Olympia Snow and Andrew Breitbart: Is It The End of An Era?
By Danny Schechter, Author of the Crime of Our Time
There was an eerie synchronicity between the pending resignation of veteran Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, a Republican who had more than she could take of hyper-partisan "conservative" correct-lineism in Congress and the death of Andrew Breitbart, the right-wing provocateur who did his very best to create the dynamic that Snowe was rejecting.
She would never use the language of her Party-mate Rick Santorum who confessed that some policies he disagreed with made him want to throw up, but if we lived in the age when all roads led to Rome. Congress would surely have its own vomitorium in the basement and it would be well attended.
Breitbart's unexpected passing of "natural causes" at might foreshadow the death of his political brand just as Snowe's retreat to the State lobsters made famous may mark the end of the center in the GOP.
There was nothing natural about Andrew's angst and activism as he smeared and bullied political opponents with the full support of the extremist echo chamber that helped him build his career.
There was no tactic that was too unethical in his aggressive arsenal that relished embarrassing and exposing enemies with videos and bombast,
After he died, the likes of Matt Drudge and Michelle Mallkin were there with teary condolences as was his adoring staff members who posted this testimonial:
"Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love."
What he did love was to retw eet every criticism he received as badges of honor in his what seemed like an endless self-promoting crusade . No wonder, the right wing blogosphere is in mourning, echoing each other's laments.
Breibart's spirit was animated by a large dose of Stalinism.
Conservative Ron Deher wrote, " I couldn't stand some of what Breitbart did, and criticized certain of his stunts on this blog. But Lord have mercy, a 43 year old man dropped dead and left a widow and four fatherless children. He was a provocateur, not a criminal. The thing Breitbart suffered from is the same thing " too many of us suffer from: making ideology more important than basic human decency."
David Frum , the conservative flack who coined the phrase axis of evil was honest enough to admit, " that to speak only "good" of Breitbart would be to misunderstand the man. The good was there. Breitbart was by all accounts generous with time and advice, a loving husband and father, and a loyal friend. Yet perhaps Breitbart's most consequential innovation was his invention of a new kind of culture war, and it's difficult to assess his impact on American media and politics if you withhold an objective evaluation of his career--a career that was so representative of his times."
It was that "culture war" that offended a cultured Senator like Olympia Snowe who said she was through with the spirit of confrontation and polarization that drives politics, fed up with an environment which has no room for individual conscience or dissent.
NPR reported, " Politico 's Jonathan Allen published a piece that epitomizes this genre today. The article, " The center crumbles ," laments that "Congress can't find the middle ground because no one's willing and able to stand there anymore."
For some like Snowe, the question is, why bother? The prospect of running hard to win another term -- particularly a six-year Senate term -- is less and less attractive for folks who came to Washington to make things happen only to find out there's no common ground to get things done, only partisan point-scoring that leads to paralyzed politics."