Life is cruel in how it pushes on, no pause for even the smallest acknowledgement of grief. That's how it was in the days following the death of my very good friend, the brilliant Andrew Breitbart. It has been a year since that call. I didn't want to believe it then and truthfully, I don't want to believe it still a year later. He has a great legacy left in his beautiful wife and children and the thousands of Americans he's inspired into action. I would have followed AB over any hill into any battle, sight unseen, such was my trust in his instinct. He was unconditionally loyal and it was easy to give in return. I had ringtones set for certain people, and around January of last year I set his to the Rolling Stones' "Gimmie Shelter," which he likely would have hated. "Your taste in music bewilders me Dana," he admonished once as we road-tripped with my husband across the midwest between events. "I'm right here with you on the 80's but Alice in Chains? Oh my God do not, please, please change this station. I can't, no, this requires an intervention." We were on XM Lithium and I switched it back to First Wave. He would have hated his ringtone. It has since been retired. It was easy to be brave with Andrew around. People drew from his courage when theirs had dissipated. He likened himself to a rodeo clown, of all things. I want to share something for which I've never gotten to thank him, which has really bothered me. After AB passed away, numerous people found me at events all around the country to tell me of a fateful night they'd shared with him in Michigan after the Illinois Policy Institute had caved to Media Matters and disinvited me from an event. He was the first person I'd called when it happened. I didn't know what else to do. Soros groups had always been relentless. Somehow when I spoke with him he had already heard and had reached out to John Tillman, the head of the group, via email which was sent to many others. I'd never seen it or was even aware of it until a few friends sent it to me a couple of weeks ago. A small excerpt:
I want to tell you that the decision to remove Dana Loesch from the program tomorrow is deeply troubling on many levels. There is a major well-financed campaign to destroy conservative media by the organized left. A series of Media Matters-inspired watchdogs, including the George Soros-funded Media Matters, utilizes hundreds of bodies to record and chronicle talk radio and other conservative media. They are fishing for moments like this to toss to the mainstream media (veiled leftists) who craft it into a campaign of marginalization. They have tried this for years with Rush Limbaugh and since he is so successful and makes so much money for his sponsors he is basically beyond reproach. But politically incorrect language and uncomfortable ideas is his speciality, and they limited his ability to attempt to buy an NFL franchise. Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and I are three others who are under constant monitoring. Our biggest fear is being thrown under the bus. We speak in the pop cultural vernacular, we appeal outside of the movement at large and engage with the real world. Real world. real language. That means hyperbole. Excess. Humor. We are all Rush's pale imitators! Our corollary on the other side are true vicious and vulgar bomb throwers like Sarah Silverman, Margaret Cho, Roseanne Barr, Michael Moore and Bill Maher. We are coming to the media table with less vulgarity. Less free rein to let it all hang out there. Not just because we are conservative, but because we have standards. But we are the ones who are invited into Bill Maher's world because he knows we are of the few who can who can reach out beyond the conservative movement. We are the great persuaders in a post-apocalyptic media era. Dana is a once-in-a-lifetime rising star. She comes from nothing. And she is now successful. A home-schooling mother. A talk radio host. A CNN contributor. An editor of a popular blog and a warrior princess! What more can we ask for!? That is why she is a huge target of the left. They know that her Bill Maher and CNN Liberal-land viability is a huge threat. They want to control the narrative and she is sending cool waves to their audience. Media Matters wants to destroy her and they are now using the conservative movements rules of propriety - and fear of reprisal - against it. Their guys say things ten times more offensive every day and there are no repercussions. But now Media Matters is sitting back and waiting for someone on our side to throw her under the bus so they can claim a scalp and set up a precedent that their maniacal and obsessive media monitoring is bearing fruit. Dana is a huge success. She will make mistakes. And we must not throw her under the bus. It won't just hurt her. But it will hurt other conservatives who will have reinforced the notion that the movement's timidity forces them to react precisely as the left has planned. I thank you for taking the time to hear me out now and on the phone. I am emotional about this because I know all too well what it feels like when you are left on the battlefield for dead or tossed under the bus. It is unbelievably demoralizing.I was stunned when I read this because I had no idea. Conservatives were becoming difficult to stereotype and without that stereotype it was harder to sow immediate resistance against them when they would appear in leftist circles. It threatened a progressive narrative. We're not all sweater sets and loafers. The relationship was never rectified (Thomas LaDuke sent me this link to an interview they did with Andrew about the incident). People like Ann McElinney recounted stories of this months later. I knew he was angry that some folks threw a fellow conservative under the bus, but I had no idea as to the extent of it until after he'd died. It is my regret is that I never got to thank him for any of this, which is why I'm sharing it. "Never leave a fellow warrior on the battlefield," was all he said. He truly never did. I wasn't the only one he ever took up for, I saw him do this exact same thing for countless rising stars in our movement. Replace my name in this email with other names. James O'Keefe, Brandon Darby, Catherine Engelbrecht and True the Vote, et al. have had staunch defenders in Andrew Breitbart. Everyone knows about Andrew the fantastical new media pioneer, the fearless happy warrior. But Andrew was also the behind-the-scenes perpetual mediator between factions. In fact, the last time I spoke with him was the day he died, that afternoon, about someone he knew who'd given me grief over a position. The guy is a prick, but don't sweat it, was what he basically told me. He knew that unity was our pathway to victory. Be there for each other. If you agree on 80% but disagree on 20%, fine. Whatever. Stick together to accomplish that 80 and when you've accomplished that then fight over the rest. Don't give up on each other. Don't throw each other to the wolves as a substitute for the bravery required to stand and fight. You don't have to love one another, but you do have to work together. Promote each other. Recommend one another. Support the up and coming generation. Others must take over when you can no longer fight this multi-generational struggle, so encourage them for your own sake and for the sake of your children. Don't leave the next generation defenseless because you couldn't sacrifice your ego. Maintaining a strong community means no one has to alone carry the burden of "rodeo clown." More voices, not less. Andrew understood this like few others. No one has to fear repercussions for speaking up, speaking out, speaking loudly. I have just as much to fight now as I did a year ago. Thank you, Andrew. You are very missed, my friend.
I am not sure if Andrew liked Jack Kerouac, but On the Road offers what's for me a perfect tribute for Andrew: "...the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="The first time I met Andrew Breitbart, spring 2009"][/caption] My friends are hosting a remembrance for Andrew in NYC tonight. This is a brilliant tribute, from last year.