Some years back, before anyone had really heard of Andrew Breitbart, I appeared live on a talk radio show he was guest-hosting in a Burbank studio.
"Am I doing OK?" he would ask nervously, knowing I had done years of talk radio myself. "Should I be doing something different?" In the years that followed I watched with amazement as Breitbart, through sheer force of will, transformed himself into the confident, fearless Breitbart we have come to know and, for me most certainly, respect.
Although I do not claim to know Breitbart personally, he did what almost no one else in the broadcast conservative media dared to do, that is defend my thesis that Bill Ayers helped write Barack Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father. Breitbart did it twice, once with Martin Bashir on MSNBC and once with Bill Maher on HBO. Both times he did it at the cost of being called a racist.
After these interviews, I picked up a copy of his book, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World, in part because I felt I owed him one. By book's end, I owed him another. Righteous Indignation is the single best account I have read of the media revolution and its political consequences, and it is all the better for being an insider's tale.
Breitbart would seem an unlikely culture warrior in the face of what he called "the Democrat-Media Complex." He started out as Hollywood nihilist and turned himself into a Tea Party knight errant. His is an extraordinarily American tale of self-creation, one on which other young conservatives should and ought to fashion their own life's journeys. If our Beltway allies had half his courage, Obama would not be president today.