I never got a chance to meet Andrew Breitbart. About the time I came out of my child-induced isolation, he had passed away. From what I know, I would have liked him immensely and I think he would have liked me. Andrew Breitbart, to quote his dear friend Brandon Darby, was “In human terms, a savior to a lot of folks. He helped a lot of people and he helped me.” This is a common theme among those who knew Andrew. He positively impacted many lives and gave purpose to a movement that had lost its bearing.
I started paying attention to politics when Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst were in their primary runoff for US Senate in July 2012. Andrew had passed away some three months before. Everywhere I turned, it seemed, Andrew had been there. My introduction to Andrew Breitbart was when I started going to the Texas Patriots PAC (TPP) meetings in The Woodlands, Texas. Julie Turner, president of the TPP, would smile wistfully as she talked about Andrew. When I read his “Righteous Indignation” biography, I shared a bit of local pride in knowing that his first foray into the Tea Party movement was at the “Tea Party in the Park” in The Woodlands on October 10, 2010.
In human terms, a savior to a lot of folks. He helped a lot of people and he helped me.
My next encounter with Andrew Breitbart was through Brandon Darby, who came to the Texas Patriots PAC meeting and shared his story of moving from left to right. The way that Brandon talked about Andrew, everyone could just feel the love and admiration that people have for this man. Brandon was surprised to meet a man who would selflessly promote another person and that’s exactly how people describe Andrew.
After I started getting my political bearings and signed up on Twitter, I began to be exposed to Andrew Breitbart in a personal and interactive way. I was introduced to conservative online journals and blog sites. Before then, I was only aware of what is called the mainstream media and I had thoroughly given up on them. Drudge.com, Breitbart.com, Townhall.com, RightWingNews.com, HotAir.com, FreeBeacon.com and on and on joined National Review and Weekly Standard as conservative-leaning news outlets. These online journals have become my go-to, not only for learning about current events, but also to help me understand the impacts that the events have on me, my family and my country, which the “lamestream” media omits or skews. Andrew had done this.
Because of Andrew Breitbart and his impact on the Texas Patriots PAC, where I learned more about local conservative politics, fueled with my inherent need to do stuff rather than sit on the sidelines, my Texas Representative asked me to be his campaign manager as he ran for Texas Senate. I warned him that I had NO IDEA what I was doing. He was okay with that. This was my first active step in politics. Campaigns have a steep learning curve and I learned something new every day. Frankly, about three months into the campaign, I was exhausted. I needed some inspiration. So – I went to CPAC for the first time this year, CPAC 2014.
Once I find something that interests me, I go all in. Obsessively. I want to learn everything, meet everyone, read what I can and get smarter. I went to CPAC 2014 as an “Individual” which meant I was a nobody and I was in awe. At first, I went to the speeches, like you do, and I got frustrated quickly. This wasn’t the movement I was learning about and wanting to get involved in. The speeches were moving and smart but frankly, a lot of hot air. At one point, in the morning of the first day, I went back to my room feeling defeated. I didn’t know how to join this movement. Being a Christian, I prayed. I said “Okay, God, you brought me here – so what am I supposed to be doing?” I resolved, as I left my room, to just say yes to whatever came my way. I was in the lobby-ish area and saw Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, and got giddy. I got to meet RICH LOWRY! And then I was off. I hung out at Radio Row and just talked to anyone who would talk to me. Andrew’s influence was everywhere. I met people I’d interacted with on Twitter, like Allan Bourdius, Chris Loesch, Wayne Dupree, Kurt Schlichter, Kevin Jackson, Michelle Ray, and on and on. I felt like I was backstage at the most awesome concert ever.
I was bitten by the conservative conference bug. There was a conservative family out there, birthed in part by Andrew Breitbart, and I wanted to be a part of it. I attended AFP Texas’s TX Online conference, quite possibly the best conference I’ve ever attended (Kemberlee Kaye – you are a rockstar). I got to meet my adopted family in person, the people who had made me smarter even if they didn’t know that’s what they were doing. Two people who talk warmly about Andrew Breitbart are Thomas LaDuke and Fingers Malloy of FTR Radio. When I wasn’t listening to the panels, I was hanging out with them. One of my favorite things to do is to network. I love meeting new people, learning about them and getting them to meet other people who might help them in their pursuits. Duke gave me high praise when he said that was a lot of what Andrew did and that I reminded him of Andrew. I was floored, humbled and encouraged. From then on, I have made it one of my purposes at my family reunions, aka conservative conferences, to network effectively. Ask Fingers – I get giddy when people who didn’t know each other meet each other for the first time.
At TX Online, I got to meet Jim Geraghty, Caleb Howe, Stephen Kruiser, Leslie Dowd, Tony Katz, Larry O’Connor, Morgan Williamson, Amelia Hammy, Jon Gabriel, Loren Heal, Cameron Gray, Lawrence Jones III, Charles C.W. Cooke and so many more I know I’m leaving out. At one point, Jim Geraghty, as he scanned the porch of the bar where we were ending our day, looked at me and said, “You know what? I like us.” All these people, these “Happy Warriors” as Andrew calls us (I’ll throw myself in the ‘us’ category), sitting around enjoying each other’s company, debating topics, sharing wisdom, disagreeing. I swelled with pride for my newly adopted family.
This summer has been a horrible time in our lives. President Obama. I just can’t even. I spend a good amount of time on Twitter and, as I’m typing this, I realize it’s to spend time with my family. I need them. We need each other. Many of us attended RedState Gathering 2014 and I met more of my adopted family members. We got smarter during the day and then attempted to kill off brain cells at night. Leon Wolf, who is the worst, encouraged me to write some blog posts. I have considered myself a pretty terrible writer and I am extremely obstinate so I took on that challenge. (And you have read all the way down to here, so I must not be that bad.) Andrew’s influence continues on.
Just this past weekend, many of us reunited once more at the AFP Defending the American Dream conference. At CPAC, Kevin Jackson of The Black Sphere, recruited me to his team. Currently, I’m the Director of the Tea Party Scholarship, which is an educational scholarship fund with a twist. I got to do radio interviews and I networked all over the conference. I got Twitter harassed by Ed Morrisey (squee!!), who is the nicest man that I know. Jenn Jacques is my new bestie. One day I will get Jenn & Leslie Dowd and we will rock the Kasbah! Once again, I got to love on and be loved by my conservative family. We all hugged goodbye and regretfully noted that our next reunion was probably CPAC, several months from now.
Driving home from the #Dream14 conference, I reflected on what has been the best year of my life and I started sobbing. They were mostly happy tears. The people that I have met, the relationships that I have been blessed with – I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m a ridiculous fangirl. I love promoting my family. And, in return, they love on me. We are good people with an honorable mission to save our country. We are stronger, smarter, more courageous, and fighting hard. We are winning.
Thank you, Andrew Breitbart. Love, Me.