The Other McCain

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R.I.P., Andrew Breitbart: Innovative Genius of New Media Dies at Age 43

Posted on | March 1, 2012 | 99 Comments

WINCHESTER, Virginia
“There is never a good time for bad things to happen,” I had just remarked to my wife, as we drove to the hospital where today we are dealing with a family emergency.

Minutes later, my cell phone rang. Jeff Quinton was calling to tell me the news: “Andrew Breitbart died.”

It was incredible. It had to be some kind of bad joke. I called Matthew Vadum, a contributor to Breitbart’s Big Government, who said he had confirmed the shocking news.

Vadum and I had just been hanging out with Breitbart last Friday at the Marriott Hotel in Troy, Michigan, where Breitbart spoke Saturday at the Americans for Prosperity Michigan forum.

A little later, Cynthia Yockey called me in tears, mourning Andrew’s loss, but as I told her, our own sense of loss of our friend and ally — a powerful and innovative force in conservative New Media — is inconsequential compared to the fathomless pain experienced by Andrew’s wife and four children, who should be in our prayers.

He may have been the greatest genius I’ve ever met, with a keen, intuitive mind. Although he had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder — he had a freewheeling quality about him, and his schedule was quite improvisational – Breitbart was also capable of a laser-like focus on whatever subject captured his interest. There were times you’d be talking to him and, if that spark of passionate interest hit, his luminous blue eyes would glow with an intensity that was almost frightening.

Andrew was 10 years younger than me. I’d known him for five years. His death reminded me of the 2007 death of John Berthoud of the American Taxpayers Union who, like Andrew, generously gave of his time and knowledge to help build the liberty movement.

I’m sure I’ll have updates later, and regret that I’m not in a position to do more blogging about this tragic loss today, but as I said: There is never a good time for bad things to happen.

R.I.P., Andrew.

UPDATE: Everyone who knew Andrew is probably telling stories today of their “Breitbart moments.” One of my favorites was in April 2010 at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, when Ali Akbar threw a blogger bash for GOP congressional candidate Ray McKinney and Breitbart showed up to regale us all with tales of New Orleans voodoo:

Lyndsey Fifield reacts to Breitbart’s remark — a Tulane alumnus, Breitbart was confirming that New Orleans voodoo is a reality — as Dave Weigel of Slate and political operative Zach Oldham stare in stunned amazement.

UPDATE II: Linked by the Rhetorican — thanks!

UPDATE III: Linked by the Lonely Conservative — thanks!

UPDATE IV: Rick Santorum reacts:

Obviously prayers go to him and his family and it’s a big shock. What a powerful voice. It’s almost you mean you think of anyone who’s more energy who’s out there constantly driving and pushing he would be.

Breitbart’s politics were a bit more libertarian than Santorum’s, but Andrew was strongly pro-life. It was kind of personal with him, because he was adopted — his birth parents were a couple of ’60s hippie types — and Andrew thus understood deeply the enormous potential of “unwanted” babies.

UPDATE V: Linked by the Anchoress and Daily Punditthanks!

UPDATE VI: Linked by Don Surber, Trevor Loudon, Andrew J. Patrick, Red Alexandria, Da Tech Guy, Moose and Squirrel, Dateline Zero, Temple of Mut, The Radio Patriot, Fire Andrea Mitchell, Katy’s Conservative Corner, Wizbang, Fausta Wertz, Republican Redefined, NOLA Defender, Nice Deb, Katy Pundit and The Camp of the Saintsthanks!

UPDATE VII: Linked by American Glob, POH Diaries and That Mr. G Guythanks!

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Comments

  • Pandragon

    Sigh, RM.  The old school-yard taunt seems to fit you pretty well:  you can dish it out but you can’t take it.

    As I wrote above, you might agree with Breitbart’s post-Teddy-death rant, but then you undermine your ability to argue that Breitbart-grave-dancing is somehow beyond the pale. 

    Personally, I think the guy was pretty completely unhinged; talented, shrewd, sporadically effective, yes; but unhinged nonetheless and bound to over-rev his engine soon enough.  Again, I urge you to look at the second link I posted and tell me that (spittle fulminations in check for a moment) you don’t agree.

  • Pingback: RIP Andrew Breitbart, Dead at 43 | REPUBLICAN REDEFINED

  • RegularGuyPaul
  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     What, he told the truth about what a bucket of scum Ted Kennedy was? Good for Breitbart. Teddy was a piece of shit. It would take a thousand Breitbarts to undo the damage that traitorous piece of shit did to this country, him and his two worthless brothers.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     Let’s not go too far off the deep end here. I admit it looks suspicious as hell, and I’ve had those thoughts dancing around in my head too, but let’s just wait and see. If Breitbart had something on Obama, I’m sure it will come to light. Killing Breitbart wouldn’t make any difference. Take a deep breath.

  • Pandragon

    I was wondering when you’d slither in, TPT.  See my reply to RM above.  And you have a real nice day.

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  • Tennwriter

    Stacy had my reaction. Just utter shock. Its a bad joke. He’s a year younger than me, for crying out loud, and he was so brilliant, so capable.

    In a world where darkness is king, he reflected light into the deepest shadows.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     Pandragon-what you don’t get is that I personally don’t give a fried diddly fuck what you think of Breitbart, just like I’m sure you don’t care what I think about the traitorous Kennedy brood. Do your best, or your worst, it doesn’t bother me. It is what it is. I am more than happy and content to count myself on the side of the Breitbarts of the world. You stick with the Kennedy, Obama, Clinton dirtbags. No one is trying to convince you of a fucking thing.

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    F.O.A.D., Godwin Rule breaker.  

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     It doesn’t bother me a damn bit. I was expecting it, moreover I was actually hoping for it. It shows them for what they are, traitorous asshole scum.

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  • Pandragon

    Nasty, nasty, DC.  As for Godwin’s Rule, my point was that AB was closest to being a  mad propagandist/ stormtrooper.   As I note, above, the dude was truly unhinged and obviously popped his own cork.  If you admire that, good on you . . . but that also says a whole lot about your psychological profile.  Enjoy your spleen. 

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    Note to self:  stop feeding the trolls. 

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    My wife’s father died of a heart attack at forty-three.  He was hardly ever sick a day in his life.

  • neills

    You on the Left celebrate Breitbart’s passing because he was so effective at exposing the Left’s lying, cheating bullshit, so long hidden by your kindred media, for EVERYONE to see. Can’t have that, now can we? That’s why you dance on his grave, you totalitarian slime, cause you can’t bear an effective opposing voice. Breitbart was EXTREMELY effective. Is that a cavalry of mini-Breitbarts I hear coming?

  • JeffWeimer

     He had heart trouble, has been in treatment for about a year or so.

    A commenter at hotair was speculating about an issue with iron accumulation in the heart and liver that’s common amongst those of Irish descent, which Breitbart was. The only treatment is literally bloodletting, to force the body to take up the iron  accumulated to make more blood. You can treat it by giving blood at least once a month or so. Women with the syndrome don’t present until after menopause, for obvious reasons.

    But that’s all conjecture. I’ll wait and see what the coroner says.

    Jeez, I saw the man three weeks ago at CPAC. We tried to help him get a Blackberry charger.

    If first met him at the 2010 tax day tea party in DC. 2 minutes before he was to go on stage for a speech, he said (and I quote, word for word) “I don’t know what I’m going to talk about”.

    Gave an absolute stemwinder, off the top of his head.

    Which is why he’s Andrew Breitbart, and I’m not.

  • JeffWeimer

     GFY dude. He had more integrity and truth in his little finger than you could ever hope for.

  • Pandragon

    Not sputteringly paranoid, are we now, neils.

    If you want to dispatch more “mini-Breitbarts” with the same unhinged need to provoke and act out, have at it.  Do I hear a symphony of cork-popping exploding heads?

    DC:  good advice

  • SDN

    Pandragon, you are the best argument for both the post-birth abortion and the revival of dueling. Every word you wrote is a lie.

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  • neills

    To clarify, I hear a cavalry of happy warriors carrying the Breitbart flag high, ready to continue effectively exposing the lying hypocrisy and brain-dead policy of the tired, agitated Left. Welcome to Little Big Horn, Mr. Custer.

  • Pandragon

    Reply to your silly Custer/Little Big Horn ditty:  You and your ilk would no more have resisted the 7th Cavalry than you would have stood up to King George or (ahem) Adolf.  You’re small minded bigots who get off stomping others — metaphorically, that is, since (to use Smitty’s indecorous phrase) you don’t have the sack to do anything real.  Have a very nice day, dud.

  • Pandragon

    Replying to SDN:  Ok, big boy (or girl), why don’t you point out specifically every lie I told.  You’re not going to be able to do it, and you’ll probably just blow it off.  This makes you what?  Oh, a blowhard, I’d venture.

  • BestRealAmerican

    And don’t forget (oh, wait — the MSM didn’t report on this)
    obummers adopted sister in kenya “died unexpectedly” in Kenya last year, right before odumbos visit. She was going to show the press where he was born:
    http://wtpotus.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/liaobamas-adopted-sister-died-suddenly/

  • Pandragon

    Backatcha, Jeffie.  What AB had was an overabundance of splenetic dyspepsia mixed with an overarching need to insert his poisonous ego, leavened with a true rhetorical talent but neutralized (indeed) by an obviously unhinged psyche and complete lack of control.  You may have enjoyed the show, but spare me the pious “integrity and truth” BS.  AB may have on occasion hit the mark, but that was secondary to him.  You know as well as I do that he just got a rush from spewing his venom, and the truth of the matter was completely besides the point for him. 

  • http://thedaleygator.wordpress.com/ Doug Hagin

    Awful news, may God give his family strength

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  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

    I have you linked here:
    A Great American Hero Has Died

    http://marezilla.com/2012/03/a-great-american-hero-has-died/

     

  • JeffWeimer

    Here was our guest’s response, before he got s-canned (got it in e-mail):

    Backatcha, Jeffie.  What AB had was
    an overabundance of splenetic dyspepsia mixed with an overarching need to
    insert his poisonous ego, leavened with a true rhetorical talent but
    neutralized (indeed) by an obviously unhinged psyche and complete lack of
    control.  You may have enjoyed the show, but spare me the pious
    “integrity and truth” BS.  AB may have on occasion hit the mark,
    but that was secondary to him.  You know as well as I do that he just got
    a rush from spewing his venom, and the truth of the matter was completely
    besides the point for him. 

    Projection really isn’t a river in Egypt.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Thanks to whoever wielded the Troll Hammer.

  • alohasteve

    THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!  We’ve been all over this as well on Common Cents.

    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

  • Wagtube

    The mighty Bob Belvedere recommended/forced me to read this post.  Kidding, I read your stuff freely and love it.  But, honestly,Stacy, this– ”
    our own sense of loss of our friend and ally — a powerful and innovative force in conservative New Media — is inconsequential compared to the fathomless pain experienced by Andrew’s wife and four children, who should be in our prayers.”– is so sweet, so true and so touching.  Thank you for that.   Bob, stay healthy.  I love my TCOTS.

  • http://thedaleygator.wordpress.com/ Doug Hagin
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UNZU74NIXQBSAAC5PR2B36VMWM Edward

     Yeah that’s what my father has.

    He lives above 8,000 feet altitude because it’s easier for him to breathe there and I believe he does give blood once a month or at least has a nurse tap a vein.

  • Pandragon

    Actually, Jeff, it’s denial that isn’t just a river in Egypt.  But I guess you and your buds know all about that.

  • Pandragon

    Truth hurts, doesn’t it BB.

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  • neills

    Ayers dinner couple of weeks ago.

  • http://maaadddog.wordpress.com/ John Doe

    It rarely bothers me when somebody I never met has died. I feel like I’ve lost a teamate an idol and (if I had been so lucky) a dear freind. 

  • http://marezilla.com/ Zilla of the Resistance

    You’re missing the part of the updates which says “Linked by Zilla”. http://marezilla.com/2012/03/a-great-american-hero-has-died/
    So is Bob Belvedere. 

  • Denverwindowwashing

    To describe the life of William F. Buckley Jr. as a role played is stupid.

    It is the same stupidity to describe Breitbart’s awesome life and influence as a role he played.

    You don’t know what the words you write mean and you talk about great men without, seemingly, any admiration or awe, even though I acknowledge you use the term brilliant, and I do applaud you for that at this a here place and time.

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