Breitbart’s First Post Mortem Pitch Falls Short

Conservative New Media star Andrew’ Breitbart’s last article appeared today, the first in the series in  which, despite his death this week at 43, his organization intends to vet the President this time around, and promises to do the same with the President’s rivals.

The piece centers on a Chicano avant garde play put on in 1998, after the performance of which on one occasion then State Senator Baraka(sic) Obama appeared as a panelist. It’s pretty far left stuff, the details of which you can read here.

But in the end, it’s inside baseball.

Breitbart establishes Obama’s place in a chain of transmission going back to the thirties, even, at only two degrees of separation, touching Trotsky.  Bill Ayers and other heirs of the old left make appearances, as does writer Suds Terkel,

Fascinating stuff.

Some years ago, I was reading Sidney Hook’s autobiography “Out of Step,” In which he went after other public intellectuals, such as Irving Howe, for hiding their radical pasts and flirtations – or worse – with totalitarianism, when I remarked to a friend that, interesting as the book was, it seemed a bit quaint. In the wake of the collapse of the East Bloc.  What relevance did intellectual squabbles and confusing metamorphoses of Trotskyite splinter groups matter?  Who even gets the “Splittist” scene in “Life of Brian” anymore?  You have to be of a certain age.

I was wrong, and naïve to think the Left had ever gone away, or just become Liberals, annoying, but hardly subversive. Mr. Hook, who died in 1989, would recognize what the President has accomplished in obscuring his roots. I do not say “hide”, because the truth about Barrack Obama was there for anyone who cared to know before his election.

The problem was that “vetting” has traditionally – and foolishly – been entrusted to a restricted group of voices. In 2008, bias was not enough, and obscurantism, distortion, and outright falsehood were deployed in candidate Obama’s favor.  Making up for this egregious betrayal of trust was the project on which Mr. Breitbart had embarked before his death, and his people vow to finish it.

I hope they have more, and better, than this. When I call it inside baseball, I mean to say that those who can understand the significance of such associations and histories constitute a limited demographic. And they have long since made up their minds in regards to Mr. Obama, one way or the other.

The cause of anti leftism was dealt a blow by  its conflation with Senator McCarthy’s methods from which it has never recovered.  Even an aggressive Soviet Union, Maoist and Cambodian genocides, and countless smaller atrocities could not give it legitimacy. The left retains its mantle of altruism, seen as sometimes misguided perhaps, but altruism nevertheless. Those who oppose it on principle are, of course, fascists. This is the narrative Breitbart fought, but the battle is yet barely joined.

It is simply beyond the capacity or interest of the “crucial independent voters” to take an interest in ideological history, even were it to be fairly aired across the old media to which they maintain habitual allegiance,

Trotsy? Alinsky?   The Republic Steel strike in 1938? Sounds like history, dude. Boring. Studs Terkel?  Wasn’t he that nice old guy on PBS back when?

And in fairness, why should they take notice?  Disentangling the conflicting stories, stripping the layers and finding the truth is a pretty serious hobby for anyone, if not a full time job as it was for Andrew Breitbart.  Many would simply hope to go with their lives, trusting their government to do its best for them, and for their television and newspapers to tell them the truth,

To extend the baseball metaphor, Breitbart’s vetting roll out piece is like the statistics laced commentary during a  no hitter, a game that real fans love, but a lot of us just go to the park now and then and we want to see hits.

To score on Obama, will require no longer taking his pitches, but throwing some hard, fast balls his way, indelible messages that demonstrate this man’s antipathy to the kind of country I believe, or perhaps only hope, a majority still wants.

The Republicans throw like girls.  They need a relief pitcher.  One can only hope Breitbart is savings  its best stuff  for the later innings.

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