Monday, October 22, 2007

Divorce, Rich Republican Style

David Segal of the Washington Post may win the Pulitzer Prize for 'Gossip Reporting' (if there is such a category) after today's report on "The Low Road to Splitsville."
Pittsburgh is the scene of the fabulously tawdry and surpassingly vicious spectacle that is the divorce of Richard Mellon Scaife.

Remember him? The cantankerous, reclusive 75-year-old billionaire who's spent a sizable chunk of his inherited fortune bankrolling conservative causes and trying to kneecap Democrats? He's best known for funding efforts to smear then-President Bill Clinton, but more quietly he's given in excess of $300 million to right-leaning activists, watchdogs and think tanks. Atop his list of favorite donees: the family-values-focused Heritage Foundation, which has published papers with titles such as "Restoring a Culture of Marriage."

The culture of his own marriage is apparently past restoring. With the legal fight still in the weigh-in phase, the story of Scaife v. Scaife already includes a dog-snatching, an assault, a night in jail and that divorce court perennial, allegations of adultery.
It's a funny piece, written in a style reminiscent of Sarah Vowell's travelogue, "Assassination Vacation," but with added echoes of Damon Runyon's famous reportage of the "Daddy and Peaches Trial" and the honking goose in the bedroom.

"The good news, weekend travelers," Segal writes, "is you can get close enough to most of the landmarks to gawk to your heart's content. So buy a map and pack a lunch. And keep your hands inside the car."

The bad news comes when you remember that these are the very kind of people for whom George W. Bush looted the U.S. Treasury so he could shower them with tax breaks.

No comments: