I Never Expected Andrew Breitbart to Break My Heart

CPAC 2012

 

Seven years seems like a lifetime ago. But it also seems like yesterday. I still remember vividly the moment when I saw the sad news hit my Twitter feed. I was dumbstruck. It was impossible to imagine a man who was so full of life he bounded through it like a real-life Tigger was just…gone. I wrote about it that day:

I never expected Andrew Breitbart to break my heart.  Then again, I never expected to be attempting to eulogize him at the age of 43.  It’s funny — even though he was five months my junior, I looked up to Andrew as if he were a big brother.  I suspect many of us in the conservative blogosphere did.  Whether he set out to be, he was, without question, our fearless leader.

I started the day out with thoughts of my dear Grandmother.  Today would have been her 106th birthday.  And, as I always do in celebration of the occasion, I wrote a little something about her to share with others….I had just posted it to Facebook and then Twitter when I saw a tweet that might as well have been a gut-punch….My immediate reaction was denial. I read the linked article/tribute from Larry Solov in utter disbelief.  In fact, the next words I uttered were “This can’t be real.”  It’s still not fully sunk in almost 16 hours later.  Sudden, unexpected death is always a shock, especially when the person is relatively young.  But when that person is someone you look up to as a leader, someone who serves as the very heart of something you believe in passionately…the loss is simply devastating.

I’d just posted my link about Grandma and changed my avatar to a pic of her with me when the news hit.  I was hesitant to change it again so quickly.  But then I thought about it and imagined what my Grandma might think of Andrew, and it occurred to me, she’d probably have liked him quite a lot.  She might have thought him rather cheeky, but I suspect she’d have found that amusing.  I also suspect that, had she known him, she’d have admonished him to take better care of himself.  And I feel fairly confident she’d understand that today seemed like a day to both mourn him and celebrate his life. Grandma understood grieving.

[Reflecting on CPAC 2012]

I made my way to the CPAC Theater for the Citizens United presentation previewing their upcoming film exposing Occupy Wall Street…Two of the panel were present, but the remaining three (including Breitbart) made a rather grand entrance complete with Guy Fawkes masks, which caused a humorous stir in the audience.  After a brief introduction, they showed the preview of the film which promises to be an unvarnished and unpleasant look at the realities of the Occupy movement….One of the funniest moments of the presentation came when, toward the end of it, Andrew’s phone suddenly started ringing. He jumped up as he was answering it and, in typical Breitbartian fashion, announced to the room, “Oh, it’s Hannity – I’m supposed to be on Hannity!” And proceeded to bound out of the room while commencing the interview.  I’ve often categorized various folks I know as Winnie the Pooh archetypes….Andrew was pure Tigger, and that moment captured it perfectly.
Over and over again, we’ve seen references to him as a warrior, a happy warrior, fearless, generous in spirit, generous with his time, likable, sweet, bursting with energy, bustling with ideas.  I know there are many out there who view him through a different lens, but this is the man that I and so many others whom I hold dear have come to know and love.  Andrew was a man who lived life large and found a way to employ his God-given talents in an amazing way.  He fought tirelessly and unapologetically for what he believed in.  I think, for me, one of the aspects of his story that resonated most was his own journey from liberalism to conservatism.  While our paths were somewhat different, here was someone whose view of the political spectrum was quite similar to mine; who, like me, could remember what it was like to hold those other views and used that to inform his championing of conservatism.
Early on, I remarked on his affable response to the hero worship.  He was a mega star in the political/media world, but you would never know it to see him or talk to him.  You’d expect someone who’s achieved his degree of notoriety, success and power to be full of himself. But he wasn’t.  He was full of life.  We lost a patriot, a champion and a friend today.  The conservative blogging community has been reeling from this news.  And yes, many of us truly are heartbroken.  However, Lisa Mei Norton posted this quote earlier and I thought it more than fitting:
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
George S. Patton
I certainly am thankful.  *Cheers* Andrew.  Time for a well-deserved rest.  Don’t you worry.  We’ll keep up the good fight.
I’ve lost count of the number of times in the years since I’ve stopped to ponder, “I wonder what Breitbart would think of this?” It was impossible not to wonder what he’d make of Donald Trump and his ascendancy.  What would he have said about “Fake News”? (I feel like he and Jim Acosta would have tangled at some point.)  What impish tweet(s) would he have unleashed upon Anthony Weiner’s release from jail?  And oh, the fun he’d be having with AOC and the Green New Deal right about now! Not to mention the impending Democratic Thunderdome primary.
He left too soon and left a giant void. But he also inspired a generation of conservative writers and pundits — several are/remain contributors here at RedState. So I would say he left an even bigger mark. A good friend (Rick Hornsby) put together an amazing video that day which honestly says it all:

 

 

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