'Hell freezes over'

Some four or five years ago, I was seated at my computer in the early morning hours when my chair shifted momentarily as if sitting in a bowl of Jello. “That was an earthquake,” I said out loud. I went to the Web site of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Center and filled out a report. This was a first for me, and I though it might, at least, establish that the effects of the 4.2 earthquake, centered in northern Alabama, had been felt by a novice in northwest South Carolina.

Early Friday morning, seated on my loveseat listening to Dickens, I felt the same sensation underfoot. I knew immediately another temblor had occurred. This one, at 5.4, was farther away and to the northwest.

Neither tremor shook me up as much as the well-reported change of heart of one Richard Mellon Scaife toward Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In the past year I’ve listened to Bill Clinton’s “My Life,” “Living History” by Hillary Rodham Clinton, David Brock’s “Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative,” and “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton” by Carl Bernstein. I know who Richard Mellon Scaife is.

During Bill Clinton’s administration, billionaire Scaife spent the collective GDP of four or five Third World nations and a couple of South American Banana Republics on a one-man effort to destroy the Democratic president and first lady.

Since Brock, now manning the liberal media watchdog site, Media Matters for America, was Scaife’s #1 hired gun, I recommend his book – a gutsy romp, a nonfiction roman à clef which doesn’t bother disguising the pin-stripe-suited, cigar-smoking young men and leopard-skin-skirted young women of the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Brock and his fellow conspirators turned out reams of anti-Clinton tripe in the pages of the Scaife-backed American Spectator magazine and other right-wing media. Absolutely nothing stuck except a bit of DNA on a blue dress.

On Sunday, 30 March 2008, Scaife wrote the following editorial in his newspaper, the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Tribune-Review:

Hillary, reassessed

Hillary Clinton walked into a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conference room last Tuesday to meet with some of the newspaper's editors and reporters and declared, "It was so counterintuitive, I just thought it would be fun to do."
The room erupted in laughter. Her remark defused what could have been a confrontational meeting.

More than that, it said something about the New York senator and former first lady who hopes to be America's next president.

More than most modern political figures, Sen. Clinton has been criticized regularly, often harshly, by the Trib. We disagreed with many of her policies and her actions in the past. We still disagree with some of her proposals.

The very morning that she came to the Trib, our editorial page raised questions about her campaign and criticized her on several other scores.

Reading that, a lesser politician -- one less self-assured, less informed on domestic and foreign issues, less confident of her positions -- might well have canceled the interview right then and there.

Sen. Clinton came to the Trib anyway and, for 90 minutes, answered questions.

Her meeting and her remarks during it changed my mind about her.

Walking into our conference room, not knowing what to expect (or even, perhaps, expecting the worst), took courage and confidence. Not many politicians have political or personal courage today, so it was refreshing to see her exhibit both.

Sen. Clinton also exhibited an impressive command of many of today's most pressing domestic and international issues. Her answers were thoughtful, well-stated, and often dead-on.

Particularly regarding foreign policy, she identified what we consider to be the most important challenges and dangers that the next president must confront and resolve in order to guarantee our nation's security. Those include an increasingly hostile Russia, an increasingly powerful China and increasing instability in Pakistan and South America.

Like me, she believes we must pull our troops out of Iraq, because it is time for Iraqis to handle their own destiny -- and, more important, because it is past time to end the toll on our soldiers there, to begin rebuilding our military, and to refocus our attention on other threats, starting with Afghanistan.

On domestic policy, Sen. Clinton and I might find more areas on which we disagree. Yet we also agree on others. Asked about the utter failure of federal efforts to rebuild New Orleans since the Katrina disaster, for example, she called it just what it has been -- "not just a national disgrace (but) an international embarrassment."

Does all this mean I'm ready to come out and recommend that our Democrat readers choose Sen. Clinton in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary?

No -- not yet, anyway. In fairness, we at the Trib want to hear Sen. Barack Obama's answers to some of the same questions and to others before we make that decision.

But it does mean that I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today than before last Tuesday's meeting -- and it's a very favorable one indeed.

Call it a "counterintuitive" impression.


It’s called “spunk.” I like spunk!


On Sunday, 20 April 2008, Scaife’s newspaper endorsed Clinton. The headline on Editor & Publisher’s report on the endorsement said it all: “Hell freezes over.”


Anonymous said...

It's less than an hour until the polls close in Pennsylvania. The more I watch the "talking heads" the more I recognize how astute you are! Your insights are right on! Faye in St. Louis

Jan said...

Now that Clinton has won PA, do you think Richard Mellon Scaife will write an editorial or op-ed for the Indiana newspapers? Seems there is a redeeming quality in Scafie after all.

Thanks for keeping us up to date.


Anonymous said...

It's going to the convention, and Hillary says she is staying around if that happens, because that is the the way it was in the old days.

Delta Judge

airth10 said...

I think Hell froze over.

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