The legacy of Dick Scaife
Many readers of the Tribune-Review will have specific but differing remembrances of Dick Scaife. For me, Dick was a man of ideas — the ideas of personal liberty, opportunity and freedom for all.
Dick enjoyed the give-and-take of policy discussions.
Yes, he was a publisher and a philanthropist but those were means to his objective of advancing the causes — the ideas — he believed in.
Dick deeply believed in the superiority of the West — of our ideas, our values, our institutions and our way of life. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to stop the decline of the West.
For the 40 years we worked side by side, I was awe-struck about the difference Dick made for America, for freedom and for individual citizens everywhere.
A little-remembered role of Dick, the idea man and the implementer, was his service as a member of President Ronald Reagan's Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy for eight years. I know the commitment that Dick made to these efforts because I served alongside him as a fellow volunteer on this governmental policy board.
We traveled extensively, working with the United States Information Agency to promote American ideas and ideals around the world. We advocated editorials for the Voice of America because we believed that the message of America, whether led by a Republican or a Democrat, deserved to be told in a straightforward and upfront manner.
Our commission met monthly with senior government officials. We talked about how private citizens could advance America's national objectives around the globe.
And for those who claim that Dick Scaife was somehow “out of the political mainstream,” I remind them that Dick's membership on the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy included two Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings and two unanimous favorable Senate votes for confirmation of Scaife for membership on this elite advisory body.
Dick's expertise with the print media and with broadcasting made his expertise particularly helpful as we encouraged the launching of Radio Marti, to broadcast news and views to the people of Cuba. He enthusiastically encouraged us to reach out to those audiences deprived of alternative sources of news and information around the world.
On another front, back home in Washington in 1972, when our idea was still in the planning stage, my late friend and colleague Paul Weyrich and I met with Dick in his office in Pittsburgh to tell him of our plans to start a new kind of think tank — one that would be located on Capitol Hill, near the “action” of policymakers in Washington, D.C.
Dick gave his enthusiastic support to our idea and thus became one of the earliest supporters of The Heritage Foundation.
In early December 1994, I invited Dick to introduce Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich to The Heritage Foundation's President's Club. We expected more than 1,200 members from all over the nation at this great celebration.
Dick had made many public appearances before this one but he confided to me that “the pressure is really on. Ed, do you realize that this will be Newt's first speech since the Republicans took control of the House?”
Needless to say, he did a fine job introducing Newt that afternoon and Newt gave a spirited presentation on his plans for the new Congress, through the “Contract with America.”
Dick Scaife joined The Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees on April 2, 1985. He served as the board's vice chairman for more than 20 years.
About this time Dick invited me to join the board of trustees of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, which he chaired.
So for almost four decades we have been together, discussing policy issues, art and culture and local opportunities for a better Western Pennsylvania.
It was a highlight of my tenure as the president of The Heritage Foundation to join Tom Saunders, the chairman of our board, in presenting Heritage's highest award — the Clare Boothe Luce Medal — to Dick at a special ceremony at the Duquesne Club on May 19, 2011.
Yes, Dick will be remembered as a pioneering publisher, as a local philanthropist and as a leader in the cultural and social life of his home city. But for me, I will always think of Dick as the man of ideas — a leader who knew his own mind and who was eager to express his heartfelt beliefs to others.
We will miss his inspiring leadership on so many fronts.
Ed Feulner is the former president of The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).