US blogger (and professional trouble maker) Andrew Breitbart dies…

There is nothing quite like the zeal of the convert. And Andrew Breitbart, who has died aged 43, as a born again conservative had more than enough (maybe too much) exuberant zeal to go around. A long time denizen of Hollywood and former lefty he spent much of the last ten years raging against what he saw as a liberal hegemony in the US media and what particularly got his goat was the grip of the Democrats on the rich and famous of tinseltown.

Adds: Good piece on Salon about just how important Breitbart actually was to the creation of the modern media in the US…

I met him once, very briefly one evening about five years ago. I’d not heard of him before, even though he’d been a key player in the blogosphere from even before the platform had been invented. Nothing in his demeanour that night suggested the public persona that broke out a few years later. Mickey Kaus was his mate, and recounts this story:

One day in the summer of 2010 I woke up to a commotion outside my door. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but it turned out that my neighbor, Jodie Evans, was having a fundraiser for her friend Jerry Brown, then running (successfully) for Governor. But there were protesters. Specifically, Andrew Breitbart, who was gliding around on rollerskates with a video camera, trying to catch Brown in the act of attending the party.

I thought it was a little risky of Brown to go to Evans’ house–her Code Pink organization does some wild things. But what struck me most was the mood–the way the lefties in the party and Brietbart waved to each other. It turns out they knew him. He’d gone to the Brentwood School with some of them. “Everybody tells me he’s a good guy,” one of the aggrieved Brown funders later conceded.

Towards the end of his life, he became more and more public, and increasingly hysterical. His war against the institutional left in the US took him to some very bizarre places, almost as though he was not quite in control of his faculties. His best moment was the Weiner controversy. The worst, showing a heavily cut and edited video clip that formed the core of what became known as the Shirley Sherrod controversy.

He broke more than a few plates of delph (and truncated some careers). Some on the left in the US will never forgive him. Indeed there are some on the aristocratic right who were not too fond of him either. To European eyes and ears, he was not what may of us would consider typical of a political conservative at all.

But his restless desire to smash what he viewed as the abiding grip of a liberal establishment, wherever he saw it, may tell us something important about American politics that’s not always obvious from this distance. As Gore Vidal once put it:

“There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party… and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.”

At the time of the revolution there was indeed only one party in the US; the imperialist Tories retreated to Canada. Andrew’s radical, often histrionic public anger smacked more of US whiggery than anything remotely resembling European conservatism.

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  • pauluk

    Brietbart loved to re-tweet the hate messages that he regularly received for rabid lefties.

    As usual he’s gets the last word, and the last laugh!

  • Mick Fealty

    Nice one. Though, you might also not that his last tweet was an apology for getting one of his more civil opponents wrong.

  • pauluk

    Yeah, he seemed like a pretty in-your-face guy. I’m sure he said plenty of silly and offensive things in his time.

  • tacapall

    Seems he was going to reveal some damaging info about Obama before his death.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/breitbarts-footage-shows-obama-palling-around-with-terrorists.html

  • Kevsterino

    I always viewed folks of Breitbart’s type provide proof of a degree of freedom of expression. And his was extreme.

  • Greenflag

    Extreme ? I suspect that much of Brietbart was playing to what he saw as a gallery only too willing to lap up the kind of entertainment he provided .

    Here Breitbart fantasizes about a civil war with his back covered by some unnamed General . He probably would not have appreciated the response to his ‘threat’ BTW this was a couple of weeks back before he passed .

  • Mick Fealty

    I got that from the commentary, not sure that’s actually what Andrew said…

  • Harry Flashman

    “…raging against what he saw as a liberal hegemony in the US media and what particularly got his goat was the grip of the Democrats on the rich and famous of tinseltown.”

    He saw the bleedin’ obvious then, did he?

  • Greenflag

    ‘not sure that’s actually what Andrew said’

    He did’nt use the words civil war but his exact words were
    ‘There are times when I’m not thinking as clearly as I should and in those unclear moments I think to myself ‘fire the first shot’ because I know who’s on our side and we have the guns etc ”

    At least he admitted thinking ‘unclearly ‘ and we know there are more than a few NI politicians who uttered words of a similar if not more extreme intent in the past and probably meant them much more so than Andrew Breitbart did..

    It’s crowded in shock jock territory with Limbaugh , Savage Stern etc and others raging away so I guess Breitbart had to become an extremophile to get any attention. .

    Anyway a sad and premature passing . Had he made it to the uphills of his sixties I suspect he’d have returned to the middle or even the left of centre.

  • Greenflag

    ‘He saw the bleedin’ obvious then, did he?’

    The obvious is not always bleeding Harry well not unless you’re in Iraq , Afghanistan , Syria , Gaza or Sudan which I suspect you are not .

    What he saw was a pimple which he mistook for the pox . And he then listed with the real pox to fight a pimple . Of course it may have all been just stagecraft and entertainment .

    But Breitbart was a ‘mensch ‘ for all that and much more of one than Limbaugh will ever be imo.

  • pauluk

    Greenflag: ‘I suspect he’d have returned to the middle or even the left of centre’

    Dream on! As people mature in age and wisdom most tend to become more conservative. Breitbart just happened to reach maturity a lot sooner than most of those on the left.

  • Greenflag

    ‘As people mature in age and wisdom most tend to become more conservative. ‘

    And less bat shit crazy like the Limbaughs , Savages and neo con nutters who’ve learnt nothing from their war mongering , greed and human and financial destruction of the past decade and more 🙁

    Not to worry there’s hope for you yet . The Olympics will be here soon. You can enter the ‘acknowledge your history ‘ event and run away as usual 😉

  • Greenflag

    ‘Breitbart just happened to reach maturity a lot sooner than most of those on the left’

    Well look on the bright side . At least he won’t have to suffer the torment of seeing Obama being re-elected with an 8% -10% majority .

    And not because Obama deserves to be re-elected but because the ‘conservative ‘ /neo conservatives have become more so than ever an incoherent rabble full of gobshites who are in a death spiral to see who can outconservative Attila the Hen or Reagan .

    its fun fighting for the right to right but the Help of an old Beatles number

    http://www.npr.org/2012/03/01/147657088/double-take-toons-fight-for-the-right

    Help me if you can Mitt turned me down .
    And Chris Christie says he won’t be coming round.
    Help me find someone who’s not a clown .
    Won’t you please help me.

  • pauluk

    It you want it from the horse’s mouth, here’s a 30-minute interview with Breitbart talking about, among other things, his involvement in setting up the Huff Post.

  • “What he saw was a pimple which he mistook for the pox . And he then enlisted with the real pox to fight a pimple.”

    Exactly, and when the pox in human form goes off bombing, killing and maiming peoples who are no threat to the USA, or it’s interests, they become media cheerleaders.

    [Mind your language – Mods]

    By the way great quote Greenflag

  • Mick Fealty