When the BBC called Brexit for LEAVE at about 12:30 a.m. CDT today, I thought first of my friend Mike Flynn. Mike had a keen sense of history. He put the Tea Party movement into proper perspective, as he did with all events. Mike kept us from overstating both the Tea Party’s effect and its potential. Or he put them in context and reminded us that our potential depends on ourselves, not outside forces. Among nascent political operatives and activists, Mike was the adult in the room, even among people many years his senior.
I wanted to talk to Mike about Brexit, because he’d have a brilliant understanding of the event’s historical significance. I believe it’s the biggest political event since the Berlin Wall fell. Would Mike say I’m exaggerating? Underestimating?
I met Mike, Andrew Breitbart, and Chip Gerdes in September, 2009, around the time of the massive 9⁄12 Tea Party in Quincy, Illinois. Here’s how I described the end of that pivotal weekend:
I was hungover.
I sat in a booth at the Holiday Inn in Quincy, Illinois, with my wife and two friends from St. Louis. The day before was my wife’s birthday, which she graciously spent waiting for me to speak at a tea party in Quincy.
Angela and I sat with Jim Durbin and Ben Evans. About four feet away, sitting at the bar, were Andrew Breitbart and editor-in-chief of Andrew’s BigGovernment.com, Mike Flynn. Andrew and Mike were monitoring the Sunday talk shows on the bar’s big sports TVs. Andrew and Mike, and a kid named James O’Keefe, were the subjects of every political program that weekend. Just two days earlier, the famous ACORN videos dropped on BigGovernment.com.
I’ll never know Mike’s thoughts on Brexit. My friend, the political editor of Breitbart News, passed away last night. The Lord has now taken three central figures in the Tea Party’s rise, especially St. Louis Tea Party: Andrew Breitbart, Chip Gerdes, and Mike Flynn.
[caption id=“attachment_19775” align=“aligncenter” width=“1024”] Mike Flynn, Chip Gerdes, and Andrew Breitbart at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, August 2011. Photo courtesy Jeremy Segal[/caption]
I saw Mike in Washington DC in April. I was in town for only a couple of nights, but he made time to hang out and talk about politics, the primaries, family, and old times. He was joyous and funny, as always. Mike left early that night because of an appointment early the next morning.
Freedom will miss Mike, as we all will. You and I will have to pick up a little extra work now.
Why did God see fit to call how Andrew, Chip, and Mike so soon? No idea. But He probably knows what he’s doing.
God bless Mike, his family, and the grieving nation Mike left behind.
Please read the touching words of Mike’s friend and colleague, Mike Leahy.