It was fitting for a patriot such as Richard Mellon Scaife that he died on the Fourth of July. Dick Scaife loved his country, and as a philanthropist, political activist, and newspaper publisher he helped to make it and his hometown of Pittsburgh better.
“There would be no conservative movement as we know it today without Dick Scaife,” says Chris Ruddy, the owner of the popular Internet and cable-TV outlet Newsmax. “Dick was an early funder of almost every major conservative group. He put up the original money for the Heritage Foundation, for example. He had one overriding love in his whole life: his country.”
He himself was a modest — even reclusive — man. But he felt compelled to enter the political fray through his support of publications ranging from National Review to The American Spectator to his local newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He endured great criticism for his support of the Spectator and its hard-hitting coverage of the Cinton administration. He later mellowed and reconciled with both of the Clintons.
The attacks on him by liberals as a rich plutocrat prefigured those launched on figures such as Charles and David Koch. But Scaife never took his critics seriously, arguing in his autobiography, A Seriously Conservative Life, that “private wealth flows back to the public good sooner or later, and with better results than if taxed away by that great middleman, the government.”
Scaife was, throughout his life, a benefactor of the causes of liberty. He will be missed.