New Orleans Andrew Breitbart’s career speaks loudly to the ongoing American phenomena of the winking carnie barker, P. T. Barnum huckster who always had something to sell and could find the suckers that would buy it. Breitbart’s passionate mission to destroy “progressive institutions” was clearly stated and there were plenty of rubes in cities large and small ready to fall for whatever tricks he had up his sleeve. Truth or fiction hardly mattered as long as it drove traffic to his websites, dollars to his pockets, and stirred up a mess, which then drove more traffic. That was his business and that was all he really cared about. For him the rest was no regrets and road kill. He built nothing, since hate, lies, and innuendo were the tools he wielded and they were only useful in trying to destroy.
I’m sorry he’s dead, but the plain truth is that he was already beaten. The voices he attempted to silence were no longer as loud, but they still were raised for justice, including mine and many others. Breitbart’s moment coincided with the Tea Party and fell as fast as they ebbed. He watched and railed while strange things, like the Occupy movement filled up space, and his base became narrower and narrower as his allegations became wilder and more farfetched around the litany of his personal enemies list. I was proud to have been high on his list, though I bore the buffoon no rancor. I understood his game, and he played his part well.
His credibility was shot, and even a huckster needs a thin reed of fact to grasp in order to hustle the sale. His obituary on the Associated Press (AP) wire minced no words in writing of the spurious editing behind the ACORN videos he promoted. The New York Times was more circumspect because they are still smarting from having swallowed his bait hook-line-and-sinker as leaders of the sucker brigade and the media outfits he abhorred. His attack on Shirley Sherrod and unconscionable editing of her remarks to the NAACP were harder for any fair minded person of any persuasion to stomach, and was the final coup ending his claim to any credibility.
When obits are reduced to saying that you cared about your family and were loyal to your spouse (“according to friends”), oh, and maybe you didn’t hate gay people, there can’t be any doubt that liberalism is still alive and well and searching for something nice to say. Amen!
I’m sure he didn’t beat his dog either, and neither will I beat on him now that he’s down. An early and untimely death is never a cause for any joy for anyone. There is nothing to celebrate there, and I won’t.
But, Breitbart had already lost where it counted, and where he wanted to be counted, in the larger political and public life of the country.
Adios and vaya con dios!