Love him or hate him, you had some kind of strong emotion reserved for Andrew Breitbart, who died today at 43 years old.
One of the most controversial voices in modern politics, Breitbart was a loudmouth with a cause. He not only stoked controversy, he started rifts of his own.
From his hackneyed investigations of ACORN and Media Matters to the peak of his fame (or infamy, depending on your political leanings), which came last year as he took the podium on national television while reporters awaited Anthony Weiner's teary resignation, Breitbart had a way of making himself and his work part of the story.
Ever since the early days of Barack Obama's run for president, Breitbart had his hands in the pot. He got Shirley Sherrod forced out of Obama's circle over comments taken entirely out of context. He sent people in undercover.
And in his greatest coup, he showed us Weiner's risque self-portraits, single-handedly taking down one of the left's sharpest minds and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's heir apparent.
Breitbart died unexpectedly from natural causes, according to a statement posted on his website this morning.
With a terrible feeling of pain and loss we announce the passing of Andrew Breitbart, a statement posted on his site read. We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.
Whether you thought he was a right-wing hack (as so many conservatives even did, begrudgingly, as they cheered his exploits on) or a visionary, Andrew Breitbart was truly a patriot and a warrior, and through his tireless work, he changed politics forever.
He was the right's answer to Michael Moore and all the other leftists who told us what to think with such authority, backed in so much questionable evidence. Sometimes it's rooted in truth, but watch Moore's Farenheit 9/11, then re-watch Breitbart's investigations of ACORN. They're cut from the same cloth, steeped in the same radicalism.
He was attempting not only to bring down every leftist construct, but also to instill fear and, accountability, in our leaders, in the same pompous way many of his opponents did.
Many Young Republicans see Rachel Maddow in the same way as Greenpeace members saw Breitbart: as the enemy, aiming to use fame and the bully pulpit to bring together disparate bits of information to inculcate us with their flawed ideals.
But Breitbart took his own route, followed his own path, broke all the rules in his quest to get his message out. And in that way, Breitbart will be remembered.
Me, personally, I'll remember Andy Breitbart standing at that dais in a luxury hotel in Manhattan, waiting for Anthony Weiner, a man he single-handedly destroyed, to emerge and give it all up.
We'll find out over the next couple of days just what killed this political anomaly of a man, but until then we can reflect on his legacy as a man who single-handedly built an empire and brought down others.