Review of Breitbart's Righteous Indignation, Excuse Me While I Save the World
by Tom Donelson on May 31, 2011 at 11:36 AM
Two years ago, my good friend Richard Nadler passed away. Mr. Nadler was a genius who saw opportunities in expanding the conservative majority while implementing the plans to do just that. As President of Americas PAC, I owe more than a debt of gratitude, since Mr.Nadler not only founded Americas PAC, which I am President of, but also Americas Majority Foundation; two organizations designed to fulfill his vision. What made Nadler unique was his ability to understand his political opponents and their method of operations since he began his own career on the hard left.
This past week, I read Andrew Breitbart's book, Righteous Indignation, Excuse Me While I Save the World and saw much similarity between Mr. Nadler’s methods and Mr. Breitbart's. Breitbart grew up in a California that transformed itself from one of the faster growing states to one that is one step from being a Banana Republic. In the 1970’s and 80’s, California was still the land of the American dream, but now it is simply another poorly managed blue state; looking more like Greece than the old California in which most of us dreamed about. Today, Texas is the new California where dreams can be fulfilledand California is governed by an old leftist retread, the ever flexible Jerry Brown who consistently reinvented himself every so many years and now is the manager of a California sinking into the financial abyss. Breitbart, like many Californians, saw the California dream slip into the California nightmare.
For Breitbart, his first moment of clarity was the Clarence Thomas hearings in which vicious attacks on the conservative African-American jurist disgusted him and then while working as a production assistant in Hollywood, he listened to Rush Limbaugh on a daily basis. In the early 90’s, the combination of the Thomas hearings and listening to Rush Limbaugh, Breitbart moved from the left to the right. Once he settled on the right, Breitbart realize that the next battleground will be cultural as the left control much of it from the Media to Hollywood.
His own war against the establishment media began in the mid 90’s when he teamed with Matt Drudge just as Drudge's own career was beginning. It was Drudge who broke the story about the Monica Lewinsky affair with President Clinton, a story that Newsweek first had but held up for publication. Talk radio was the first break in the Mainstream Media monopoly on news and Drudge Report was the second.
One has to understand what the media was like in the early 80’s before the rise of the Talk Radio and the internet. There were three networks, dominated by a bee hive mentality of liberalism in most major news rooms. ABC, NBC and CBS along with the New York Times and the Washington Post determined the new stories and often with a liberal tinge while conservatives depended upon various think tanks like Heritage Foundation and journals like National Review plus a very few columnists on the editorial pages to get their side out. When the FCC eliminated the Fairness doctrine in 1987, Talk Radio exploded but it should be pointed out; it wasn’t until the early 90’s before Rush Limbaugh became the dominant force he is today. The early 90’s saw the growth of an alternative media through talk radio but the left had their own enclaves before the rise of Limbaugh showed many radio program directors that people preferred talkers of the Right as oppose to the left; which is still the case today.
If Limbaugh was the first break in the liberal monopoly, Fox News and Drudge Report represented the second wave as conservatives now had options to get their side of the story out. The Internet and cable opened the door as cable news, though still dominated by the left in most newsrooms, opened doors for many conservative pundits to reach audience beyond just the editorial pages.
Drudge Report showed that the old media no longer controlled news stories and Breitbart was quick to understand its importance. One of Breitbart’s mentors was Ariana Huffington who in the 90’s was in her conservative Newt Gingrich Opportunity State phase after leaving her more moderate RINO stage when she was the wife of Moderate Republican Michael Huffington. Huffington was more than an activist but a celebrity which included stints as the “conservative” alternative on Comedy Station, but soon she would morph into Ariana the super leftist populist as the new century began.
Breitbart not only helped Drudge but he aided Huffington when she began the Huffington Post; a move he justified as getting all of the left wingnuts to write in one place and show what nutcases their point of view could be. Ariana Huffington proved to be as adept as Drudge at producing news stories, only she did it from the left and used her allies in the various networks like MSNBC to run with stories she began. Today, Huffington is now AOL news, giving her millions more to reach, and she has proven to be a more dangerous opponent than the old media since she adapted new guerilla tactics to set the new cycles. While the right controls talk radio, the left may still have the advantage on the internet, but led by Breitbart; the right is catching up.
Breitbart does a good job of explaining the new left as he gives brief but worthwhile history of socialism in America beginning with the theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to the rise of the progressive movement in America, a movement that gained much of its idea from German thinkers, and showed how the goal of the left was to gain not just political power but control over much of the cultural apparatus.
If one looks at the left’s strategy over the past half century, you see the great march through much of the cultural centers including Academia, Hollywood, and the media. Breitbart through Breitbart.com, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Peace and Big Journalism has begun his own counter attack against what he terms the “Democratic Media Complex.” For the past five decades, the media has essentially acted as a cheerleader for the Democratic Party and this past decade, this has become even more obvious, in particular on MSNBC. There was a time that the media tried to play the “Hey, we never allow our bias to get in the way of our reporting,” but the past decade, even this façade has been lifted as MSNBC among others ceased the balanced part.
Breitbart has many rules for conservative activists including:
- Attack the left in their backyard, which is why Breitbart appears on MSNBC. (Mr. Nadler's strategy was similar with his minority campaign, the only successful conservative program reaching minorities ever designed.)
- Be open about any skeletons in your closet since if you don’t, the left will be happy to oblige.
- Control the narrative, which Breitbart did in his ACORN story when he exposed the corruption of the leftist organization.
Breitbart includes the theories of Saul Alinksy who is one of the main influences of the left and one of those theories included capturing the other side's images and using them for your side. Alinsky would claim his theories represented the founding fathers and posed as the true conservative while attempting to isolate the right. The emphasis on marginalizing the Tea Party represents this strategy as well as attacking any proposal of Republicans to shrink government as an example of “Right wing extremists.”
Over the past two years, Breitbart has done damage to the left including breaking the ACORN story in which James O’ Keefe and Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute trying to get ACORN to fund their activities. The videos were combinations of street theater and dread considering that many within ACORN were perfectly willing to aid O’ Keefe and Giles.
Breitbart is a warrior who understands that the other side doesn’t play fair, but he also understands that we are still playing catch up. Whitaker Chambers, when he left the communist movement and became its leading opponent, felt that he was joining the losing side.
Breitbart doesn’t feel that he is joining the losing side but that truth, justice and the American way will triumph, but this triumph only happens when we realize what our political opponent's goals and methods are. This is a battle that will determine whether America travels toward the Road to Serfdom or back to the vision of our founding fathers of limited government and liberty. Breitbart provides a blueprint in winning the battle beyond the political and recapturing the culture.