You'd think with all his millions, his reputation for philanthropy and his exalted status as the titular head of Hillary Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy," Richard Mellon Scaife would resemble Thurston Howell III -- a man dripping in the accoutrements of the filthy rich.
But in the end, he and his wife more closely resemble what is commonly referred to as poor white trash.
Of course, Scaife isn't battling with his soon-to-be ex-wife, Ritchie Battle Scaife, over who gets the trailer. They're battling over stuff like $1,800 asparagus tongs. But, apparently, rich trash put their pants on one leg at a time, just as we poor trash do.
Various details of the Scaife's venomous divorce proceedings have appeared in newspaper accounts. But nothing has been quite so voluminous in its tawdry detail as Michael Joseph Gross' lengthy and highly amusing article in February's Vanity Fair.
According to the piece, the Scaifes met when they were both married to other people. One source told Gross that the soon-to-be new Mrs. Scaife showed up drunk at the soon-to-be-old Mrs. Scaife's estate, and was kicked and called a "guttersnipe."
Years later, after Ritchie found out Dick was cheating on her, she reportedly one-upped the old Mrs. Scaife: She kicked her beloved Dickie in the crotch, whereupon "his testicles swelled to such a size that he had to be taken to the emergency room," Gross narrates.
Well, no one has ever accused Scaife -- who funded the "Arkansas Project" to dig up dirt in Bill Clinton's past -- of having tiny testicles.
Once, I was struck by a low-rent wedding I went to, in which the words "don't let your meat loaf" were spray-painted on the couple's honeymoon automobile. The new Mrs. Scaife updated that tradition quite nicely. At her wedding reception, she had the Zambelli fireworks company do some major-league fireworks. Part of the display, at Ritchie's behest, was a blazing sign on the lawn that said "Ritchie loves Dick."
These two crazy kids got married, but Dick decided to get his wife her own freaking mansion, and they lived separately. It apparently didn't cause them any problems until Dick started cheating and Ritchie caught him. Was it another socialite? Some irresistible Kitty Carlisle clone? Some Margaret Dumont type that neither Groucho nor Dickie Cougar MellonScaife could resist? No -- we're back to the poor-white-trash theme here.
According to Vanity Fair, Scaife's latest flame is a 43-year-old blonde bombshell whose history includes being busted twice for prostitution.
Well, at least tell me that Dickie the Cougar had some elegant, fancy-shmancy setting for his tryst? 'Fraid not. Ritchie hired a private Dick, who caught Dickie carrying out his affair at Doug's Motel, located on Route 30 in Irwin. You could rent a room at Doug's for just under 50 smackers a night -- or for just three hours for a cool $31. (No word on which option Dickie chose.)
There's more. Gross repeats earlier news accounts of Ritchie being arrested for trespassing, and trying to kidnap a family dog -- an incident which involved her allegedly accosting the housekeeper. During their marriage, Gross writes that the two visited Dickie's son in prep school and brought him pot and alcohol. Ritchie denies it. Dickie says Ritchie's a pill-popper. Ritchie says Dickie's a drunk, or at least was one.
Maybe the biggest surprise of all, though, is that Dickie actually talked to Vanity Fair for the story. For years he's been a Wizard of Oz recluse -- why he's going public all of a sudden is anybody's guess. He's even had lunch with Bill Clinton, whose presidency he nearly destroyed. The former president, eager to suck up to anyone so his wife can become president, let bygones be bygones, and Dickie donated $100,000 to Clinton's charitable foundation.
Scaife tells Vanity Fair that both his marriages ended in affairs, that he believes in "open marriage," and that philandering is something he and Clinton "have in common." What they don't have in common, though, is mind-numbing hypocrisy. This asshole wasted our country's precious time and resources on a moral crusade that was one giant flaming bowl of hypocrisy.
But Scaife didn't sign a pre-nup, and now the old Battle-ax is taking out the trash. You don't have to be rich to be a slimy, two-timing viciously vindictive bastard or bastardette -- but it does make it somewhat more entertaining.