After Breitbart’s death, as part of my duties as a GOP organizer, I had to watch the trailer for the mediocre (that’s being kind) documentary Hating Breitbart again and again and again at dozens of functions. Every time, the line that would invariably bring the crowd to its feet was the final one”Breitbart staring directly into the camera, addressing leftists, and saying his tagline: “Fuck you…WAR!“ And at every event, the theme was the same: “We need another Breitbart!”
Trump’s shtick is catching on this time because he’s filling the void Breitbart left. There is a need on the right that didn”t exist in 2011. But there’s also a huge problem: Breitbart never ran for office, and for good reason. He was a man capable of greatness, and he was a man who accomplished great things. But he could also be petty, intemperate, cliquish, vindictive, foulmouthed, a drinker, and a brawler (not just figuratively, but physically, as I saw with my own eyes). Breitbart could get away with it because he was an activist, not a candidate.
Some conservatives are flocking to Trump the same way a man might be drawn to the first woman he sees who reminds him of his dead fiancÃ©. For too many on the right it’s about getting the thrill back, not actually winning the election in 2016. Hence, as I said at the outset of this piece, it’s masturbatory in nature. It’s for self-pleasure, not for the good of the country.
I remember the night of March 1, 2012. Breitbart had died that morning, and we, the bereaved, gathered at Barney’s Beanery in Westwood for a private impromptu wake. Conservative “comedian” (there are no sarcasm quotes large or bold enough to convey just how inappropriate that term is for this man) Stephen Kruiser showed up beaming with glee. He had managed to get a hold of Rolling Stone scribe Matt Taibbi’s cell number. Earlier that day, Taibbi had posted a disrespectful obituary for Breitbart, and Kruiser and damn near everyone in the room spent the night passing around the number and prank-calling his cell again and again and again. It accomplished nothing useful. It was childish. But emotionally it was an outlet that a lot of the people in the room needed at that moment.
As I see Trump giving out his “enemies”” cell numbers, and as I see the Trump faithful glowing with joy as they visit righteous punishment upon anyone who speaks ill of The Donald (or anyone about whom The Donald speaks ill), it’s clear that the immature antics of that night in March 2012 are no longer confined to a bar, and no longer made excusable by grief.
It’s not about the win, but the “feels.”
Trump 2015 came at just the right time for those still pining for Breitbart…and the wrong time for Republicans who actually want to retake the White House.
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