No Trump Bid
Thank goodness for the royal wedding! It took U.S. media attention off Donald Trump for a few minutes. In case you missed it, President Barack Obama actually made a statement about Trump's search for Obama's official birth certificate, now made public by the White House.
One assumes the president took Trump seriously not to help generate free publicity for the "Celebrity Apprentice" finale later this month, but to keep the flamboyant real-estate mogul front and center as the face of GOP 2012. Trump is currently polling well. He's doing so because he appears to have a fearless streak when it comes to Obama. The Donald shows some passion, while most potential GOP contenders are comparatively on the sidelines.
But Republicans would be wise to quit Trump and buck up their real leaders and allies: people who are truly engaged in -- to borrow a phrase -- winning the future. Chief among them: Andrew Breitbart. "Will the GOP stop playing Charlie Brown to the media's Lucy?" the longtime new-media entrepreneur writes in his new book, "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!"
Included in it is this telling anecdote: last year, when participants in a tea-party rally on Capitol Hill were accused of hurling racial epithets at members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- including John Lewis, a Georgia veteran of the civil-rights movement -- Breitbart "smelled a rat."
As Breitbart puts it: "The press went directly to petrified Republican leaders, who offered the predictable fearful apologies they weren't qualified to give."
In the meantime, Breitbart told Rep. Lewis that if the congressman could offer some documented proof of the tea-party rally members engaged in the aforementioned racist behavior, he would write a check to the United Negro College Fund.
But no video ever showed. Media and activists backed away from the recklessly unfair accusation.
"We called their bluff," Andrew recalls in the book.
This is what Breitbart does. As he explains it: "The left does not win battles in debate. It doesn't have to. In the twenty-first century, media is everything. The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media." And Breitbart is "at war to gain back control of the American narrative."
"Telling the truth is fun," he writes. "Having an effect on the election cycle is fun. Getting into world-class battles with brand-name media players is fun. When you have the truth on your side, and the American people behind you, it's fun!"
But it's no game for this relatively young father of four, the youngest child named for National Review's -- and conservatism's -- founding father, William F. Buckley Jr. In the acknowledgements to Breitbart's book, you see the author's true motivation: "Too many people fought to create this country" for us "to squander it in a generation. I cannot stand on the sidelines as you and your generations are being handed the tab."
And though Breitbart never consciously expected to be a member, like many Americans who became more fully engaged in politics last year, he has joined the ranks of the tea party. Perhaps you'd describe him as angry, but he's more accurately captured as determined and invested, with a flair for motivational speaking and the thick skin of a public figure who has taken more than his share of nasty attacks.
"I am optimistic that the Tea Party movement is reflective of a greater American sentiment that needs to try at least to save what is good and decent about the American experience," he says, in a characteristic statement.
Breitbart's not running for anything, he's just working to win, stakes bigger than any one campaign. But what he brings to the table is a substantive version of what people are responding to in Trump. He's not shy and he doesn't surrender. And, as he lends his generous support to a number of players and soldiers in the effort to recapture America, he doesn't crave credit, only victory.
And that, my friends, is a key ingredient to defeating the Obama reelection effort in 2012.
Kathryn Lopez is the editor of National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.