Three years ago today, America and the Conservative movement lost one of its most passionate defenders. It is a testament to his success that on this day, Conservatives will mourn and Leftists will sneer. But we will all remember.
I met Andrew in or around 2002. I had begun writing and my columns were gaining some attention. I received an email from some guy who wanted to meet me. Who was this guy? I received many emails – a lot of them hate filled -but no one had ever asked to meet me. More significantly, no one had wanted to talk to me about how we could work together to, well, to change the world, beginning with Hollywood. I was intrigued. I called him and we set a date.
Andrew and I met in Beverly Hills at the News Room cafe. Anyone who knows Andrew will tell you that the passion and intensity one saw on the stage or in a panel discussion was the same passion present during ordinary conversation. The Breitbart effect was like a tsunami that just washed over me. Needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t quite know what to make of him. Or his idea.
Andrew had reached out to me because, well, because at the time there just weren’t that many Hollywood Conservatives speaking out publicly. Sure, there were quite a few of us, but we didn’t know each other and (in both our opinions) not enough of us were being vocal. Andrew had an idea to create a kind of Conservative Hollywood talking group, that would meet, network, and discuss ideas and ways to harness the power of our collective voice. “After all,” Andrew said, “Hollywood Leftists already have a group such as this.” As a Hollywood insider (oh, if he only knew!), he thought I was a perfect person with which to begin building this group. Andrew was a visionary. I have to admit that at the time, I couldn’t see the vision.
We talked for a long time that afternoon and when we left, I was Andrew’s Friend. I say that I was HIS friend. I had not quite decided that he was my friend. I was still absorbing the Breitbart energy. Andrew, however, had decided that I was his friend. He was that kind of guy. If he liked you, he embraced you. Andrew embraced me that afternoon and he didn’t let go.
Over the next months, he continued to reach out to me. He wanted to get the families together, wanted to meet and plan our Hollywood takeover. Finally, one day, he called and asked me to bring my wife to a dinner at the home of real Hollywood insider. This, he told me, would be the first meeting of the talking group he had envisioned. Among the Hollywood folks attending would be someone he believed I knew, Gary Sinise.
Anyone reading this with information knows what group I am talking about. From the mind of a, well, mad man, grew a group that, quite literally, took Hollywood by storm. Conservatives in Hollywood came out into the daylight and just as Andrew predicted, the Hollywood elite were shaken. In fact, they were so shaken that they began writing stories about this new “secret” group. The Hollywood reporter stationed photographers at an election-night viewing party in order to “out” the groups member’s. Moreover, Washington D.C. began to take notice. While speaking in front of the Conservative caucus, a dozen congressmen took me to the side to ask me quietly if I knew of “this group in Hollywood.” We were the worst kept secret in the country!
But Andrew wasn’t finished. He had long believed that he could also take over the internet. Andrew’s passion and vision was going to reset the way news was reported. He was also determined to re-calibrate the way that conservatives politiked. No more Mr. Nice Guy; the stakes were too high! It was time to take off the gloves.
Three years ago, we lost more than a good man, good husband and father. We lost a passionate voice for America and activist for the Conservative movement. He left us far too soon, but he didn’t leave us needy. Andrew Breitbart left us with our hearts full, our minds armed, and our hands ready.