Thursday, May 17, 2012

The family Ricketts, Obama, and the Cubs

Posted By on 05.17.12 at 12:07 PM

Joe Ricketts
  • Joe Ricketts
Cubs fans should take heart. The Ricketts family that owns the Cubs apparently has what it takes to think outside the box about ways to make the Cubs champions and Wrigley Field a garden of baseball Eden. Billionaire patriarch Joe Ricketts is right at this very moment thinking outside the box about ways to end the presidency of Barack Obama.

Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, "is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics," the New York Times reports Thursday. The Times offers a detailed description of a 54-page, $10 million plan called "The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good."

Joe Ricketts hasn't signed off on the plan yet, but he's studying it, according to the Times. It proposes attacking Obama "in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from," linking him "to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr." The Times says the proposal was presented last weekend in Chicago to "associates and family members of Mr. Ricketts."

Locally, the best-known family member is son Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Chicago Cubs since his family bought the team in 2009. Tom Ricketts wants to spend about $300 million improving Wrigley Field and he'd like as much of it as possible to be ponied up by taxpayers. This puts him in the interesting position of trying to persuade Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, that the president's hometown should plow public money into the Rickettses' private property while the family spends its own indulging Joe Ricketts's fantasy that there's something sinister and un-American about the president's middle name.

The Times has posted the entire Ricketts Plane online. It proposes milking the Reverend Wright for all he's worth. "Our plan is to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do: Show the world how Barack Obama's opinions of America and the world were formed," it begins. "And why the influence of that misguided mentor and our president's formative years among left-wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees. The world is about to see Jeremiah Wright and understand his influence on Barack Obama for the first time in a big, attention-arresting way. He will draw the attention.

"He is truly the elephant in the room."

The plan's fixation on Wright—which makes it read like something that might have worked four years ago—gives Tom Ricketts an easy way to disassociate himself from it, if he wishes to. All he has to do is invite the reverend to lead the Wrigley crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

The Times notes that Laura Ricketts, who is Joe's daughter and Tom's sister, "is a top contributor to Mr. Obama's re-election campaign."

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