Our flag here at the Hayride is at half-staff today, because one of our heroes – Andrew Breitbart – is gone.
Breitbart was 43. He collapsed while walking near his house in Los Angeles last night, was rushed to the hospital and passed away there. It’s being said he died of natural causes; he did have some heart problems a year or so ago.
Breitbart might not absolutely be the father of the conservative blogosphere, but he’s at least the older brother we all look up to. Breitbart helped make the Drudge Report what it is now, he helped to found the Huffington Post, and then he launched his own raft of highly-successful websites at Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Peace.
And along the way he showed the conservative movement what a happy warrior is supposed to look like.
Breitbart took no crap from anyone. He challenged the premise of virtually every leftist media maven’s question posed to him, he saw through to the core of the Left’s philosophy and mindset and he was fearless in articulating why America should turn away.
Most of all, Breitbart was ruthless in challenging the mainstream media’s bias and agenda-driven coverage of the events of the day.
But for us, he was more than just a guy who did good stuff in the media. He also had a hand in making The Hayride what it is, because much of our playbook for developing this site came directly from his tutelage.
When Righteous Indignation, his autobiography and political manifesto, came out last year, I posted the following…
As an aside, I met Breitbart last year in New Orleans during the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. He was in the bar at the Hilton Riverside, and we struck up a conversation for about 45 minutes talking about a number of items. At the time he was still really interested in the question of what was going on with James O’Keefe, with whom he made history taking down ACORN, and the lay of the legal land surrounding the arrest when he tried his stunt at Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans. We talked about that for a while, and Breitbart gave me a few good pieces of advice about getting the Hayride off the ground.
A couple of days later, we found out that on the night I met Breitbart, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief fundraiser Allie Bautsch and her boyfriend had gotten beat up a half-mile or so away by a gang of anarchists who were protesting at an event at Brennan’s Restaurant. Our coverage of that attack literally put this site on the map, and Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com played a part in publicizing the story. Since then we’ve tried to copy as much of what Breitbart does as makes sense for us, with a whole list of things on our to-do list that he’s inspired.
Breitbart was a guy who seemed to be in a real hurry – but at the same time he was willing to put his crusade on hold for a short time to help folks who needed it.
He’s been taken too soon. He’s gone, and we need him more than ever.
Our prayers go out to his family. His passing is a terrible, terrible loss to them. It’s also a kick in the gut to the conservative blogosphere and the movement at large.
We’ll miss you, Andrew. God speed.