Andrew Breitbart, Theodor Herzl, and the dream that will not die

(Originally published on March 1, 2012. Today is the second anniversary of Andrew’s death. I still haven’t made myself delete his cell number from iPhone.)

I’d like to tell you the story of a great man.  In his youth, he was something of a dilettante.  He attended the right schools, enjoyed life, and didn’t think much beyond the pleasures it could offer him.  And then he found a cause.  A glorious and important cause that would deliver people from being enslaved to hostile societies and big governments.  Once he found his calling, he pursued it with passion.  He wrote prolifically, traveled widely and, most importantly, he thought outside of the box.  He took the vague, inchoate dreams that other men had and, because of his drive and vision, made those dreams a reality.

Living life so hard and fast took its toll, though.  If, as the Bible says, God allots a specific span of years to a man, it’s entirely possible that a unique man can compress those years into a much shorter period of time, in order that he can do what he needs to do, when he needs to do it.  And then this man, having opened wide the door for others dies, at 44 or maybe at 43.

I am, of course, talking about two men, one of whom died in 1904, two months after having turned 44, and one of whom died a little after midnight today, having just turned 43 just a month ago.  The arc of their life stories, however, has a remarkable similarity, and we would do well to heed and honor that similarity.

The man who died on July 3, 1904, was Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism and, therefore, the rightful father of the State of Israel.  Herzl was born in 1860 into a wealthy, assimilated Jewish family living in Hungary.  He was fairly uninterested in his Jewish heritage.  He didn’t disavow it; he just didn’t care.  He was a man of letters, earning a law degree, but working as a journalist.  Life was good, and really that was all.

And then the Dreyfus Affair exploded in France in the early 1890s.  Captain Alfred Dreyfus was an innocuous member of the French military who was framed for treason.  Most everyone knew that he was not the culprit but that, instead, the real malfeasor was another officer.  Following an orgy of antisemitic invective, Dreyfus was convicted on no evidence whatsoever, and send to Devil’s Island where he suffered five years of inhumane conditions.  Moral people in France were outraged at this travesty, and Emile Zola shook the world with his famous “J’accuse” letter published in a Parisian paper.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was an epiphany.  Antisemitism, he realized, was not a fossilized relic of the Middle Ages.  It was an infection festering under modern civilization, and could break out at any time.  Jews would never be safe in Europe.  They needed a place to call their own.  Herzl’s genius was that he took the European Jews’ abstract longing for a “next year in Jerusalem,” and turned it into a concrete, do-able idea.  Everyone knew that the Biblical Jewish nation had spanned hundreds of years in the Holy Land, and that Jews also had an unbreakable living presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years, from Biblical times to Herzl’s own times.  Herzl took this to the next level:  Why shouldn’t present-day Jews have their own land, a place where they were free from control and harassment at the hands of powerful, antisemitic governments?

Herzl was transformed.  His life had meaning and purpose and he lived every remaining moment with passion and energy.  He wrote, he traveled, he lectured.  He was a happy warrior.  He’d broken free of the thousand-year paradigm that had trapped Jews in Europe, and created a new paradigm, one that saw the Jews as a free people in their own land.  But that kind of passion and fury takes its toll.  Herzl was a blazing comet, but comets, for all that they burn brightly, vanish too quickly.  In 1904, Herzl’s great heart gave out.  He died 44 years before his dream was realized.  But here’s the important thing:  His dream was realized.  Herzl’s life mattered.  His vision burned itself into the hearts of millions of others and resulted in the creation of one of the most dynamic — and free — states in the world.

One doesn’t have to work very hard to see the parallels between Herzl’s life and Andrew Breitbart’s.  As Breitbart freely admits in his delightful Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, his early life was completely ordinary.  He was a knee-jerk Jewish liberal who grew up in Los Angeles without thinking much about politics beyond parroting the views that surrounded him in his liberal social and educational enclaves.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was the epiphany that exploded his world assumptions and forced him to look a grave problem in the world and device a solution.  For Andrew Breitbart, his Rubicon was the Clarence Thomas hearings.  As did Herzl, he realized that his society had a big problem — this time with the core problem being the Democrat party that had long been his ideological home — and he started thinking about solutions to this problem.

In the last few years, Andrew’s years of cogitation, combined with his happy warrior personality, resulted in a completely new paradigm.  Rather than adopting the defensive stance that is the norm for the Republican party when dealing with attacks from the Left, Andrew took the war onto the Left’s own soil.

Working with the equally innovative James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, Breitbart pretty much destroyed ACORN, a hard-Left, well-funded group that masqueraded as a meek and mild social welfare concern.  He took the war to the Left’s own turf when Leftists contended that protesters at a Tea Party hurled racist epithets at Black politicians and activists.  Andrew offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide proof that such conduct took place.  Despite the plethora of recording devices at the scene, no Leftist ever stepped forward to claim the money.  And of course, Breitbart brought down Anthony Weiner, giving notice to Democrats everywhere that the “gentleman’s agreement” that the media had with Democrats, an agreement that had successfully protected Kennedy and that tried so hard to protect Bill Clinton, no longer existed.

Andrew changed the paradigm.  He showed that, for conservatives, the fight doesn’t begin and end with stating ideas and hoping that the public figures out that conservative ideas are better.  That might have worked in a pre-MTV world, but in a world with a short attention span, and a Leftist lock on media and education, it’s just not enough to say that one has a better idea.  To give ideas traction today, we need to work actively to show that the opposing party has a much worse idea — and that it’s worse, not only at a purely ideological level, but at a functional level.  On the ground, Leftist ideas are a breeding ground for poverty, racism, corruption, and immorality.  It’s out there. Andrew knew it, and Andrew showed it.

Andrew also believed in redemption.  After all, like so many of us on the Right, Andrew started out as a liberal.  He loved fighting the hard-core Leftists, but he firmly believed that, by fighting them, he could bring them into the light.  And more than that, he believed that he could rouse the sheeples out there, the ones who are as we once were — Leftists by default rather than by conviction — and turn them into true Patriots who love and support the American dream, beginning with the Constitution.

RIP, Andrew Breitbart.  Your short time here was not wasted.  Just as with Theodor Herzl, your dream, your vision, and your drive will live on.

A little of this and a little of that

Still working on coordinating my stiff, unresponsive brain this morning, so I have nothing interesting to say.  I mean, my dog is perfect, and that’s always of interest to me, but it makes for very limited blog posts.

Fortunately, as is always the case with the internet, even when my synapses are moving as slowly as maple sap in the winter, there’s other stuff there.  For some reason, today’s National Review Online was the one that just riveted me.  The site had three posts that I think are worth sharing with you:

Charles C.W. Cooke talks about the fact that Jill Biden, who has a very Lefty type of PhD in education insists on going by the honorific “doctor.”  This is kind of peculiar on its face, because people with PhD’s in education usually go by professor, but never mind that.  Cooke’s real point is to highlight the American class system the Left has created with its emphasis on doctorates.  With all due respect to those who worked hard to earn doctorates (and I hold one myself, in law, as does every other lawyer in this degree inflated world), the doctorate does not make for a better or more knowledgeable person.  Indeed, one of the problems with doctorates is that they narrow ones knowledge.  We have more and more people who wave around an obscure doctorate in puppetry or a subset of fruit fly cell reproduction and then claim based upon the letters after their names that they have all the answers.  That’s just so not true . . . except perhaps in my case.  In future, please feel free to call me Dr. B.

John Fund points out that, after its initial bout of navel gazing when Kirsten Powers excoriated the media for ignoring the Gosnell trial, the media is right back to ignoring the Gosnell trial — as well as two other trials in which abortion clinics are accused of putting women’s health and life at serious risk.  This adds that little bit of extra irony to the wrap-up to Obama’s speech before Planned Parenthood:

As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we’ve got to fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve also got a president who’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way.  Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you.  (Emphasis mine.)

Repeat after me:  “It’s not about health care.  It’s about abortion.”  Until we acknowledge that, we will never have an honest debate about abortion — and its limits — in this country.

Congress awarded posthumous Congressional Medals of Honor Gold Medals to the four little girls who died in a Birmingham, Alabama church in 1963, the victims of a horrific extremist bombing.  Looking at that event and comparing it to the Boston bombing, Mona Charen makes an excellent point:

As Americans, we are not confused about the morality of what happened in Birmingham that September morning in 1963, nor during the Jim Crow era in America generally. We do not hesitate to condemn utterly the behavior and the beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan (the perpetrators of this bombing and others) and their white-supremacist fellow travelers. We do not worry that reviling white supremacists and their grotesque deeds will somehow taint all white people. (Though some on the left won’t mind if you generalize about white people.)

But when it comes to other groups and other motives for the same kind of terrorism — we lose our moral focus. Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Kathy Boudin have become honored members of the faculties at leading universities. Ayers is even a friend of the president of the United States. Regarding his own record of setting bombs that kill and dismember innocent people, Ayers told the New York Times on the ironic date of September 11, 2001, that “I feel we didn’t do enough. . . .  [There’s] a certain eloquence to bombs, a poetry and a pattern from a safe distance.” So says a retired “distinguished professor” at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Today, American liberals are obsessed not with terrorism but with the color and ethnicity of terrorists.

How’s that for moral clarity?

Andrew Breitbart was right all along about the massive Pigford scandal, one that saw a reparations law turn into a major scam to rip off American taxpayers.  To give credit where credit is due, the New York Times has reported the details of this fraud.  I’d like to believe there’s a conscious afterlife, simply so that I can also believe that Andrew Breitbart is up there, somewhere, pumping his fist with glee.  Perhaps the New York Times will become inspired by this effort and turn to real reporting, rather than spending 90% of its time serving as a propaganda arm for Leftist politicians and activists.

And finally, speaking of newspapers, over at the WaPo, an opinion piece says that the way to destroy the Koch brothers’ proposed LA Times purchase is for all the reporters to walk out!  That’ll show them.  I had to laugh.  First, why would the Koch brothers want to keep a staff that has been responsible for purveying such horrible Leftist claptrap, the paper is seconds away from bankruptcy.  Second, this assumes that there are no good conservative writers, which reveals a level of bias so enormous as to be almost incomprehensible.  And third, does Steven Pearlstein really think that, in a tight economy, hundreds of reporters are simply going to abandon their jobs?

James O’Keefe — Andrew Breitbart’s true heir

What made Andrew Breitbart extraordinary was that he understood that the best way to make a point was to show Progressives in the act of being hypocritical.  This is different from what the conservative blogosphere is doing (and doing quite well, I might add), which is to report on hypocrisy when it happens.  This second approach is necessary and appropriate, but essentially passive.  Andrew understood how to take it home to the Progressives, and to do so in the way most likely to embarrass them and to make for newsworthy moments that, once started, would spread throughout the blogosphere.

What Andrew did was also different from what intellectual stalwarts, such as Benjamin Shapiro, are doing.  People like Ben counter the stupid arguments, but they don’t create Kodak moments of hypocrisy.  I think Ben and his like are wonderful, and we need lots more like them.  Even better, we need to have them offer seminars to all conservative politicians and politician wannabes, so these guys and gals don’t open mouth and insert foot every time a camera is near.

O’Keefe, though, is cut straight from the Breitbart mold.  He is a master of puckish confrontation.  He doesn’t get into the face of well-known Progressives and Progressive organizations simply by screaming at or fighting with them.  Instead, he infiltrates their brains by taking their own beliefs and biases, and then playing straight to those issues.  In this way, because the Progressives think he’s sympathetic, they drop the mask and say what they really think, whether it’s a PBS executive who bad-mouths Israel, or ACORN outlets that willingly help pimps or, in this case, anti-Second Amendment journalists who refuse to practice what they preach:

If you like what you saw, please (a) spread it around to friends and family who need more data to support their conservative positions and (b) help fund O’Keefe’s organization, Project Veritas.

The problem isn’t the candidates; it’s the voters

I’m still reading scattered posts castigating Mitt Romney for being a bad candidate or running a bad campaign.  I understand the need to analyze failures to identify remediable errors, but we’re making a huge mistake focusing on the end of the campaign, rather than the beginning.  One could say the beginning of the campaign is the Republican primary that resulted in a nice, bland, classic Republican technocrat.  It’s the voters’ fault Romney went head-to-head with Obama.  But that conclusion still doesn’t reach far enough into the past to explain Romney’s failure.

Romney failed because the American public has been trained to vote against Republicans.  This isn’t as random or obvious a thought as it seems (although I’ll concede that it is pretty obvious).  It has special meaning for me, because I’m getting together with some conservative gals who have ties to recent Republican candidates.  One of them is married to a man who, some time ago, tried to displace Lynn Woolsey in the House of Representatives.  Woolsey will be retiring this January, but she’s probably quite satisfied that she can look back at decades of far-Left Progressive politicking in Washington.  Two of the others with whom I’m lunching are gals I last saw at a lunch for Elizabeth Emken, who lost to Dianne Feinstein.

Wendell Willkie, another Republican candidate who looked as if he ought to have won.

Both Republican candidates were fabulous by any normal standard:  intelligent, attractive, principled, and honorable.  In the 1940s, they would have been central casting picks for the good guy’s perfect political candidate.  Both of them ran against incumbents who didn’t even bother to campaign.  I’m not guilty of hyperbole when I saw that.  Neither Woolsey nor Feinstein did anything beyond putting up a few signs.  Both women knew that the Republican candidates weren’t worth fighting.

Woolsey’s and Feinstein’s certainty — which proved to be correct — clearly wasn’t because the Republicans were lousy candidates.  Woolsey and Feinstein could afford to do nothing because they knew that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell that California and Marin voters would vote for a Republican.  The Democrat political takeover is so complete that even God himself, if he ran as a Republican, would lose.

The late, great Andrew Breitbart understood that the problem isn’t politics, it’s culture.  Politics is just the final step in a culture’s trajectory.  Roger Simon exhorts conservatives to focus on the culture and force a change as quickly as possible:

As the late — and increasingly lamented — Andrew Breitbart pointed out repeatedly, “Politics is downstream from culture.”

Just how downstream we saw in this year’s election. Virtually every accusation made by the left toward Republicans and conservatives (sexism, racism, greed, etc.) was prepared and nurtured in the realm of culture. That was the earth in which the lies grew and prospered. And those lies, more than any facts or policies, were responsible for a liberal victory in a year — with unemployment at 8 percent and a deficit at 16 trillion — that should have been a Republican rout.

Put simply, give up on the culture and you lose forever. (It’s hard enough with the media and the educational system rigged the way they are.)

So my point is quite simple. Quit bitching and start doing.

Roger’s right.  Run for the local school board or town council (neither of which require you to state party affiliation).  Get onto the community college board.  Stop going to popular movies that have anti-American themes.  You can live without seeing the latest action flick, but the movie producers cannot live without your money.

On Facebook and at parties, politely argue with vapid Progressive conclusions.  I did so the other day on Facebook, and got an arch liberal to agree that the UN is a despotic organization that should be done away with.  I don’t think he’d ever thought about that before.  And I did it all by politely questioning conclusions that the Progressives in the debate couldn’t support and by advancing facts that they couldn’t deny.

We keep thinking that, because our ideas are sound, they don’t need explanation or promotion.  In the meanwhile, the Progressive Left has long understood that, because it’s ideas do not work well in the real world, but only in the Petri dish of the Leftist mind, they can become ascendant only through relentless promotion.  What we never realized was that most people don’t think, they just “know” — or think they “know.”  But really, they’re just like a shopper buying one brand of peanut butter over the other because the brand she selects has a better jingle that has formed part of a permanent soundtrack in her mind.

We need to start jingling folks — every one of us, in every way we can.  We can’t all be Andrew Breitbart, but we can be soldiers in his cultural army.

UPDATE: Welcome, Maggie’s Farm readers. If you enjoy this post, I invite you to check out the whole site. And if you like what you see, think about subscribing to the Bookworm Room newsletter.

The mainstream media has elected another president

My sister, who is only vaguely interested in politics, told me the other day that the Dems are lucky, because they’ve got such a deep pool of candidates for 2016 — and then proceeded to name Hillary and Cuomo.  She had no idea who Rubio, Jindal, West, Love, etc., were, and she knows who Ryan is only because he was on the Romney ticket.  The reason for my sister’s ignorance is simple:  On the rare occasions when she tunes into the news — meaning the MSM, not alternative media — these stations make no mention whatsoever of rising conservative stars.  Further, if she bothered to watch Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, who do mention young conservative guns, she would come away believing that they’re stupid and cruel, and that they hate old people and minorities (or are self-hating minorities).

Here’s the dirty secret of the 2012 election:  The mainstream media still rules.

We conservatives, optimistic to the point of stupidity, foolishly believed that the liberal media’s lies and hysteria during the Bush years was such that Americans stopped trusting it and tuned out.  Obama’s election, we thought, was the last gasp of a dinosaur press.  We assumed that it had impaired its brand so much that it would soon be reduced to irrelevancy.

What we didn’t realize was that during the Bush and Obama years, the drive-by media didn’t destroy its credibility.  Instead, it effectively destroyed the average American’s credulity.  The media still rules and it easily managed to put another one of its own into the White House.  Even more impressively, this year the media did it with the gloves off.  It made no pretense whatsoever of objectivity and, as it happily discovered, the voters didn’t care.

It’s at times like this that I really miss Andrew Breitbart.  He understood how to play the media.  No one else seems to, and I say that with all due respect to the energy, effort, and initiative that conservative stalwarts show every day.

As Breitbart understood, Obama and his ilk are not the enemy.  They’re the enemy’s spawn.  The real enemy is the media, and the question that must occupy us during the next I don’t know how many years is how we re-balance the media, either from the inside by breaking the Progressive hold or from the outside by setting up equally strong media alternatives.  Fox and AM radio, despite their popularity amongst core conservatives, are not changing the nation’s zeitgeist, which is still manipulated by a very-much-alive Progressive media.

One of the worst things about the media is how slavishly America’s young people follow it.  Whatever happened to teenage rebellion?  For better or worse, in the 1960s, teenage rebellion was about remaking the world, with drugs and sex as an enjoyable byproduct.  Now, though, teenage rebellion is about drugs and sex and, once having attained those “edgy” attributes, America’s young people willingly fall into the lockstep dictated to them by old Hollywood and Manhattan fat cats.

Can we make Individualism edgy?  That is, can we entice young people into breaking with their parents by embracing individualist, free-market ideas as an act of rebellion that goes beyond drugs, sex, and mimicking the latest mindless Leftist out of Hollywood?

John Stossel, live and impassioned

(Image by Luigi Novi)

The Marin County Republican Party, which last year hosted the late, great Andrew Breitbart, was able to entice John Stossel to come visit as part of his book tour for No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails-But Individuals Succeed.

To no one’s surprise, during his half hour talk (followed by a Q&A session) John Stossel made compelling arguments in favor of smaller government.  My favorite was his OSHA riff.  Mr. Stossel put up a graph showing that, since OSHA’s creation, workplace casualties have declined consistently and dramatically.  Hmm.  Why in the world was Mr. Stossel, a small government advocate, showing that slide?

The answer came quickly, when Mr. Stossel showed a second graph charting workplace casualties for an extended period of time (going back to WWII or before).  That graph revealed that the decline began before OSHA’s creation and that OSHA had no effect whatsoever on the trajectory.  Before OSHA’s expensive, business-killing creation, what was driving down workplace industries was the market place itself:  between a more educated workforce, changing social mores, and the manufacturers’ realization that dead workers were expensive (lawsuits and retraining new workers), work places were becoming safer without an expensive, oppressive government agency interfering in every American business.  As Mr. Stossel said, the government is like someone who jumps in front of a parade and pretends that it’s the leader.

I could go on dredging my rather pathetic memory for more examples of Mr. Stossel’s proof that government is the problem, not the solution, but you’d do better to buy and read his book, as I did. Indeed, when I asked Mr. Stossel during the Q&A session if the big government egg could be unscrambled, to much laughter, he joked that the best way to get the ball rolling would be to buy his book, and to knock Rachel Madow’s book out of the No. 1 position on the best seller lists.

Of course, that’s only sort of a joke.  Mr. Stossel is right in that we cannot change government unless we change how people think about government.  As Mr. Stossel explained, for most people it’s counter-intuitive to believe that a large, visible entity such as the government cannot “fix” things.  People find it almost impossible to believe that Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” is the real answer to most of the problems we face.   Getting more people to understand the Invisible Hand, and doing it in clear, 21st century language, with 21st century anecdotes, rather than trying to convince through Adam Smith’s 18th century prose, is a good start.

I left the gathering well-satisfied.  As was the case with Andrew Breitbart, John Stossel manifestly and passionately believes in bringing an end to big government.  Although he must have given this talk hundreds of times before, it felt fresh and invigorating.  This was in stark contrast to David Axelrod’s talk before a huge audience in the Marin County Civic Center, which I attended last year.  After noting that Axelrod came across as rather charming, I had this to say:

Axelrod was also dull. The Italians call his kind of speech “fried air,” meaning that there were lots of words, but there wasn’t much content.  (I’d be really good at that kind of speech, plus being charming.)  He described how he met Obama, how wonderful the young Obama was, how wonderful the mature Obama is, etc. He made a few half-hearted attacks against Republicans (especially Perry, which was interesting), but mostly he just wandered on with his canned speech. At periodic intervals, he spouted obligatory conclusions about the wonderfulness of his liberal ideology and the foulness of the Republican world view, but he never made the case for either of these points — which is unsurprising, I guess, since the audience was already on board with his position.

The whole thing was lifeless and lackluster. Axelrod seemed tired and, while the audience was very friendly, it lacked energy.

Axelrod is a cynic; Mr. Stossel a true believer — and I believe too.

The Breitbarters launch their first barrage in their war against the American Leftist media

One of the weaknesses in my abilities as a blogger is that I have very little patience for television, especially the talking heads on MSM television.  To me, they’re all Max Headroom:

My philosophy is that life is too short to spend time in Max Headroom’s company. My mistake, though, is in believing that mine is a common philosophy. Those Americans who think of themselves as informed believe that the path to being informed is to watch the talking heads.  Rather than viewing original source material, or reading in-depth analyses, they turn to the chattering classes.

For decades, therefore, the MSM had a lock on the information Americans heard.  Conservatives talked among themselves, but they couldn’t break through the MSM’s lock on middle-class sensibilities.  In the early years of MSM dominance, middle-class sensibilities still hewed conservative, so the MSM’s effect was blunted.  With the passing of decades, however, the combination of the Leftist lock on media and education meant that the new middle class — and especially the educated middle class, bought entirely into the MSM worldview.

Conservatives responded by throwing up their hands and saying “what can we do?”  In the place of argument and emotionalism, they kept trying to come back with facts.  B-O-R-I-N-G.  In a media age, without a hook for those facts, no one pays attention to some thoughtful, scholarly dissertation, especially when its some guy with a bad comb-over or, worse, a Southern accent, taking on a pretty, hyper-verbal bimbette who is trained in the party line.  The first crack in this monolithic wall of information was Fox TV, but Fox still plays by MSM rules.  It substitutes conservative talking heads for liberal ones — and Americans love it — but it’s still playing the same game.

Andrew Breitbart’s genius (a word that I do not use loosely) was that he understood that, with new media, he had in his hand the atomic bomb that completely overthrows the traditional media dynamic.  Add to that his ADHD understanding of the average audience attention span, and you’ve got a whole new paradigm.  Thankfully, although Andrew is gone, those who worked with whom are keeping those lessons alive.

Yesterday, as you all know, Breitbart.com rolled out the first Obama tape.  To be honest, it’s a nothing.  Really.  At an affirmative action rally back in the early 1990s, Obama gives a fond welcome to Prof. Derrick Bell.

What’s fascinating isn’t the boring video, but the media’s response to the boring video.  Derrick Bell may have had disgusting racial attitudes, but he was a crazy, pompous fart, and you need to connect a lot of dots to explain to Americans that this crazy, pompous, racist fart had an outsized effect on academia, including budding academics like Barack and Michelle, and all their friends.  Given those facts, the media could just kind of ignore the video to death.  But media people aren’t doing that.

Instead, the MSM’s talking heads are doing what Soledad O’Brien is doing, which is to announce shrilly an obvious point — that the video is boring — and then to try to obfuscate the issue as much and as loudly as possible:

What Soledad and the others don’t realize (and what I’m assuming) is that they’re being played. And boy does this feel good, because the Dems certainly played us with the Sandra Fluke testimony. In the above video, the pretty Soledad is shrill and argumentative. Joel Pollak, who does not have a bad comb-over, but is a perfectly nice looking and sounding man, is calm.  He’s neither boring nor condescending.  Instead, he’s starting the education process. Without ever losing his cool, he lets Soledad, whose voice becomes dog whistle-shrill as the segment progresses, to dig an intellectual hole, and then he bombards her with peacefully stated facts.

I love this Pollak versus O’Brien video.  I really do.  And it’s still a nothing.  It’s a silly fight between a shrill sorority girl and a charming intellectual about a boring video from two decades ago.  But that’s not the point.  This is ground work.

If there’s one thing we learned when Andrew brought down ACORN, it’s that he understood narrative. You don’t give away the movie in the first five minutes. You have a story line. You have plot twists and turns. You have more and more information. And then you have a stunning denouement. The Breitbart crowd is letting the Leftists show themselves here. We’re seeing their bias, their condescension, their ignorance, and their spin. In the elegant tradition of true story-telling, the Breitbarters are allowing the movie’s bad guys to show themselves.

Having established character, the plot will begin.  Right now, the bad guys (i.e., the MSM cadre) are using up their ordnance to kill what they openly characterize as a mere mosquito. Meanwhile, the Breitbarters are educating the public about the dangers of mosquitoes. Not one measly mosquito, but swarms of mosquitoes. And I know what that means: the Breitbarters are going to be swarming us with more and more and more information about Obama’s unpleasant friendships and, more importantly, about the media’s cover-up.  This is a horror movie, and the victims and the bad guys are one and the same — the MSM people swatting at a single mosquito while a swarm of killer mosquitoes floats ominously just over the horizon.

At the end of the day, the current video isn’t about Obama at all. The subsequent videos won’t be either.  He’s already president. We’ve had three and a half years to see him in action, and we know who and what he is. We know about the petulance, the racism, the antisemitism, the incompetence, the passivity, and the intellectual dishonesty.

This battle is about something much more important than one petty man.  It’s about the mainstream media. The media won the election for Obama in 2008.  They did so using chicanery, deceit through omission, obfuscation, and a variety of other tricks that flim-flammed a credulous public that has relied upon a self-styled “objective” media for more than forty years.  What we’re seeing now is the Breitbarters working hard to make sure that the media’s credibility is so thoroughly destroyed that it can no longer throw elections to its favored candidates.

Even in death, Andrew Breitbart is busting down the media’s sound-proofed doors

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Several friends have forwarded a story to me:  Obama may have had a little campaign help back in 2008 from the Russians.  Right now, for the vast majority of Americans, the story is a tree falling in a forest with no one around to listen.

Why?  Because the MSM is going to make sure it gets no traction.  The news outlets will report it, but they’ll bury it and make it boring.  There won’t be front page fulminations, late night jokes, hysterical headlines, or any of the fanfare necessary to get people, both inside and outside of Washington, D.C., excited.  Indeed, if the Republicans try to get a little excitement going, the media will be sure to ridicule and humiliate those Republicans and, even better, to pervert their message.  After all, thanks to the media making the message, the Catholic Church’s dismay that HHS is forcing it to pay for birth control and abortifacients has been re-broadcast as Republicans banning birth control and trying to make sex out of marriage illegal.

Andrew Breitbart understood this.  He got that the problem in America is the media, because it decides what people hear and what should excite or disgust them.  By now, thanks in part to his messaging, we all get that.  Our problem is to replicate Andrew’s genius in bypassing the media and making a big noise without it.

Sadly, I’m not a noisemaker.  I adore each and every one of you, my dear friends and readers, but I know that I’m preaching to the choir.  To the extent I make a noise, it’s a cute squeak.  I’m certainly not imaginatively busting out and overriding the white noise silence the media puts on stories that damage its chosen candidates.

Still, you can do something by making the new Breitbart website — called, simply, Breitbart — the biggest new thing and noise in the internet world.  It’s a yeller and a shouter, and it’s working hard to silence the media’s white noise, and make sure everybody hears the truth about the White House and the man in it.  In the same vein, please visit the Washington Free Beacon on a regular basis.  It’s also a wonderfully loud media alternative.


And if you want to make the Left nervous, buy the shirt.

One Million Breitbarts

If you’re a Facebook user, please consider “liking” OneMillionBreitbarts.  Zombie explains why it matters that we’re all Breitbarts now.

Also, Bill Whittle makes three points about Andrew’s death.  The first two may or may not resonate with you (there’s been a little mild disagreement), but the third distills Andrew’s message down to its core, which also explains why we need, not just a million Breitbarts, but millions of Breitbarts:

And while we don’t want to deify Andrew (and, boy, would he have a good laugh about that if we did), keep him in the forefront of your brain during the election season, and run every single news story you hear through the Andrew filter:

By the way, if you’re wondering what the Andrew filter is, Robert Wargas helps explain.

My friends react to Andrew Breitbart’s death

The conservative blogosphere is awash (appropriately) in tributes to Andrew Breitbart.  It is impossible to link to every post that touches upon his genius (and he was, in his way, a genius), or upon his family’s loss, or upon the larger loss to the conservative movement.  I’ll confine myself, therefore, to linking to posts by those blog friends with whom I regularly correspond, all of whose posts have moved me a great deal:

JoshuaPundit:  Andrew Breitbart 1969-2012 – Life Without A Safety Net

GayPatriot:  The Passing of Andrew Breitbart : A terrible blow to the conservative movement, a devastating loss to his family

The Anchoress:  Andrew Breitbart, RIP; reactions

Brutally Honest:  RIP Andrew Breitbart

The Noisy Room:  One Falls Along The Way

Flopping Aces:  Andrew Breitbart dead at 43

Trevor Loudon:  A warrior has fallen

Pink Flamingo Bar:  In Memoriam:  Andrew Breitbart 1969-2012

If I’ve missed someone among my friends, my apologies.  It’s not a friendship fail, it’s a brain fail.  Send me the link, and I’ll update.  Also, if you’ve written something since I put up this post, please let me know.

Andrew Breitbart, Theodor Herzl, and the dream that will not die

I’d like to tell you the story of a great man.  In his youth, he was something of a dilettante.  He attended the right schools, enjoyed life, and didn’t think much beyond the pleasures it could offer him.  And then he found a cause.  A glorious and important cause that would deliver people from being enslaved to hostile societies and big governments.  Once he found his calling, he pursued it with passion.  He wrote prolifically, traveled widely and, most importantly, he thought outside of the box.  He took the vague, inchoate dreams that other men had and, because of his drive and vision, made those dreams a reality.

Living life so hard and fast took its toll, though.  If God allots a specific span of years to a man, it’s entirely possible that one man can compress those years into a much shorter period of time, in order that he can do what he needs to do, when he needs to do it.  And then this man, having opened wide the door for others dies, at 44 or maybe at 43.

I am, of course, talking about two men, one of whom died in 1904, two months after having turned 44, and one of whom died a little after midnight today, having just turned 43 just a month ago.  The arch of their life stories, however, has a remarkable similarity, and we would do well to heed and honor that similarity.

The man who died on July 3, 1904, was Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism and, therefore, the rightful father of the State of Israel.  Herzl was born in 1860 into a wealthy, assimilated Jewish family living in Hungary.  He was fairly uninterested in his Jewish heritage.  He didn’t disavow it; he just didn’t care.  He was a man of letters, earning a law degree, but working as a journalist.  Life was good, and really that was all.

And then the Dreyfus Affair exploded in France in the early 1890s.  Captain Alfred Dreyfus was an innocuous member of the French military who was framed for treason.  Most everyone knew that he was not the culprit but that, instead, the real malfeasor was another officer.  Following an orgy of antisemitic invective, Dreyfus was convicted on no evidence whatsoever, and send to Devil’s Island where he suffered five years of inhumane conditions.  Moral people in France were outraged at this travesty, and Emile Zola shook the world with his famous “J’accuse” letter published in a Parisian paper.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was an epiphany.  Antisemitism, he realized, was not a fossilized relic of the Middle Ages.  It was an infection festering under modern civilization, and could break out at any time.  Jews would never be safe in Europe.  They needed a place to call their own.  Herzl’s genius was that he took the European Jews’ abstract longing for a “next year in Jerusalem,” and turned it into a concrete, do-able idea.  Everyone knew that the Biblical Jewish nation had spanned hundreds of years in the Holy Land, and that Jews also had an unbreakable living presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years, from Biblical times to Herzl’s own times.  Herzl took this to the next level:  Why shouldn’t present-day Jews have their own land, a place where they were free from control and harassment at the hands of powerful, antisemitic governments?

Herzl was transformed.  His life had meaning and purpose and he lived every remaining moment with passion and energy.  He wrote, he traveled, he lectured.  He was a happy warrior.  He’d broken free of the thousand-year paradigm that had trapped Jews in Europe, and created a new paradigm, one that saw the Jews as a free people in their own land.  But that kind of passion and fury takes its toll.  Herzl was a blazing comet, but comets, for all that they burn brightly, vanish too quickly.  In 1904, Herzl’s great heart gave out.  He died 44 years before his dream was realized.  But here’s the important thing:  His dream was realized.  Herzl’s life mattered.  His vision burned itself into the hearts of millions of others and resulted in the creation of one of the most dynamic — and free — states in the world.

One doesn’t have to work very hard to see the parallels between Herzl’s life and Andrew Breitbart’s.  As Breitbart freely admits in his delightful Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, his early life was completely ordinary.  He was a knee-jerk Jewish liberal who grew up in Los Angeles without thinking much about politics beyond parroting the views that surrounded him in his liberal social and educational enclaves.

For Herzl, the Dreyfus Affair was the epiphany that exploded his world assumptions and forced him to look a grave problem in the world and device a solution.  For Andrew Breitbart, his Rubicon was the Clarence Thomas hearings.  As did Herzl, he realized that his society had a big problem — this time with the core problem being the Democrat party that had long been his ideological home — and he started thinking about solutions to this problem.

In the last few years, Andrew’s years of cogitation, combined with his happy warrior personality, resulted in a completely new paradigm.  Rather than adopting the defensive stance that is the norm for the Republican party when dealing with attacks from the Left, Andrew took the war onto the Left’s own soil.

Working with the equally innovative James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, Breitbart pretty much destroyed ACORN, a hard-Left, well-funded group that masqueraded as a meek and mild social welfare concern.  He took the war to the Left’s own turf when Leftists contended that protesters at a Tea Party hurled racist epithets at Black politicians and activists.  Andrew offered $100,000 to anyone who could provide proof that such conduct took place.  Despite the plethora of recording devices at the scene, no Leftist ever stepped forward to claim the money.  And of course, Breitbart brought down Anthony Weiner, giving notice to Democrats everywhere that “gentleman’s agreement” that the media had with Democrats, an agreement that had successfully protected Kennedy and that tried so hard to protect Bill Clinton, no longer existed.

Andrew changed the paradigm.  He showed that, for conservatives, the fight doesn’t begin and end with stating ideas and hoping that the public figures out that conservative ideas are better.  That might have worked in a pre-MTV world, but in a world with a short attention span, and a Leftist lock on media and education, it’s just not enough to say that one has a better idea.  To give ideas traction today, we need to work actively to show that the opposing party has a much worse idea — and that it’s worse, not only at a purely ideological level, but at a functional level.  On the ground, Leftist ideas are a breeding ground for poverty, racism, corruption, and immorality.  It’s out there, Andrew knew it, and Andrew showed it.

Andrew also believed in redemption.  After all, like so many of us on the Right, Andrew started out as a liberal.  He loved fighting the hard-core Leftists, but he firmly believed that, by fighting them, he could bring them into the light.  And more than that, he believed that he could rouse the sheeples out there, the ones who are as we once were — Leftists by default rather than by conviction — and turn them into true Patriots who love and support the American dream, beginning with the Constitution.

RIP, Andrew Breitbart.  Your short time here was not wasted.  Just as with Theodor Herzl, your dream, your vision, and your drive will live on.

Andrew Breitbart, RIP

I’m beyond stunned.  Andrew Breitbart is . . . was one of the most vital, dynamic people I’ve ever met.  He crackled with energy and enthusiasm.  To learn that he is dead is almost unbelievable, in part because he was so young and in part because he lived with such intensity.

When I saw the headline, I thought it was some horrible joke and then realized it couldn’t be, as the report of his death is spread across each of his own internet publications:  Big Hollywood, Big Journalism, Big Peace, and Big Government.

This is a tremendous loss.  Not just to his family (although I cannot imagine what’s going on there, as he leaves very young children behind) and friends, but also to the conservative world.  Andrew thought outside of the box.  He was big and creative.  He understood his political opponents and used their personality, beliefs, and tactics to his own advantage.

This is so very sad.

RIP, Andrew Breitbart