I met Andrew Breitbart almost a decade ago at a party. All I knew about him was that he worked for Matt Drudge, and Tucker Carlson told me I had to meet him. Tucker wasn’t at the party, but he knew Andrew would be and made me promise I’d introduce myself. I did, and I did.
Even though I’d expected nothing, Andrew was nothing like I’d expected because you simply couldn’t anticipate the uniqueness of Andrew Breitbart.
The party was in the big office of a publisher (I can’t remember what it was for; probably someone else’s book), and Andrew was in one of the smaller offices off to the side. He was then who he was to the end – a Tasmanian Devil of energy and curiosity. Funny, smart and engaging, even with a stranger who was saying hello out of obligation.
We talked at that party for what seemed like a long time, but the time flew by. Later that week I was meeting up with my good friend Mike Flynn and the subject of Andrew came up in conversation. Turns out this guy who worked for Drudge was starting his own website, and Mike was hired to run it.
Big Hollywood already existed, but it was a blog about Hollywood, and I didn’t really read it. But Mike did because Mike had been very good friends with Andrew for years. When Andrew would come to Washington, he’d sleep at Mike’s house.
Mike and Andrew shared the same passion for the Constitution, the same conservative values and, most importantly, the same vision for the country. When Andrew was starting a website dedicated to holding corrupt politician’s feet to the fire and exposing the sick underbelly of government, he put Mike Flynn in charge.
When Big Government launched with the story that took down the corrupt ACORN, Mike Flynn was there. He’d been telling me about this amazing story for months and how it was going to make a huge impact. He told me how they were going to do it, the strategy he and Andrew had devised to maximize the impact and show ACORN for what it really was.
I’d kind of nod and think, “Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
But the more I heard, and more Mike explained it, the more I believed. And they were right.
Mike had signed me up to write for Big Government a few weeks before it launched, and I’m eternally grateful for that. It was the first place that wasn’t my personal blog that asked to write anything for them.
I spent a lot of time with Mike then, writing for Big Government and preparing to launch the Daily Caller. But I’d gotten to know him years earlier when I was working on tech policy at Americans for Tax Reform and he was working for Reason. We’d always talk politics, policy and politicians at every conference, lunch and then after work.
He grew up in Quincy, Ill., and knew that place, and that state, like the back of his hand. He put my passion and knowledge to shame and inspired me to up my game. We’ve been good friends and co-conspirators ever since.
So when I saw that Aaron Shock was resigning from Congress, I suspected what might happen next.
Mike told me he was thinking of running in the special election. I thought it was a great idea. It’s a very conservative district, and Mike is a conservative guy.
I loved and supported the idea, but I knew there would be many who wouldn’t. Mike is a principled conservative, and principled conservatives aren’t really what the GOP establishment wants in Congress. Boehner and his boys won’t get the votes they want from a Mike Flynn because he wouldn’t be going there to make friends or get cushy committee assignments. He’d be going there to stop them from screwing us over as much as he would be to stop Democrats from doing the same.
The party spit out its own candidate, of course. It went for name recognition over conservative values and put up Darin LaHood, son of squishy former GOP congressman and Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The choice is pretty clear for conservatives. As National Review put it, “The Establishment and the Tea Party Face Off in Illinois.”
Even though this may seem like a local race, it is a national fight. It’s an opportunity for Tea Party conservatives to flex their muscle and send a message to Republican leadership in Washington that we aren’t happy with the way you’ve caved to the president in nearly every fight, and we do not support amnesty for illegal aliens, legislatively or through executive action. ENOUGH! We aren’t going to send your failed leadership reinforcements; we’re going to send replacements.
The 18th congressional district in Illinois is probably not where you live. It’s not where I live. But this race is important far beyond the 18th district. Every vote cast by whoever represents that district will affect the whole country, and this is our chance to send a message.
We lost Andrew Breitbart far too soon, but who he was will always be with us. And we now have a chance to elect one of his closest and most trusted friends to Congress. It won’t be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
This special election in July will be a test of who has the most influence in the Republican Party – conservatives or the establishment?
I don’t ask you for much, but I’m asking you to check out Mike Flynn’s campaign and consider helping any way you can. This is as close as we’re ever going to get to sending Andrew Breitbart to Congress.
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