John Hanlon

Although I was never close enough to consider myself a friend of Andrew Breitbart,I always considered him an invaluable and fierce ally in the fight for conservative values. I only met him a few times but as a longtime contributor to one of his websites, I will be eternally grateful for the opportunities he provided for conservatives like me to write and engage in the political debate.

Over the past several years, Breitbart has built up a reputation as an unrelenting conservative warrior. Many have described him as fearless for his undeterred effort to question and criticize many on the left. He was never afraid of taking on his political opponents or entering into unfriendly territory to make his points about the validity and importance of conservatism.

In launching a series of “Big” sites, Breitbart took the offensive in the political battle of ideas. The list of websites he helped establish include “Big Government,” “Big Journalism” and “Big Hollywood.” For over the past two years, I have felt privileged and honored to serve as a contributor to the latter. Earlier in his career, Breitbart also helped launch “The Huffington Post” and he served as an integral part in the success of “The Drudge Report.”

In an unusual but thoughtful move, Matt Drudge-- the editor of "The Drudge Report-- released a short statement yesterday praising Breitbart. He wrote, “In the first decade of the DRUDGEREPORT Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what's happening.”

But it isn’t only Drudge mourning the loss of the conservative provocateur. Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt wrote a memorial piece for Breitbart noting that “[f]or every enemy, Andrew had ten friends, and for every critic, a score of accomplishments they could never begin to approach much less match.”

Some on the left-- in a sign of restraint and compassion—even praised Breitbart’s work yesterday. Politico.com reported that Arianna Huffington released a statement noting that instead of focusing on Breitbart’s work in the political world, all she could think about “is what Andrew meant to me as a friend, starting from when we worked together — his passion, his exuberance, his fearlessness.” And in her Twitter feed, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile added that despite the battles between the two of them, she considered him  “a genius.”

Of course, there are hundreds on the left who used Breitbart’s tragic death to spread venom and lies about the conservative warrior. If Breitbart was able to view these disgusting tweets, one assumes that he would happily retweet the vitriol and negativity to show the anger and coldness that he faced every day while he was alive. 

In the end, Breitbart leaves a powerful legacy that no one can take away from him. Each day, he stood up for conservative values and ideas and in his passing, he has left us a series of websites and a family of contributors who have now been given a platform to fight for their own ideals.

I, for one, feel lucky to be a part of it.

Andrew Breitbart will be missed.


John Hanlon

John Hanlon is the Operations Manager of Townhall.com. He can be found on Twitter @johnhanlon.