Breitbart and Perry: A Fleeting Friendship?

Back in January, the controversial conservative was the keynote speaker for a Perry event


Oh mes amis, how I’ve missed you! I didn’t abandon you, I swear.

You see I’ve been on a cultural safari, deep in the heart of California. I had a wild time fighting elephant seals, not to mention deficits, in my very own Joseph Conrad remix. I even got an illness and put up mosquito netting for effect.

Apparently our governor got jealous of my exploits and decided to wander in the sunshine state of darkness himself. He arrived last week; his campaign says he was vacationing (aka adventuring) and fundraising a bit. I hope he didn’t run into any coyotes—California would probably look down on armed joggers.

But even Rick Perry might not be brave enough to drop in on his former buddy. Nope, not Arnold or even Jon Voight. My friends, I am talking about Andrew Breitbart.

Oh come, surely you remember Andrew Breitbart! You know, the Matt Drudge sidekick who went on to publish the doctored pimp-and-ho video that took down ACORN and the edited, misleading video that created a USDA-NAACP controversy and left Shirley Sherrod without a job. This guy is not without enemies, shall we say. In fact, after his most recent dramas, even the Republican National Committee recently canceled a Breitbart fundraiser (although they’ve invited him to speak at a later date.) And let me remind you, the RNC is the group headed by Michael Steele, a leader memorable for his gaffes.

But where the RNC fears to tread was once familiar territory to Perry. Breitbart was the keynote speaker in Perry’s “Twitter Summit,” held back in January, while he was still battling Kay Bailey Hutchison. A few months ago, you say. Back then Breitbart might have been calm and mild-mannered.

No, indeed. You see [dramatic pause] I was there, along with fearless reporter Reeve Hamilton, to report the entire event for The Texas Tribune.

“We are the counter-narrative hellions,” Brietbart thundered to the assembly of conservative bloggers and twitterers. Most were adamant Perry supporters, although a few were still making up their minds. Some of them had even gone shooting with Perry the night before. But Breitbart was the national star of the event—in addition to serving on a panel, he gave the keynote address. Perry came to give a short speech, then took a seat to watch the conservative hell-raiser’s main address.

As he paced back and forth, Breitbart explained that the mainstream media had become, in essence, a liberal propaganda machine, interested only in spinning stories in favor of the Democrats.

“I live, breathe and sleep this bias,” he told his audience. “It no longer can be dealt with in polite terms.”

At this point, Rick Perry took a sip of his Dr. Pepper.

“These people legitimately believe that conservatives are Nazis,” Breitbart said of the left.  “It’s a weird revelation to realize your neighbors are enemies.”

But Breitbart wasn’t interested in merely complaining.

“If [the mainstream media is] not going to self-correct, it’s our obligation to destroy them,” he said to thundering applause. On the effort to change the media narrative: “It’s a Western Civilization protection play.”

In between calling Linda Tripp a “courageous citizen” and calling ACORN “the Abu Ghraib of the Great Society,” Breitbart gave the audience the same advice about the media that he gives his children about bullies: “If they don’t stop, punch them in the nose.”

Breitbart focused almost entirely on national politics, particularly the dangers of the national press and political correctness. “You can’t even date your secretary any more,” he said with an eye-roll, “which is how most of us were probably created.”

While the event pumped up supporters—tweets abounded on the inspiration of it all—we haven’t really heard Perry mention his name as controversies began to crop up. Although Breitbart ordered supporters not to be scared since “our ideas next to their ideas will win the day,” there are probably better messengers for the Perry campaign, now that the primary’s over, and the effort to get independent voters is on.

Or it may be that these days, Andrew Breitbart is even more toxic than a vacation to California. And we can only demand so much courage from one governor.

I know, I know. I’ve missed you too.