In the club

Richard Mellon Scaife died on Friday and I upheld the whole “don’t speak ill of the dead” thing by not writing anything about it. As a native Pittsburgher, I still remember the newspaper strike in the early 90s that allowed Scaife to expand his Greensburg Tribune-Review into the city-wide peddler of fringe right-wing sleaze that spent most of the Clinton presidency trying to prove that Vince Foster was murdered by his lesbian lover Hillary Clinton while Bill Clinton occupied himself with orchestrating the murders of his political enemies and nailing everything that moved (that last bit may have had some truth to it).

The fact that Scaife died on July 4 didn’t go unnoticed:

It’s funny, though, because several paragraphs in to this obituary of Scaife, we come across the following:

Scaife’s stance toward the Clintons softened years later. In an interview published in early 2008, he told Vanity Fair magazine he and the former president had a “very pleasant” lunch the previous summer, and “I never met such a charismatic man in my whole life.”

Clinton gave Scaife an autographed copy of his book, and Scaife said he later sent $100,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative. (Scaife also said philandering “is something that Bill Clinton and I have in common.”)

Scaife’s newspaper also endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bid for president in 2008.

Now, that last bit is misleading, since the Trib only endorsed Clinton in the Democratic primary, convinced that she had the white right stuff for the job only as compared to Obama. But the rest of it kind of makes me wonder what most of the 1990s were all about. Don’t get me wrong, if the CGI was able to do some good with Scaife’s filth-encrusted moolah, good for them. But it does reinforce the idea that, despite all the public feuding, there really is a club to which most of us don’t belong.


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