Andrew Breitbart was relentless.
It was a trait that those of us who are committed to good government, freedom and liberty admired, and one that many on the left despised.
Breitbart’s pursuit of stories that the mainstream media didn’t — or wouldn’t — tackle changed the media landscape and made people take notice of issues or stories they otherwise would never have known about.
He died early Thursday morning in Los Angeles. He will be missed, but his hard charging spirit and push to rid government of scoundrels and cheats won’t be slowed.
Like many, I only knew Breitbart in as much as I had the good fortune to meet him a few times. It didn't matter that he had hundreds more hands to shake, he always took time to talk, most recently this past weekend at the Americans for Prosperity event in Troy.
He knew of the Mackinac Center. "They do good work," he said. We talked for a few minutes. He was all over the place and talking a mile a minute about his next great story.
“Reparations,” he said. “My editors are going to hate me this year, but I’m going to prove it’s all about reparations.”
But before I could ask what he was talking about, he was on to something else — and being mobbed by fans and admirers.
He shook hands and took pictures with everyone who asked. He was cordial and kind, and as we all know, proud of himself and the things he’d accomplished — appropriately so.
That pride and confidence riled up left-wing bloggers and more than a few journalists. They dismissed him and the stories he broke, even when he was right. As news of his death spread across the Internet, some liberals rejoiced by posting awful comments and disrespectful messages about him on Twitter.
I’ll bet he would have loved it.
Equally as telling, however, were the amazing stories others told on Facebook and elsewhere.
This past summer at a baseball game in St. Louis between the Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, Breitbart gathered with about 30 people in the suite of Cubs co-owner Pete Ricketts, but instead of mingling with other free-market advocates, he sat and watched every pitch with one of his sons, said Joe Lehman, president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who was at the game with Breitbart.
Lehman said he had hoped he’d be able to spend some quality time with Breitbart talking about projects that could further a common cause. Instead, Breitbart’s attention was on baseball and one of his sons.
That tells you a lot about the man. The tireless pursuit of exposing the bad practices and bad actors corrupting government was important, but so was spending time hanging out with family.