Now that Richard Mellon Scaife is making a grand entrance into the GOP presidential nominating process by enlisting Donald Trump as a moderator for the last major debate prior to the Iowa caucuses, it's a good time to revisit the Newsmax owner's bona fides as "Republican" and as a "conservative."
This is a subject I know something about personally since I worked with Scaife when I served as editor of the Sacramento Union, where he was a member of the board and held a minority ownership interest, and later when he provided some funds for a nonprofit investigative reporting center I founded called the Western Journalism Center.
Knowing what I know about both Scaife and Trump, I think Ron Paul made the right call in turning down the debate invitation.
Neither Scaife nor Trump could or should be thought of as constitutionally minded conservative Republicans. They're just billionaires who use their money and power to promote their own narrow interests.
For instance, the Republican Party has been, at least in principle, an officially pro-life, anti-abortion organization since the days of Ronald Reagan. It has also been a party theoretically committed to eliminating federal government support for organizations based on the limitations of the Constitution.
Scaife, on the other hand, actively and publicly defends continued federal subsidies for the largest abortion machine in America – Planned Parenthood.
How closely linked is Scaife to Planned Parenthood?
Last April, Planned Parenthood took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal featuring an op-ed Scaife wrote titled forthrightly, "Why Conservatives Should Oppose Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood."
Not only is Scaife's idea anathema to religious conservatives, it is opposed by most of the prominent economic conservatives and most libertarians who recognize that a $1 billion extremist organization whose primary mission is killings babies doesn't deserve hundreds of millions in federal subsidies.
You've got to read the entire diatribe for yourself in which Scaife lauds Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger – a prominent eugenicist who sought to eradicate the black race! In a 1939 letter, she wrote: "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members."
Sanger's secret is safe with Scaife. Though he did write in his piece, "I didn't agree with everything the formidable Mrs. Sanger espoused."
One of Scaife's own deep, dark secrets is that, although he has spread millions around in conservative establishment causes and organizations, including some of Newt Gingrich's pet projects, his real heart and passion has always been supporting the wholesale slaughter of unborn Americans, who are entitled to constitutional protections promised, by the founders, to "ourselves and our Posterity." A literal definition of "posterity" is "unborn succeeding generations."
It is partly Scaife's anti-life compulsion that has, over the years, driven him to team up with, variously, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, former Rep. Jack Murtha and John Kerry.
Then there's the matter of Trump. Ron Paul may have said it best in his public statement declining the invitation to participate in the debate: "The selection of a reality television personality to host a presidential debate that voters nationwide will be watching is beneath the office of the presidency and flies in the face of that office's history and dignity."
Paul might have added the unseemliness of a GOP presidential debate being hosted by a guy who himself continues to flirt publicly with the idea of a third-party run for the presidency.
Even the usually staid, non-controversial, establishment National Review referred to Trump as "a tax-hike-supporting, missile-defense-opposing, universal-health-care-advocating, eminent-domain-abusing, Schumer-Weiner-Rangel-Reid-donating, long-time-pro-choice economic protectionist who is 2008 called George W. Bush 'evil' and lauded president-elect Barack Obama as a potentially 'great president' who would 'lead by consensus.'"
Conservatives and Republicans are less inclined to speak ill of Scaife, because so many have been bankrolled by him.
Personally, I think of Scaife as the bank that keeps the conservative movement from being effective and doing what is really necessary to take back the country. Trump serves another purpose altogether – sowing confusion among Americans desperately searching for a way out of the political morass with an endless trail of contradictory actions and statements.
Yeah, this ought to be a good and meaningful debate.