generous tweets  from the Left after his death (which happen to be the vast majority), including for ex. the comments of Shirley Sherrod.

    And what did Breitbart tweet so sanefully within hours after Ted Kennedy died?

    “Rest in Chappaquiddick.”

    “villain,” “a big ass motherf@#$er,” a “duplicitous bastard” and a “prick.” “I’ll shut my mouth for Carter. That’s just politics. Kennedy was a special pile of human excrement,”


  16. Anamika
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 2:45 am

    I always thought Breitbart was a sick man (physically). He looked a lot older than his age and as if he had drinking problems, there was life running out of his face. Maybe it’s that late night wine and arguments that killed him. Given his young family, he should have taken extra care of his health. May his family and friends find peace.

  17. MrPaulRevere
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 3:11 am

    And you know what you can go and do. Please tell your buddies from ThinkPink to do likewise.

  18. 'Jim' 'Treacher'
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 3:32 am

    Same here. At one point he said, “No, put your sister down now!”

  19. 'Jim' 'Treacher'
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 3:33 am


  20. Anamika
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 3:53 am

    I won’t give a f@#$ if you die. Let’s be clear on that.

  21. MrPaulRevere
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 5:08 am

    I’m devastated *eye roll*.

  22. Andrew Breitbart Passes Away at Age 43 … Death of a Conservative Hero and Patriot | Scared Monkeys
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:29 am

    […] More from the Other McCain. […]

  23. Andrew Breitbart Passes Away at Age 43 … Death of a Conservative Hero and Patriot … RIP | Scared Monkeys
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    […] More from the Other McCain. […]

  24. Garym
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    As far as we know, Brietbart never left a woman to drown in a car because he was so fucking drunk to even call for help. If he would have saved Mary Jane Kopechne and admitted he was a womanizer to his wife and kids, he would have been just another run of the mill lib. But alas, he didn’t and now even Mary Jane Kopechne isn’t available to comment on Brietbart’s death. Fuck off you smelly bitch.

  25. ThePaganTemple
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 9:09 am

     Breitbart habitually retweeted the most hateful tweets his detractors tweeted to him, so you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. As for what he said about Kennedy, he was right, and he was not alone. I for one rejoiced when the piece of shit died. If there is a hell, that’s where Kennedy is, along with his two scumbag brothers. The only thing where me and Breitbart part company is I personally put the steaming pile of refuse Carter on pretty much the same fucking level.

  26. ThePaganTemple
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 9:14 am

     I have to disagree as to what constitutes a “run-of-the-mill liberal”. The only thing that separates Kennedy from the average liberal is the power and influence he attained, which he never would have achieved without his family’s wealth and influence. Otherwise, he was a pretty common, actually mediocre piece of shit. Your average liberal would certainly never risk his life to save a drowning woman, nor would such a liberal ever admit to any wrongdoing.

  27. Garym
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    His family’s wealth and influence aside, I think he over compensated after Kopechne’s death. I don’t know the full history of Theodore’s career, before he callously left Kopechne to drown, but it seemed unremarkable up to that point.

  28. Mike Rogers
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    An extraordinarily fun and accessible man.
    I was privileged to have met him briefly at several events, and had the extreme good fortune to be in the right place at the right time whe Andrew and his buddy James O’Keefe were on a speaking tour in NH.
    As we were helping the hostess clear up at the end, Andrew suddenly announced that he wanted real Maine lobster, and did we know a good place?
    It was September, the weather was good, the convertible was ready, and you betcha that we knew just the place! Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier.
    True to form, Andrew was multitasking the whole way there, texting and making/taking phone calls on an urgent personnel matter, until we got to the spot, and into the serious business of eating!
    The conservative movement has been extraordinarily blessed to have had Andrew’s energy and drive these last few years, but our thoughts and prayers must not be for our loss, but for his family.
    It will be tough, but if there’s any way I can get down, a lot of people from NH want to send/express their condolences.

  29. Transterrestrial Musings - Breitbart
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    […] Who he was, how he was. […]

  30. Red
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    Makes me think of this little quote: “If you can’t say something nice, come sit next to me.”–Mae West and/or Dorothy Parker

  31. Datechguy's Blog » Blog Archive » More Breitbart Tributes, (or when 12 updates aren’t enough!) » Datechguy's Blog
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    […] Stacy McCain: A few months ago, I’d called or texted Breitbart about something and left my cell-phone in the kitchen, plugged in to re-charge, while I worked in my home office. So the phone rang and my son Jefferson answered, then brought the phone to me. Andrew and I talked a while and, after I’d hung up the phone, Jefferson said: “Wow, Dad, you know Andrew Breitbart?” […]

  32. Mike Rogers
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    Precisely. The left has met the enemy, and it is us!

  33. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    Thanks for that.  It made me laugh.  

  34. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    I thought Jonah’s comments about Andrew Breitbart were especially well made.  

    I am feeling depressed today.  But I found this helped.  

    The Kossacks are trying to encourage the Westboro Baptist Church to protest Breitbart’s funeral, although ironically I think Andrew would consider that a badge of honor.  

    And as for David Frum…I will not speak badly of him.  Frum is dead to me.  

  35. SDN
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

     And you are a fine example of someone whose death will be covered by the “it needed killin’ ” defense.

  36. Bob Belvedere
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    I think Andy Levy cracked that on Red Eye last night.

  37. Bob Belvedere
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    A gut punch.

  38. Bob Belvedere
    March 2nd, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    That sound you just heard was a set of hollow words from a malignant troll.