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[Editor’s note: Below is the transcript of Andrew Breibart’s speech for the Freedom Center’s Wednesday Morning Club at the Four Seasons on June 21, 2011. To watch the video of the speech, click here.]
David Horowitz: Thank you. Thank you all for coming. All those of you who are new here, welcome.
From the first time that I met Andrew Breitbart, when he was an anonymous figure, I knew that he was a big talent and would make his mark. And this audience today is just one indication of how he’s now making his mark.
I’ve known Andrew for a long time. I knew him before he was Andrew Breitbart.
I met him during the Clinton administration, when he was the silent right hand of Matt Drudge. And the two of them were bringing down the White House roof over a lubricious intern named Monica Lewinsky.
But I never understood Andrew until I read his book. And so the first thing I want to say is that you should all get this book because this book is in part, or large part, autobiographical.
In this book, Andrew describes his transformation from what he calls an empty-headed, pop culture-infused, liberal rights parrot, liberal talking-points parrot, into a new media warrior. Andrew is a McCluhanite through and through, born with the Internet and the new media.
And so Andrew — in his transformation — when his eyes were opened, blowing apart those talking-points, was not from reading Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France,” or Friedrich Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom,” or Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind,” or even “Atlas Shrugged.” His moment came sitting in front of the television set.
And what he was witnessing, with the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings over Clarence’s nomination to the Supreme Court; and what he was seeing before his eyes, was his liberal talking-points friends setting out to destroy the character and career of an obviously decent black man who had grown up in a dirt-floor shack in segregated rural Georgia and risen to become nominated for the Supreme Court. And Andrew sat there waiting for the smoking gun that would justify the racist lynching by his liberal friends of Clarence Thomas. And of course, it never came.
That changed Andrew. He went on from there to the Rush Limbaugh Advanced Institute for Conservative Thought –
– and became a diehard conservative.
But, like many conservatives, in fact, he was still in the closet as a conservative. Working for Matt Drudge, but still in the closet. And I would say that most conservatives are in the closet at least part of the time, and many conservatives are in the closet all of the time. And this is the major problem that we have. That’s why we have a radical who was trained in the Marxist movement as the president of the United States.
And I would say, the most courageous part of this book — because Andrew is merciless on himself – and he doesn’t do it in a sentence, just a thrown-away sentence, but it goes on for awhile — as to describe the internal struggle, which I know everyone in this room has experienced in some way, in some context, of actually saying what he believed. And this moment came in the worst possible way for — but, you know, the most necessary way for somebody who is a new media person — on the Bill Maher show, when Maher and one of his air-headed guests, Michael Eric Dyson, set about to attacking Rush Limbaugh as a racist. And since Andrew had gone to school with Rush Limbaugh, this was the test for him.
And you know, moments of sweat and terror. And then, Andrew turned the tables completely on Maher by pointing out — of course, defending Rush, who’s obviously not a racist — by pointing out that Rush, with a lot of other conservatives (yours truly included) had defended Maher when Maher had lost his — his show had been canceled, “Politically Incorrect,” because he said some typically nasty, stupid things about 9/11. Rush Limbaugh had gone to bat for him. Because conservatives, in the end, are principled.
And so while Andrew had — the horror for him, and it would be for anybody — is Maher’s knee-jerk audience booing him and jeering him while he said this. But he came out feeling liberated. If you get struck by the lightning, it can temper your steel, if you’re willing to do it and survive.
This book also has lessons about the war that we face. The first is that it is a war. The Left believes — the Left acts on the proposition that politics is war conducted by other means.
And Republicans, well, Andrew talks about the Republican whip-dog syndrome. This is something I’ve been going on about for years, so it really resonated with me. You all know Reagan’s 11th Commandment for conservatives. Well, in my view, the 11th Commandment of Republicans is, “Thou shalt not fight.” Fighting is a sign of ill breeding and is something we just — we don’t do.
And, God help us — yesterday, Huntsman said exactly that in his maiden exit speech.
But you have to read this book to see how, for Andrew Breitbart, this is a passion — the war.
The second thing Andrew says, which is also absolutely correct, is that it’s a culture war. It’s not people just disagreeing about budgets. Andrew talks — he’s got his own construct here, called the Democrat-media complex. The left-wing dominates the culture of our country. And because it’s so ruthless and vindictive, it’s intimidating to normal human beings. Normal human beings, unlike Andrew and myself, are conflict-averse. This is a very prudent thing for people to do.
And so when the Left comes out and is going to scream you’re a racist, sexist homophobe, the conservative response — that’s what they call us: racist, sexist, homophobes, Islamophobes — we call them liberals.
These people are not liberal.
And the third thing that Andrew points out that’s so important is that we’ve lost this war. They won. And that means you can’t really be a conservative in this culture war. You have to be, as Andrew says, a rebel, and a rebel warrior.
So Andrew — this is the book. And what Andrew is doing is now a model for young — I’ve seen this among younger conservatives than Andrew, and way younger than myself — new generation understanding this. And this is, to me, the brightest hope for the future.
So Andrew and I come — you couldn’t imagine more different people and more different backgrounds. I was a smack in college. I read every book that was assigned. I did the assignments on time. Andrew partied his way through Tulane. And the upside of that was he was either absent or doesn’t remember –
– all the politically correct indoctrination that he got.
So in the end, despite our differences, Andrew and I are really brothers under the skin. And therefore, it’s a great pleasure for me to introduce Andrew Breitbart.
Andrew Breitbart: Before me, there was just Coulter and Horowitz, to me, they were like the true warriors out there. I was like — why aren’t there any people fighting these people? Why is everybody trying to accommodate people who are calling you racist, sexist, homophobe and evil? I didn’t understand it.
And I may not have read much in college, and that is a huge part of my book. And as long as we haven’t taken back the colleges and the humanities departments, give your children an extra $100 per month for beer.
Because alcohol will 100 percent save them from indoctrination –
– in the cultural Marxist curriculum. So to say I’m not embarrassed about that — it really can save your kids. Because if you don’t give them that $100, do you know what happens that freshman year, when you drive them up to the campus, or you fly across the country — let’s just say, I don’t know, Dartmouth — and you drop them off, and you go to Best Buy in Manchester, New Hampshire, and you pick up one of those little mini-refrigerators, and you — God, I love my kid so much, I’m going to get my child a stereo at Sharper Image. And I just want my child to have the greatest four years in the world. And your child hugs you — I miss you, Mom, I miss you, Dad, I — don’t go. Okay, go.
And then they come back at Thanksgiving, like — why are we having turkey for Thanksgiving? Why did you put smallpox on the blankets of the Native Americans, Mother?
I hate you. I’m a lesbian now. But you’re a boy, you’re my son! Are you now oppressing me, applying gender orientation at our Thanksgiving hell?
So that’s what you’re putting second mortgages — that’s what you’re paying for. So, hey, man, I’m even for some of the harder stuff to get you past that four years, especially if they’re in the humanities departments. If they’re in the engineering departments, if they’re in computer, sciences; take away $100.
Let them study, and whip them. And hire a foreign student to spy on your child and make sure they’re doing, you know, what they’re supposed to do. But if in the humanities departments, if it takes heroin –
– by all means.
So yeah, I did grow up here, on the west side of Los Angeles, a secular Jew. I call it a “default liberal.” My parents — factory setting, North Bundy. We went to University Synagogue when Rabbi Freehling was there. And I got kicked out of Hebrew School. But Fran was able to tutor me, and I did get bar mitzvahed. Was about as meaningful an experience as college was, quite frankly.
I remember saying to my parents, I go — what was that? I mean, I was — there was a yearning in me to have this spiritual intake. And it was just chanting Hebrew while these really pissed-off Israeli teachers, who were there just for maybe a year or so, basically babysat us and gave us crayons, and said, you know, draw Moses on the mount.
And my takeaway from University Synagogue — and the reason why I’m dwelling on it, because maybe you can relate to this — my dad pulled us out. He pulled me out by the ear. I remember sitting there when Rabbi Freehling started to go on about the virtues of Reverend Jesse Jackson during the Hymietown era. And I said — what did I do? It’s High Holy Days. We’re out of here.
So my parents were conservative. And my parents had common sense. But I didn’t have the common sense to think that my fuddy-duddy parents — my mother actually watched Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights. And my best friend’s parents were going to Rod Stewart and Bryan Ferry concerts. And so, I naturally drifted over to the cool kids, and they were all liberal. And I just went along with that. And that was from about 16 until about 23.
It’s fantastic, because you can get laid, and zero guilt about it in college.
And another reason why you should hire a foreign student to monitor your children’s behavior, because that’s just what happens when you’re liberal in college, and why I wouldn’t have changed a single thing.
I’m glad that once I met my wife, I became conservative, and I realized you don’t do those things, and it’s wrong.
Anyway — and so, my education really did happen on the mean streets of Los Angeles. And Matt Duda’s here, and he doesn’t even understand. He was at Showtime when I was delivering scripts for a super-liberal producer.
And my biggest fear — this was during my transformation — I was a liberal when I started this job. And by the time I was done with it, I was a full-fledged conservative. And it was done during a period of a year where I drove 24,000 miles on the freeways from Santa Monica where the production facility was. And I went traveling, giving gifts and scripts to every producer in town, including Matt Duda.
And what was I doing on the streets? I was listening to Rush, and Dennis Prager. And it’s just totally 100 percent true. I wish it wasn’t — I wish I had a better romantic story about how I saw the light. But talk radio was it.
And the professors — I just remember thinking that the head of my American studies department, when I was having a bad semester, and I went to her — she was in charge of the department. She was from Harvard. She was clearly an intellect. And I said — I’m just having a hard time. And the attrition rate at Tulane was insane. Because you go from Brentwood, playing high school baseball and football, and working, and you know, just that grind, to having alcohol seven days a week — the juxtaposition starts hitting you. I used to wake up in the a.m., and now I’m waking up in the p.m.
And I remember she said — you know, Andrew, you need to take a semester off, and do what I did when I was at Harvard, when I took a semester off. I went to New York, and I just dropped acid for an entire semester.
That was the tutelage that I received at Tulane.
So it’s amazing that in writing this book, Tulane has not invited me to speak.
Quite frankly, nor has Brentwood High School, nor has University Synagogue. It’s so weird. You’d think that they would like me telling these great stories about the great experiences I had. Trying to become a young adult — didn’t work, Jesse Jackson, Hymietown, Brentwood, go-along-to-get-along liberals, and then Tulane — blah blah blah. Teacher tells me that I should do acid. Really great upbringing I had. And my parents are still paying for it. At 42, they’re still paying for that education.
So I’m not just pissed off at the politicians. I’m really — and I’m not just pissed off at the Hollywood crowd, the Hollywood Left. I’m pissed off at my professors, I really am. They stole my — I don’t care that they stole my early 20s, but that my parents thought that they were sending me to a place where I was going to get an actual liberal education, and then they tried to indoctrinate me.
One thing you need to know about me is I’m petty. I’m petty, I’m the most petty person you’ll ever meet in the world.
And I will never forgive anyone for any transgression against me, let alone my parents. So that’s my motivation. Why is he doing that? Why is he walking in there? What’s going on? He goes — he’s a super-petty guy.
So, I’m driving around Los Angeles in that car. And I remember — this is what I remember thinking in class during those hangovers, where I actually went to class. What language are they talking in? They were talking in this Noam Chomsky, deconstructive jargon, and nobody on the first day of class said this is a new jargon. They just kept talking like this and expected that you would understand, and you would start mimicking it. And I just remember looking at people cutting and pasting this weird jargon, and trying to make sense of it. And I honestly didn’t understand it.
And it was Dennis Prager — and I think mile 11,230, as I was driving these scripts around town to Matt Duda — where he said that clarity mattered. And I started to trust — he started to convince me to trust my gut instinct and common sense. Because I remember sitting there in class thinking that my professors are full of crap, but I didn’t have the jargon to stand up to them.
And so, it was almost as if Prager was the head of the cult awareness network, you know, deprogramming me, and explaining to me that they — that it was like the movie, you know, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” and that all those people at the college campus and all those people in Hollywood, you know, were the pod people, and we were this small sect of people who had common sense. And so I sought out people of common sense since about 1992.
And it was in 1995 that I met Matt Drudge. And I was a slacker back then. I mean, that’s hard to believe, right, with that training and all, and driving scripts around 24,000 miles a year, making about $300 a week. That was fun. And I remember, with my ADD — I won’t get into that, but it’s totally a part of this amazing package up here –
– I remember driving down Wilshire, thinking — please, God, give me something that I will be passionate about. I have nothing that I’m passionate about. Like, I need something to happen, you know. I don’t want to be in Hollywood, I really don’t. I was like, even if I won an Oscar, I could care less. I mean, unless it were for some teenage, you know, R-rate, you know, boobs-and-stuff type — I like that stuff, and those don’t make — I got to like, turn this off — those don’t get Oscars. And I think it’s a tragedy, because those are some of the great movies, like “Porky’s,” of our time.
I just don’t understand why the Academy is so snobbish towards these great movies.
And so I’m driving down, thinking — what can I do? It was like going back to Pittsburgh and realizing I don’t like steel. And I’m like — but I don’t want to leave Los Angeles, because I don’t like when my nether region sweats. So as much as I like being in New York, I hated sweating. So, I had to be in Los Angeles because of the sweat factor. And I said — please, God, give me something to want to do.
And I’m telling you, it happened almost immediately. I found the Internet. I had a friend who went to Harvard, an astrophysics major, who grabbed me and said — we need to go on a walk. And he said — I’ve found the Internet, and the Internet is how your brain works. I said — I don’t even know what you’re talking about. But I became dedicated to trying to figure out what this Internet thing was in the early ‘90s. And when I launched — when I got onto it, I was like — oh, my God, he’s completely right.
And then I met Matt Drudge. And here’s the thing. I lived on the west side of LA. And even though I was a slacker (which is shorthand for loser), while all of my friends were like, you know, at law school and medical school, I had nothing better to do at the exact moment that the Internet began, to say — that’s what I’m going to do, I’m staking my claim on the Internet.
Lived out in West Los Angeles. Logged onto the Internet, and I saw this thing that was being posted in these newsgroups. This predates, you know, Netscape or a browser. And Matt Drudge started to post these things. And he was writing these things from a quirky, non-cynical standpoint. At this point, my generation, Generation X, was being defined in Hollywood as cynical, couldn’t care about, you know, politics, couldn’t care about civic behavior. And I’m listening to Dennis Prager, thinking — I need to start caring more about myself, my society and ethics, and crazy things that were never even introduced to me in college.
And I meet this guy named Matt Drudge. I called him up and found out he lived in Hollywood. And he found out I was the first conservative he had met. And I was basically the first conservative — you know, it was a mutual thing. And he came over to my father-in-law, Orson Bean’s, place, like in 1995. And we were on the Venice Canals, which is hippy-dippy, Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker country.
So it’s like even to the left of Kerry during the Kerry election, to the left of Gore. And we’re sitting there, and he starts telling me the future on the Internet. And he put-putted away, after explaining to me that he was folding T-shirts at the CBS gift shop. All my friends are like Harvard graduates, Stanford graduates, and I’m hanging out with like people with nice pedigrees. And I meet this guy who’s folding T-shirts at CBS. And he sits with me for three hours. And as he put-putted away in his Hyundai, I looked at my then-girlfriend, who’s now my wife. I said — that guy’s going to change the world. That guy’s going to change — and I just glommed onto this movement.
And at the end of the day, it’s a people’s movement. And I think that that was 1995. And we can look back — that in 1988, Rush Limbaugh started. I wouldn’t have known about what it was that I believed in if there wasn’t Rush Limbaugh. And there would’ve been no Dennis Prager, I don’t think, without the revolution spawned by Rush Limbaugh. And it was taking the formally moribund AM dial and granting it this unbelievable power, where we all — it’s like basically our salvation. If we didn’t have it, what would you do? What would you do if they took away your AM radio? What would you do if they took away your Internet?
Unidentified Audience Member: Fold T-shirts.
Andrew Breitbart: What? Fold T-shirts. I wish. I couldn’t even do that back then. That would require waking up before noon.
So this has been a people’s trajectory that started in 1988, that got a mega-boost in 1995, when Matt Drudge proved that with a modem, you know, a connection to the Internet, with just even 56k, you could change the world. And he did. I mean, I remember he called me up the night before the Lewinsky thing. He said the worst thing that you can tell Andrew Breitbart. And that is — I have something really important to tell you, but you can’t tell anyone.
Okay? Don’t say that to me, you cruel people.
And it was on the Saturday night — was on a Saturday night, when I was going to Santa Monica for my friend, Mark Robinson’s, birthday. And it was just a table of typical Hollywood liberals. My friend then was an actor. And I was the one conservative at the table, and I liked it to be known. And I just remember, the night before Lewinsky, sitting at the table.
And, because I’m a class act, this is what I said. I honored my word with Mr. Drudge. But I must say, I said something to the effect of — I know something that you don’t know.
And it relates to your president. He’s not going to like tomorrow.
And so I went home that night, at around 12 o’clock, with my wife. And this was — I still had a laptop. I just want to describe to you where we’ve come in terms of technology. Because I’m not a technology person. But boy, am I marveling at what’s happened since 1995. I was on a — I don’t know, like a 14.4 or 28k baud modem. Then I went up to a 56k one. At this point, in 1998, I was living in Santa Monica, and I had a 50-foot Radio Shack extension cord that I would plug in when I would get home, into our kitchen, and take it through our laundry room, through our bedroom, and I’d log onto the Internet with the — noise.
And I pressed my e-mail, and in came the Drudge Report that said that Clinton and Lewinsky — and it was in relationship to that day’s Paula Jones testimony, and that he had been working very diligently to try and get Linda Tripp to lie under oath, and to get Monica Lewinsky to lie under oath, and that they weren’t able to successfully suborn her perjury. And we had a real big deal.
And I hate to say it, because I’d love to be taking the victory lap for the thing that’s bigger than Lewinsky. But to this day, I think Lewinsky is the biggest thing that’s happened in our lifetime for the people to be able to stand up against the mainstream media. Because that was Newsweek trying to kill that story. And Matt Drudge acted as the midwife to it, and it was birthed. And to watch it Sunday morning, to watch the Democrat-media complex, what they did with it, was something to behold.
And I remember Bill Kristol brought it up. But George Stephanopoulos says — no, no, no, that’s the Drudge Report, it’s been discredited. You know that George Stephanopoulos had just talked to the Clintons, and that he knew that this thing was happening, and he needed to shut it up. And Cokie Roberts played the role of my mother, who — when we would ever have a conversation about politics or religion at the table, and things would get controversial, my mother would say — oh, Aunt Ethel makes the most wonderful rhubarb pie.
And I watched how Kristol brings it up; George Stephanopoulos says it’s not true, the Drudge Report’s been discredited. And Cokie Roberts says — oh, let’s just change the subject.
And they changed the subject. And they didn’t talk about it on Sunday, they didn’t talk about it on Monday, they didn’t talk about it on Tuesday, they didn’t talk about it on Wednesday. And I’m thinking to myself — wait a second, Drudge is reporting news every single day. On the Internet, they’re fighting back. But ABC, CBS and NBC are pretending that this isn’t happening. This is pure craziness.
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