“Breitbart knew instinctively, as people in Washington and most other places did not, that movies, television programs, and popular music send out deeply political messages every hour of every day. They shape the culture, and then the culture shapes politics. Influence those films and TV shows and songs, and you’ll eventually influence politics.

“The Left had known that for generations, but on the Right, so many people in politics thought only about politics. To Breitbart, that was folly. ‘The people who have money, every four years at the last possible second, are told, ‘You need to give millions of dollars, because these four counties in Ohio are going to determine the election,” Breitbart told the National Policy Council in October 2009. ‘I am saying, why didn’t we invest 20 years ago in a movie studio in Hollywood, why didn’t we invest in creating television shows, why didn’t we create institutions that would reflect and affirm that which is good about America?’…

“There really was a cultural right out there, and Breitbart made sure the country — and those eastern conservatives — knew it.”

***

“It was always funny to many of his friends that Andrew Breitbart, after he became famous, was probably most famous for being a 100 percent polarizing political lightning rod. The reason that was funny was two-fold: He didn’t actually have strong philosophical/policy beliefs – at all – and he was always perfectly comfortable and perfectly welcome in ideologically and culturally diverse settings. Like my L.A. backyard (pictured), dozens of times…

“Breitbart’s real accomplishment was his innovative, hyper-kinetics 21st-century media creation. Who else could say they helped make both The Drudge Report and The Huffington Post what they are today? Operating with budgets the fraction of daily newspapers you will never hear of, Breitbart consistently and gleefully produced about the highest impact-per-dollar political muckraking in the mediasphere…

“The circus could make even his friends wince sometimes (especially following his insanely combative and hilarious Twitter feed), but it was almost always at least interesting and frequently funny. I understand that some of his antagonists are pouring acid on his grave today, or at least bitching about the lack of James O’Keefe forensics in various obituary notices, and all I can say is: 1) He (and I, for that matter) wouldn’t have it any other way, and 2) The next Breitbart-hater to match his entrepreneurial esprit-de-corps will be the first.”

***

“I don’t think there’s much of anything I agreed with him about, which is an understatement. My interactions with him were first friendly, then later heated and vexed, though maybe not unfriendly even then. He tweeted something at me yesterday, which I ignored. There are some people who live for the fight. It’s something I try not to be part of. Yet it’s a big, punchy, vivid and outrageously honorable tradition in the American public square. I cannot think of many people who lived more out loud than he did, more in primary colors. I remember thinking at some points even the name — the way it rolls off your tongue — has this rough, brickbat, unsmoothable sound: Breit / Bart.

“I noticed on my Facebook feed this morning this comment from my friend Hilary Rosen: ‘#AndrewBreitbart RIP you big crazy rabble-rousing bundle of contradictions, loathsome actions and a giant heart. You have made your mark.’ I don’t think I can say anything more fitting.”

***

“Another evening we were both arguing with someone who still believed government can create jobs. She was from Madison and like all liberals there, she saw Governor Scott Walker as a union-busting thug who hated the working man. I explained that Walker’s privatization created way more jobs than the government did and she said, ‘Yeah, but they were all just tourism jobs.’ Breitbart ended the whole argument with, ‘So?’

“What a word. It’s only two letters but it shows the PC left they’ve never thought past the silly hysteria that surrounds their accusations. Oil companies have had record profits this year. So? That’s what they’re supposed to do. Up in Canada, my father has been fighting with the local schoolboard because they are hiring fundamentalist Muslims as guidance counselors. The trustee in charge of the program said my father’s comments could be construed as anti-Islamic and I was surprised to see him explain why they are not. ‘You need to learn Breitbart’s magic word,’ I said in an email. ‘When she calls you anti-Islamic, say, ‘So?” This was yesterday.

“I once asked Andrew where it all came from. Where did he get the hubris to take on the whole world? ‘I woke up one day,’ he told me, smiling with a drink in his hand (despite accusations, he didn’t do drugs), ‘and I said, ‘What Would Andrew Do?’ From that day forward I did whatever I wanted and said exactly what was on my mind.’ His boldness was contagious. Days after meeting him you catch yourself strutting down the street with your chest puffed-out yelling, ‘So?’ at everyone who has a problem.

“This is precisely why he was so popular. He made us all feel fearless.”

***

“The first time I met him, years and years ago when his book ‘Hollywood, Interrupted’ had just come out, he cheerfully called himself ‘A.D.D.’ He had big plans, lots of them, and he executed them brilliantly. He had a bazillion more. And now he’s gone too suddenly and too soon.

“He will be greatly missed, but his legacy online and in the conservative movement is built to last.”

***

“I’ve never known someone, perhaps with the exception of Drudge himself, who had more of a savant’s sense of media, old and new — but especially new. In the early days of the Drudge Report there was a lot of talk about how Drudge made the news, and that was often true. But he could only do that by understanding the news and how it worked at a visceral instinctive level. Matt saw this same gift in Andrew, which is why he hired him. The two of them changed the course of the massive river of news for literally billions of people. That’s no exaggeration, even venerable enterprises and institutions that despised the Drudge Report and pretended it didn’t exist had to change course because of it.”

***

Via the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.