For a moment, I ask you to take a look at the following pair of photographs.
2004 Campaign Season—George Bush and Senator John McCain
2008 Campaign Season—Richard Mellon Scaife and Senator Hillary Clinton
There is the saying that “Politics makes for strange bedfellows”. The truth in that statement is undisputable. We've seen that cast into stark relief with the odd collegiallity in congress where seeming polar opposites on policy find themselves paired up in pushing through important legislation.
That I get.
But I posted those two pictures above for a reason—pertaining to something I do NOT get and see no reason TO get. And that something is a craven embrace of a vicious, double-dealing, sworn enemy of all you stand for in the misguided belief that that is okay to do so if it will get you ahead personally.
We have run that McCain/Bush photo here more than a few times, as did Steve whenever the idea of a person's selling his or her soul for mere self-aggarndizement came up. That picture is meant to be stomach turning, much like the infamous Lieberman/Bush “Kiss” pic, which signaled to all where “Short Ride” Joe's allegiances had settled once and for all. We used it in the “What Price The Quest” post where the “dangerous flaws” in one John McCain were documented..
It is here, during the primary season of that 2000 Presidential election that McCain would again find his lifelong quest for respect thwarted and his very soul—his service, his patriotism, his sanity, and his family ripped to shreds by his GOP opponent George W. Bush, and the Republican hierarchy who came to dislike him for not toeing the line 100% with its conservative values.They trashed him for abandoning veterans on POW/MIA issues and having ”come home from Vietnam and forgotten about us.”—using a trotted-out, and sketchy veterans activist to deliver the brutal message.
They then smashed him as a traitor, using his torture-obtained statement in Vietnam as a weapon against him.
And then, they attacked his family—push-polling , faxing, flyering all of South Carolina, a key primary state with rumors of his being insane (due to his POW ordeal) wife's being a drug addict, and his having fathered a Black child out of wedlock—a brutal, but effective lie playing on his having adopted a non-white daughter from Bangladesh.
His campaign would never recover from that assault and Bush would triumph in that election—with a bit of help from the Supreme Court, voting irregularities and some bused-in hooligans in Florida. And as a terror-addled populace and war-crazed GOP rallied around the fear-mongering Bush—amplifying his power many times over, and freezing out any sort of “Maverick” opposition, something terrible happened to John McCain.
The man and operation that dragged his patriotism and military service through the mud, slagged his wife, abused his child as a campaign weapon and play to racism, and then...effectively called him insane he was now practically fellating...for a bit of blessing for future considerations in that infamous “quest”. A trade of one's core integrity, a heaping scoopful of innate self-respect—handed over to the man and machine that tried to destroy him.
We excoriated McCain for that awful backtracking and sucking up to Bush after those intensely personal attacks on him in South Carolina in 2000...where Bush's team put out all manner of vicious rumors about him...
They called his wife a crackhead.
Said McCain was insane.
Hissed and whispered about him having sired an illegitimate “Black” baby.
And called him a “traitor” for his forced statements during his Vietnam imprisonment.
After all that, when McCain sold his soul and embraced the snickering little twerp who signed off on all that sh*t-slinging—literally EMBRACING HIM—
...we all said “What the f*ck?”
Flash forward four years to that second picture—the one of Senator Clinton sitting there at the editorial board meeting of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review...with one Richard Mellon Scaife, the “paper's” publisher seated at her right hand, looking to the uninformed eye to be a simple objective questioner.
But we have an in-formed eye, don't we people?
We know that Scaife used his millions during Bill Clinton's presidency to finance The Arkansas Project, the nakedly partisan investigative arm of the Scaife-backed “American Spectator” magazine as well as his chain of knuckle-dragging newspapers. We know that he backed the fomenting of such swill as “TrooperGate” (The Paula Jones “scandal”), the stale-air yammering that was “Whitewater” (where Clinton confidant Susan McDougal was unlawfully and spitefully jailed), and yes, the ultimate bit of lunacy—the pushing of the “armadillo-shell-as-hat-to-protect-from-cosmic-rays-beamed-by-aliens” level of crackpottery in the “investifations” of Vince Foster's suicide. Scaife's well-paid minions pushed the idea that the Clintons were involved in Foster's death and actually participated in it, weaving tales of infidelity, outright murder, corpse-moving and spawned half-assed CSI wannabes into commencing their own loopy investigations that wound up having the desired effect that the President's enemies managed to get these crackpot issues debated in congress.
Can we forget Indiana Repuglican Rep. Dan Burton playing a 28-cent Gil Grissom as he shot bullets into a melon to prove the Foster death a homicide at Clintonian hands?
Should we forget Scaife-funded lunatic and word-salad tosser Chris Ruddy and his book “The Strange Death of Vincent Foster” and his equally loopy theories about former Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown's taking a slug to the head before having his plane crashed to cover up the seedy “murder”? How Scaife so loved those two reportorial bits of excellence that he then invested millions to start NewsMax in 1998 and installed Ruddy as said company's editor-in-chief?
And dare we exclude the millions upon millions the GOP-led congress spent investigating these Scaife-pushed claims of Arkansan evil—to where Ken Starr was even involved, looking into the shit that Scaife kicked up—including the Foster craziness that he had to issue official statements on them?
That's the “Reader's Digest” version. The in-depth dope can be found at various sources whose level of detail and dirt-digging expertise will probably leave you with your lower jaw firmly basement-dropped. Suffice it to say that Richard Mellon Scaife was the power behind an attempt to run an end-around on electoral politics, subvert the constitution, and utterly destroy a President solely because he dared re-rail a plan for Republicans Reich's lasting “a thousand years”.
And that makes that picture of Sen. Clinton sitting and chatting so fucking calmly—amiably even, with the venal Scaife so difficult to take. It is bad enough that there is an apparent cozying up to this snake who WAS THE FINANCIAL BACKER OF THE “VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY” SHE DECRIED, who worked like hell against Democrats in 2000, 2004 (aiding mightily in the “Swift-Boating” of John Kerry), and 2006. It sets my teeth on edge just thinking about it. But in attempting to be fair, maybe you say “Hey, it's an editorial board right? You have to meet with these people sometimes to get your message out...maybe charm 'em and turn 'em. Use 'em to knock an opponent down a peg or two.”
You try to give that benefit of the doubt. Maybe my enemy's changed. Mellowed. Grown up a little bit.
And then less than 48 hours later, you see an exceptionally nasty editorial mugging of a leading—perhaps the leading progressive in that very paper and it is apparent that NOTHING HAS CHANGED AT ALL...NOTHING.
“Former Vice President Al Gore says on tonight's "60 Minutes" that those who doubt man's role in global warming are akin to those who once thought the Earth was flat or think the moon landings were staged. Of course, the world should take Internet inventor Al Gore, the fella with a serious "sigh" problem, about as seriously as it would Professor Ludwig von Drake, the nutty professor from Disney's Donald Duck cartoons. It's pretty difficult to have less credibility than a cartoon character, but Gore pulls it off.”
That...is the Richard Mellon Scaife mantra as it always has been. Trash Democrats using the tiredest, lamest, hoariest tropes and spin possible. Damage the party. That is who he is and what he does. There has been no post-traumatic event values change alá Alabama's repentant racist Gov. George Wallace or a wizened reconsideration of one's past evils like West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd. You don't have to like the men—but you can acknowledge that they may have indeed “made a change”.
There has been NO SUCH CHANGE in Scaife. He's the same guy. With the same agenda. Just an evil-minded creep hedging a bet and running a game.
Sorry, but that's all there is to it.
His people went to a batch of the old 2000-vintage smears on Al Gore—who isn't even running—and went way out of their way to “nad-kick” him for what? Gore's being proven right? Having the last laugh? Winning a battle the right wing looks foolish in fighting?
This troglodyte's raison d'être is simple. Damage progressive causes and people in general. Take them down and take them out. Senator Clinton could almost...almost have gotten a pass on her breaking bread with this scoundrel were it not for his immediate and pathological showing of his true self yet again a mere day-and-a-half after their meeting. He's not even a “useful” idiot. He's just...an idiot.
Cuddling up to him and his brand of progressive-damaging demagoguery is unconscionable—especially when you need only look at the man's awful track record, still being laid out as I type these words.
In my fantasy-world, that Scaife/Clinton meeting was the ultimate “Sistah Souljah” moment, where she snuggles up to him all sweetness and light and then instead of breaking bread with him, breaks a Goddamn chair over his head—figuratively, of course.
But it didn't go down like that. There was talk of how “fun” it was and what an “adventure”the visit turned out to be. A lot of word-swallowing and tongue-biting in front of the man who called you a crook, a thief and a murderer and had never apologized for those accusations long after having had them disproven. The rough words unfortunately are reserved for more seemingly unlikely targets.
This man IS NOT a friend to anyone with a “D” in front of his or her name, no matter how he portrays himself or what one may opportunistically think of him. I don't think we've been wrong in our view of him as an arch-villain of epic proportions for the last fifteen years.The gratuitous Gore slam this weekend says it all.
It reminds me of an incident in my youth. Late one night, my father got a call from an employee about another employee's having called complaining about her spouse's abusing her. It was known around the job that this woman was catching hell from her husband all the time. Shades covering facial bruises. Mystery “sick” days. Bruises, welts and swells constantly showing up on this person. My dad spoke to her about getting some help several times and her getting away from his brute, and when he got this call about a particularly bad beating, he called a few male “friends” and went to her house to help her out.
The “friends” job? To straighten “Hands-On Hubby” out. Daddy's job? To spirit her away to safe environs. I rode with daddy (to help her get a bunch of her stuff out of there) and this woman and the co-worker who called. And as we drove the bruised victim to a relative's house for sanctuary I remember her going on and on emotionally about how yes, her abuser had indeed been beating her senseless, but we didn't understand how good to her he was “when he was good”.
I sat next to Daddy in the passenger seat as his hands ground into the steering wheel, his teeth squeaking as they gritted back and forth and his jaw clenching as this human punching bag tried to justify the black and blues marring her face. After one particularly loony statement, daddy looked hard in the rear-view mirror at her and tersely said...
“You know...just 'cause the devil puts down his pitchfork every once in a while—that doesn't make his ass an angel.”
I looked in my own rear-view mirror at her and saw her mouth open to say...something to rebut that statement...and then her mouth closed. Her eyes sank and shoulders slumped. She looked out the rear passenger-side window and I remember seeing the streetlight reflections playing off her tear-stained and fist-scarred face.
“Just 'cause the devil puts down his pitchfork every once in a while—that doesn't make his ass an angel.”
Forgive? Okay. That's your choice. It may make life more livable. But Forget? Forget? Absolutely not. You put yourself in harm's way pooh-poohing the evil of those who seek to destroy you.
I'd like to think Senator Clinton would know this already—in fact, I'm sure she does—but I'm going to say it anyway. To remind her of the facts in the event that a bout of amnesia has temporarily stricken her and to let her know if no such malady has befallen her, that we remember who this man is, what he does, and will hold no truck with this ugly opportunistic cuddle.
You equivocate on this enemy-embrace chicanery at your own damned peril.
End. Of. Story.
UPDATE: Or not quite the End. Of. Story. I elevate this from the comments because it so eloquently encapsulates why Scaife isn't someone progressives should have any reason to be all “bygones be bygones” with. From our ironically-named, but brilliant “Mr. Stoopid”:
The awful shit he (Scaife—Ed. note) helped foment in the 1990's did not just happen to Bill and Hillary Clinton. It happened to this country as a whole. Strike that. It was perpetrated upon this country as a whole.
While half our political class was chasing leads to indict the President and First Lady for murder/drug dealing/fraud/extramarital oral sodomy, and the other half was busily defending and shielding the good the administration had accomplished from that imbecilic shitstorm, real problems were ignored and allowed to fester.
Scaife is more than emblematic of what's wrong with this country: He's the nitrous in the Right Wing Loony Racer's tank. When he kicked into action, the stupidest, meanest, most destructive elements of what we now call political life in this country were elevated to positions of prominence. Ann Coulter is Scaifenstein's monster. And not the only one.
What he said.