I’ve mentioned in several previous columns that Andrew Breitbart inspired these questions after a long conversation we had about the movie Grandma’s Boy. Coincidentally, the last time I saw Breitbart, I was able to meet Allen Covert, the star, co-writer and co-producer of Grandma’s Boy. That was the amazing thing about Breitbart. He brought lots of different people with different backgrounds into his circle and into the movement. One of those people was FBI informant and activist Brandon Darby.
Darby was a liberal activist when he worked as an FBI informant by infiltrating a group protesting at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Information from Darby led to seizure of 34 homemade riot shields and arrests against two protest organizers who purchased and constructed firebombs to use against state-owned vehicles.
After Breitbart’s death, author and cartoonist Rick Marschall wrote, “They say that converts make the most rabid believers, whether in religion or the realms of addictions. Breitbart converted – a congenital self-assured type, he was open to truth, and converted without ever looking back.”
Darby now writes for Breitbart.com, is an activist against human trafficking, and speaks at conservative events across the country. Thanks to Breitbart, Darby and many others were “converted” to the conservative cause and are some of our strongest and most outspoken leaders.
The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. What's your favorite movie line and who would you like to say it to?
I like a line from Dirty Dancing a lot. Otis was playing in the background and baby tells Johnny: “Most of all I’m scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I’m with you.” I’d say that to Katie Pavlich.
2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.
My favorite teacher was a 6th grade history teacher named Ms. Reed. She didn't like me at first and I gave her hell. She would turn history into these amazing personal stories and she was full of passion when she talked about them. She talked about the importance of speaking up in our nation. History was never boring to me because of the way she introduced me to it, how she taught me to look at it and relate to the characters. She ended up liking me. I still remember her.
3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?
I spent years working really hard at one thing just to be able to do after work what I now do for work. Now I make a living doing my passion. It’s difficult to imagine doing anything else. Maybe I would like to ranch and farm, but I’d still do what I do as well.
4. Tell me about a public or private moment when you thought to yourself, "This is what Elvis felt like every day.”
I thought that when I was testifying in a terrorism trial. I had to have people all around me to protect me and I couldn’t go anywhere without people freaking out. I didn’t care for it at all, I didn’t like being such a spectacle, and it was horrible but interesting.
5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
I like watching Bonanza reruns and I like watching Survivorman.
6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?
I always liked receiving Legos. I still like receiving Legos.
7. What’s the best present you ever gave?
One Christmas when my daughter was really little, I spent all this money on gifts for her. She opened a package of Silly Putty and all she liked was that plastic package. She had no interest in any of the toys, she just wanted her package to play with. So, maybe I’m not the best judge of that. I like to give people musical instruments, books, or tools.
8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?
I spent most of my younger years doing the exact opposite of anything my older relatives suggested. I do listen a lot more now though, especially to my mother’s advice about God. Unfortunately, I don’t listen to that advice as often as I should.
9. Who would be on the perfect "Red Eye" panel?
There’s a little known guy trying to primary Senator John Cornyn. His name is Dwayne Stovall. His clarity on liberty, our Constitution, and the proper role of a senator really impressed me when I met him. I’d like to see him on with Senator John Cornyn discussing the role of a senator.
10. What books are on your reading list?
I’ve been off into Bastiat lately. I’ll probably continue down that road for a bit.
11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?
“The Republican Party Has Decided Educating Democrats On How Free Market Solutions Better Help The Poor Should Be A Top Priority In Campaigns”
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
I’m much more interested in making changes in our culture than in our politics. I learned long ago that helping other people who were being wronged was made easier by organizing others to assist in such efforts. I’ve always felt that life made it inevitable I would be an organizer and not that I chose to be one. I’ve tried to get away many times, but then I see things that are wrong and I find myself doing it again. I eventually began to see that there were greater systems at play that led to many of the individual wrongs I was seeing and dealing with. I guess the moment I chose to organize to address those greater systems was the moment I became political.