As I told a mutual friend earlier, I want the headlines to stop lying about Andrew having passed away. Unfortunately, it is all too real for his family and friends who wish they could pray the reality away.
I can’t honestly remember the first time I met Andrew, over a dozen (or more) years ago. It was over Instant Messenger though, that much is for certain. I was far from the only one who spent hours talking with him over IM, often with a long conversation or two before a thread ended.
Andrew had boundless energy. When I was around him, I was both exhausted and wanted to do more.
He was generous. For a long time, we related to one another as behind-the-scenes guys in a weird new media world. Like Jonah, I can’t pretend we were best buds, but we had a special bond I’ve always been grateful for. It was a fascinating one, frankly, because in many ways Andrew and I were incredibly different — temperament being a big difference — but we existed in a world that few understood back when it got rolling. And we had notes to share.
Andrew had a rare thoughtfulness. It may not be the way the public knows him — I’m supposed to write “knew” now aren’t I? — but he built people up. He drew them in. He wanted unsung heroes to have a voice.
He also knew how to say thank you. Which is never a given in life.
One of the only times I ever enjoyed a D.C. party was when Andrew and I went around — for some reason, we teamed up that year — at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Maybe I was giving him directions in his rental car. Maybe he was my plus-one at something I was invited to and vice versa. All I remember is having a great time, because he’s a magnet for it. He enjoyed life. Good conversations. Generous introductions. All the while he was talking with love about his family, and not an ill word for collaborators, even when things hadn’t quite worked out the way he planned.
He always treasured his time with Matt Drudge, always treasured Matt. I always figured there were moments in American history only Matt and Andrew fully knew the details of. Their partnership was a mutual respect, making some magic with that Drudge Report page.
Family is what motivated Andrew. I know someone must have known him without Susie, but not I. It has always seemed to me like they have been together forever. He dedicated his most recent book to his kids, writing: “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 generation are being handed the tab.”
His youngest is named for WFB, BTW. He was giddy telling me that, back when he was born.
Speaking of plans, as has probably already been mentioned, his vision for the Huffington Post was different from how it turned out. He had invited the likes of Jonah and Rich and me to have keys to the Post, hoping it would be a dialogue between the Hollywood Left — and the Hollywood Right! – and the D.C. people, maybe educating someone along the way. For whatever he is known for, this is part of his legacy, a desire to break barriers down and even bring people together.
Yes, maybe after some exposés in many cases . . .
And then, of course, there was his tenacity. He would always point out that he was not a schooled conservative. He couldn’t talk about Friedrich von Hayek or Russell Kirk. But he knew what conservativsm was from instinct, from common sense, from seeing what’s failed. And when we sat in a Claremont Institute classroom together as Lincoln fellows one summer, he more than held his own with the theory stuff, although he approached seminars with humility. He loved America. And he was a truth seeker.
I’ve been in Israel this week and had him on my mind at various stops. That’s only natural for me because he is an old and dear friend who always calls when it’s important. His heart broke for Michael Walsh when his daughter died in December. But perhaps my prayers for Andrew were a planted thought that has grown into an inescapable prayer for his soul’s rest and his family’s peace in their pain.
I had just returned from Mass at the church built on the grounds of the Garden of Gethsemane this afternoon when I heard the news. I wanted it to be a hoax. What an awful cruel hoax that would be. What an awful, cruel reality to have lost Andrew, instead. I just saw him some two weeks ago. I can’t believe I never will again. Not here at least. Not on IM.
If you pray, please pray for Andrew’s family in their agony. I’m going to miss you, friend. I already do.