Breitbart Was There: Telling WI Union Thugs to 'Go to Hell'

My phone rang on a Sunday afternoon, and I never answer my phone on Sundays – unless it's family, or if it was Andrew Breitbart – an exception that had little to do with the fact he was my employer.


"Did you see it?"

"Yeah, we watched the live feed online. It went off just a few seconds ago."

"Could you even hear us? The crowd was insane. I couldn't even hear myself."

"The feed was great. You could hear every word."

"Including me telling them to go to hell?"

It was April 17, 2011, a full two months after Wisconsin state Senate Democrats fled the state and exploded Republican Governor Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill into the most important national political battle this country will have between the '08 and '12 presidential elections.

Wisconsin is a state President Obama won by 14 points, but just two years later it was hit by a Republican tsunami. Among the casualties was Democrat Russ Feingold, a popular U.S. Senator. But the real winner was Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, who was given Republican majorities to work with in the legislature.

Wisconsin was in terrible economic trouble and Walker acted quickly, drawing up a bill that would, among other things, reform the public sector unions that were bleeding the state dry thanks to benefits and pensions the rest of us – the taxpayers who pay their salaries – can only dream of.

The idea was to – gasp! – demand public employees kick in more for their health and retirement benefits, which would be still less than what those of us in the private sector pay, but enough to make spoiled crybabies cry. Walker's most important reform, though, was the end of collective bargaining for all public unions not representing police and firemen. Walker's bill would also liberate public employees from being forced into unions. Though they would never say so, this is what most terrified (here's why) Democrats and the real motive behind the outrages that would follow.

The first 27 years of my life were spent in Wisconsin. I grew up and got married there. Most of my family is scattered throughout the state, and many of them are school teachers. But it wasn't until Feb 17, 2011 that Wisconsin became my personal crusade.

That was the day the Democrats fled the state because that appalling and cowardly act was the only way they could attempt to stop Walker from passing his reforms.

And so, as the dirty filthy hippies occupied the State Capitol, as the Journal-Sentinel (the state's largest paper) practiced its bias, as the national media lied about everything, and as I argued with family members I love who were part of those Capitol protests – I was outraged and obsessed by what was happening and determined to do everything I could to ensure those dirty filthy hippies and the crybaby public unions were dealt one humiliating loss after another.

Feverishly, I covered and followed every twist and turn of the drama on the Bigs. The fact that my home state was involved had little to do with it. It was the injustice of Democrats and liberal judges and union thugs and the corrupt media using every nasty, deceitful trick in the book to overturn, stifle, and bully democracy.

You can't begin to imagine how lonely this fight was in the beginning. At the time, it felt like it was just me, a few Facebook friends, and Milwaukee's two talk radio giants, Mark Belling and my friend Charlie Sykes. The media and the protesters had seized the narrative, the state was under siege, and no one in the GOP appeared to be lifting a finger. Essentially, what the union thugs, backed by the White House, were doing was working. Everyone and anyone who could help seemed intimidated…

…Except Andrew Breitbart.

I'm the editor of Big Hollywood. I wasn't Andrew's political guy, but even though the Wisconsin battle was eating up a lot of my time, Andrew supported everything I was doing. He understood better than I did what was going on in Wisconsin, what it meant for our country and the rule of law, and therefore he wanted in on the fight. And my guess is that one of the reasons he wanted in was that, at the time, we were completely outnumbered, outgunned, and it all looked hopeless.

Andrew loved that kind of fight most.

"Including me telling them to go to hell?"

I don’t remember how I answered Andrew, but I do remember how I felt when he told that mob exactly where they needed to go – and that feeling was, for the first time, hope.

Andrew and Governor Sarah Palin walked into the lion's den that afternoon – straight into the state's Capitol, ground zero.  Surrounding them were the most dangerous people in the world not sitting in a jail: spoiled union thugs addicted to getting something for nothing. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of them, and their malevolent purpose that day was two-fold: to make sure the opposition's message wasn't heard and to send a message of intimidation to anyone else who might also consider speaking out.

Throughout the entire event, these crybabies howled, screamed, banged drums, tooted horns, and acted like the surly mob they were. And although they were only a few feet away, Andrew looked every single one of them in the eye and told them to go to Hell.

The only reason I'm violating one of my cardinal rules and inserting myself into this story is because I think I represented the silent majority in Wisconsin – the person who was sitting at home watching my state being trashed and feeling as though the media was right, that maybe I was in the minority of opinion on this one. How can you possibly defeat so many people who are so energized, organized, and angry?

Naturally, the corrupt media all but ignored Andrew and Palin's appearance (she also gave a brilliant speech which is embedded below), even though they were among the first national figures with the courage to step into the brawl. But it didn’t matter, because we no longer need the media to get our message out. "Go to hell" went viral, and if you had to lay down a marker as to when things started to turn around in Wisconsin, I would argue it was then.

Andrew's (and Governor Palin's) fearlessness, their willingness to walk right up to the bully and pop him in the mouth – this was a grassroots game-changer. If some Jewish guy from Southern California is willing to fight this fight, then by God we are going to fight this fight.

Since then there have been countless court battles, a round of recall elections, a state Supreme Court election, and any number of fights – and the crybaby union bullies have lost them all. Moreover, Walker's reforms are showing the kind of real results that can no longer be denied.

On that cold, rainy, tension-filled day last April, Andrew Breitbart planted the flag of his reputation and his company into the battle for Wisconsin – a flag we have continued to raise at every opportunity since his passing. That flag flies today and will fly until the final battle culminates in Tuesday's recall election.

In the end, we may look back and wonder whether Andrew played fair. Because if you think about it, instead of telling that mob to go to hell, Andrew probably should've told them they were going to need more guys.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC


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