That’s what Cynthia Yockey thinks.
Reporting on the passing of Andrew Breitbart at LGBT/POV, Karen Ocamb dubbed the new media mogul a “Conservative Gay Ally.” Indeed, Breitbart very much represented the new face of conservatism, reaching out to gay conservatives and welcoming us into the coalition. When I approached him last June, identifying myself as a blogger at GayPatriot and asking him to sign my book, he did so with relish.
Not only did he serve on GOProud’s board (leaving only, as Ocamb put it, “over the purported outing of an official in Rick Perry’s presidential campaign”), he criticized CPAC when the organizers of that conservative confab barred the gay conservative group. Calling Breitbart an “unexpected gay ally,” Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly reminded us what Breitbart said when CPAC announced its decision to exclude GOProud:
When the presence of GOProud at CPAC in 2011 was questioned by some on the right, it was Breitbart who told Metro Weekly, “If being conservative means rejecting gay conservatives because they are gay, then fine, I’m not a conservative.”
And yet some lefties contend he is part of the “racist, sexist, anti-gay” right.
Christopher R. Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia, Co-Founders of GOProud, mourned his passing, calling him “an amazing friend and ally to this organization.”
Nice to see that some in the gay media recognize the changing face of American conservatism. Andrew Breitbart was part of that change. And we gay conservatives feel his loss most acutely.
This past weekend, as a favor to my sister and brother-in-law, I drove up to the Bay Area so they could have an adult in the house with their three-year-old son while they shared a romantic evening at a nearby hotel. Of course, this favor was a duty most pleasant as I had the chance to hike with my sister and spend countless hours playing trucks, running races, imitating pirates and dancing the dragatusi (sometimes known as the dragon-tusi) with my nephew.
When his parents were away, that precocious young man had a nightmare, waking in tears. I rushed to comfort him, but he wanted his Daddy, asking me repeatedly where his father was. I assured him that Daddy was coming back the following day.
None of Andrew Breitbart’s relatives will be able to provide a similar assurance to his children. Today, we in the conservative movement mourn a man John Hinderaker called “irreplaceable“. But, our loss pales in comparison to his children’s. And his wife’s. One hopes, one prays, that she has the strength to comfort them in this trying time. And that she has relatives who can support her in the difficult task of raising children who have lost their father.
“He was kinetic,” wrote Michelle Malkin, “brash, relentless, full of fight, the bane of the Left, and a mentor to the next generation of right-wing activists and citizen journalists.” And a father to four children.
Other bloggers have talked about his contributions to the conservative movement, how in the words of one, he “lived large“, following “his own path” and doing what he thought to be right — “no matter whom it offended or how it affected his own personal bottom line.” Another called him “a friend and mentor“, with his family losing “a caring husband, a wonderful father and their center of gravity.”
Indeed, as yet another put it, he was not just “a brave warrior” and a “great guy”, but also a “committed family man.” And his family will feel his loss even more deeply than we do.
May he rest in peace and may the Holy One provide comfort to his family.
On the big issues of the day, Charles Krauthammer lays it out the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to make sense of the subject. And so it is today with his column on the contraception mandate.
Unlike others who have weighed in on the contraception kerfuffle, Krauthammer underscores what is truly at stake, not just the mandate itself, but also choice, yes, choice, the ability of insurance companies to craft a variety of plans and the freedom of the consumer to choose the one that’s best for him (or her).
Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim.
Now, to be sure, Krauthammer also gets at the subterfuge of the compromise the president announced last week. As he puts it, “The president of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden.”
Simply put, Obamacare empowers the government to determine what kind of plans insurance companies may offer and to define how these companies may factor risk ratios into a particular policy’s price.
Read the whole thing. It’s Krauthammer.
I did not watch the State of the Union last night. Instead of hearing a speech by a man of little accomplishment and great acclaim, I went to see a movie about men of great accomplishment and little acclaim, Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen and their valor in World War II.
All I can saw is get yourself to the cinema and see this movie (and make sure to bring a handkerchief).
It’s cheesy and has, particularly at the outset, some really clunky dialogue, but later on, there are also some great lines. And some amazing scenes. In the end, you forget cheesiness and focus on the story, the hotshot pilot who just wants to shoot down Nazis, his commanding officer who has trouble with the booze.
Some of the film’s flaws, like those in our friends, make the film more endearing, like the imprisoned American officer who can’t disguise his Australian accent — or Cuba Gooding Jr.‘s attempt to imitate Douglas MacArthur by dramatically clenching his teeth on a curved pipe. (Perhaps because Gooding is such a likable guy, he can get away with this — and, in my eyes, he does.) In the end, it’s just a feel-good story about a group Americans who want to serve the country even as some in their country’s leadership question their ability to serve.
The pacing of the film is such that you’re drawn into the story and easily forget its shortcomings. Director Anthony Hemingway focused on making it an action film, starting in the air rather than tell us about the Tuskegee program. It is not as great a film as Glory to which I’m sure it’s been compared, but it doesn’t need to be. It entertains us, it moves us — and reminds us of some forgotten men of the greatest generation, men who helped defeat one of the greatest evils of all time.
This is why they make movies.
Earlier today, I finished Walter Isaacson’s most excellent biography of Steve Jobs. And highly recommend it, despite some glaring flaws. At time, the book seems slapdash (which makes sense given how quickly the book was published after the death of the entrepreneur). And he seems to treat Jobs’s wife with kid gloves — as if she were some kind of saint (which makes sense given how cooperative she was in Isaacson’s research–and that she’s still alive and grieving).
There is much to say about jobs, his prickly personality, his luck in finding peers and mentors who could help him find his way professionally and personally. His ability to achieve his great success without federal funding or government encouragement. His appreciation of design and attention to detail. His charisma. His supportive stepfather.
When I was still reading the book a friend asked me what one thing stood out about the book (and by extension the man), I replied his persistence, his determination, his belief that he could achieve a certain project even when others told him it was impossible. How he grappled with what one of his colleagues called the “reality distortion field.”
Toward the end of the book, Isaacson compares Jobs to such pioneers as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. I see his point, but don’t buy his argument. As I was reading the biography, I kept thinking of another pioneer of the last century, Walt Disney. Soon after finishing Isaacson’s book, I picked up — and started reading — Neal Gabler’s biography of the cartoon tycoon.
I apologize for the slow blogging of late, but my mind has drifted away from politics these past few days. Do have something to say about Huntsman’s withdrawal basically revolving around the notion that he offered a conservative platform, yet campaigned as a moderate. That, in the end, I believe did him in.
As today is Martin Luther King, Jr. today, let us remember that great man with his greatest speech, indeed, one of the greatest expressions of the American ideal:
Yesterday and today, the conservatives blogosphere has been abuzz about an op-ed a successful former governor of a large swing state penned in the Wall Street Journal. In the Washington Examiner, noting Republican “unhappiness” with presidential field, Byron York wrote that “there is new speculation focusing on [Jeb] Bush after the former Florida governor turned heads [with his] a campaign-like economic manifesto headlined ‘Capitalism and the Right to Rise.’”
Rush Limbaugh, York reports, loved the piece, quipping that he could have written it himself.
Although Jeb Bush e-mailed Karl Rove saying that he’s not running, Jim Geraghty writes that “among those who thought it was too late for anybody to jump in, but . . . boy, what made Jeb Bush decide to write an op-ed like that for the Journal? He has to know that lots of people will interpret that as a trial balloon for a presidential bid . . .”
Rush is right to praise the editorial. It’s a nice succinct case for capitalism. Jeb understands rights. He understands freedom:
We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn’t seem like something we should have to protect.
But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.
That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.
But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself. [Read more…]
“Don’t expect the media to make a big deal of it,” writes Rand Simberg about the passing of an artist who devoted much of theatrical career to challenging Communism.
Although Vaclev Havel stood up for artistic freedom and defended the political systems which allowed for freedom of expression, he never achieved the accolades as did many with fewer accomplishments and a smaller vision. He was, as Simberg put it,
. . . the wrong kind of dissenter, being too American for Europe. The fact that he never won a Peace Prize, while Yasser Arafat and Barack Obama did, says something very fundamental about the corruption and uselessness of that once-honorable achievement.
(Via Insapundit.) Why do so many on the left so often champion those voices dissenting not just the systems which oppressed them, but also the Western ideals which promote the very idea of dissent?
Bruce Bawer thinks we need more leaders like Havel. More on this great man, anon. Much more.
*from Western intellectuals.
Vaclav Havel, the writer and dissident whose eloquent dissections of Communist rule helped to destroy it in revolutions that brought down the Berlin Wall and swept Havel himself into power, died on Sunday. He was 75.
A shy yet resilient, unfailingly polite but dogged man who articulated the power of the powerless, Mr. Havel spent five years in and out of Communist prisons, lived for two decades under close secret-police surveillance and endured the suppression of his plays and essays. He served 14 years as president, wrote 19 plays, inspired a film and a rap song and remained one of his generation’s most seductively nonconformist writers.
All the while, he came to personify the soul of the Czech nation. His moral authority and his moving use of the Czech language cast him as the dominant figure during Prague street demonstrations in 1989 and as the chief behind-the-scenes negotiator who brought about the peaceful transfer of power known as the Velvet Revolution, a revolt so smooth that it took just weeks to complete, without a single bullet fired.
He was chosen as democratic Czechoslovakia’s first president — a role he insisted was more duty than aspiration — and after the country split in January 1993, he became president of the Czech Republic. He linked the country firmly to the west, clearing the way for the Czech Republic to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 and the European Union five years later.
All free people and those desiring to be free weep at the passing of an important moral voice to our cause.
UPDATE (from Dan): A great man has fallen.