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*** UPDATED x1 *** Ricketts family studies $10 million plan to make voters “hate” Obama, while legislators mull lifting some campaign caps

Thursday, May 17, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* It’s more than a little ironic that the Ricketts family wants President Obama’s former chief of staff to provide them with a subsidy for their wreck of a ballpark while the family and its patriarch schemes to spend a fortune to defeat Obama via some pretty nasty political advertising

A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.

Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,” the strategists wrote.

The plan, which is awaiting approval, calls for running commercials linking Mr. Obama to incendiary comments by his former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons made him a highly charged figure in the 2008 campaign.

“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,” says the proposal, which was overseen by Fred Davis and commissioned by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the brokerage firm TD Ameritrade. Mr. Ricketts is increasingly putting his fortune to work in conservative politics.

The $10 million plan, one of several being studied by Mr. Ricketts, includes preparations for how to respond to the charges of race-baiting it envisions if it highlights Mr. Obama’s former ties to Mr. Wright, who espouses what is known as “black liberation theology.”

The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an “extremely literate conservative African-American” who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a “metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln.”

A copy of a detailed advertising plan was obtained by The New York Times through a person not connected to the proposal who was alarmed by its tone. It is titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good.”

The proposal was presented last week in Chicago to associates and family members of Mr. Ricketts, who is also the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs.

I’ll give them the fact that highlighting Jeremiah Wright might’ve worked better in 2008, but Obama’s been president for three years now. How is an obscure, defanged preacher who’s been shunned by Obama for years going to hurt the president much now?

* More

The plan is for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., to be “jolted.” The advertising campaign would include television ads, outdoor advertisements and huge aerial banners flying over the convention site for four hours one afternoon.

The strategists grappled with the quandary of running against Mr. Obama that other Republicans have cited this year: “How to inflame their questions on his character and competency, while allowing themselves to still somewhat ‘like’ the man becomes the challenge.”

Lamenting that voters “still aren’t ready to hate this president,” the document concludes that the campaign should “explain how forces out of Obama’s control, that shaped the man, have made him completely the wrong choice as president in these days and times.”

Good luck with that Wrigley plan, guys.

*** UPDATE *** I didn’t notice it earlier, but the Ricketts proposal is here. Also, the Tribune just picked up the story, but you have to read three paragraphs into it before you see any mention of Mr. Ricketts.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Meanwhile, in other SuperPAC-related news

Illinois’ campaign contribution limits would be eliminated if independent groups spent heavily in state races under legislation advanced by an Illinois House committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 3722 would remove contribution limits if another person or political action committee were to spend certain amounts of money for or against a particular candidate in the race. If an independent group spent $250,000 or more on a statewide race or $100,000 or more in other races, the caps, a reform measure passed after then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested, would be lifted.

The removal of the caps would apply to all candidates in the race.

* More

But a top official with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform suggested the Currie bill would “carve out a new legal loophole.” David Morrison, the group’s deputy director, said the Currie legislation would provide a road map for a manipulative candidate who wished to get rid of the limits. A third-party group that supports a governor candidate, for example, could put together enough money to remove all limits intentionally and time the move for maximum benefit, Morrison said.

Morrison urged for a task force to study what’s best rather than rushing through a response as lawmakers hurtle toward a May 31 adjournment deadline. But Democrats sent the bill to the full House on a 4-3 party-line vote in committee.

In a case brought by the abortion rights group Personal PAC, U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen ruled that the organization could create its own independent-expenditure PAC and take unlimited contributions.

Aspen found that previous rulings by theU.S. Supreme Courtand the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago “prohibit governments from enforcing limiting contributions to independent-expenditure-only PACs.”

Illinois’ first-ever campaign donation limitation law placed a ceiling of $10,000 on individual donations; $20,000 on corporate, labor or political party donations; and $50,000 from a PAC or a candidate’s campaign bankroll. The law also prohibited groups from having more than one political action committee.

* I totally agree that candidates should have the right to defend themselves if somebody starts dropping unlimited amounts of money into their races. The reformers don’t really have a response to this, so they suggest a delay. But a delay means nothing will be done before November. And the Ricketts story shows the sort of bigtime cash that’s gonna be dumped into races everywhere.

What say you?

       

61 Comments
  1. - Steve Bartin - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:00 am:

    Some independent voters may find what Rev. Wright has to say about Obama interesting. After all, he’s no ordinary preacher. He was a big inspiration to Obama. Someone who sits in Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years couldn’t help but be affected by Rev. Wright. His recent comments about “not knowing” if Obama is still a Muslim might interest certain voters. Probably not the type that drive around in a car with Obama logos everywhere.


  2. - MrJM - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:06 am:

    If the Ricketts family has billions lying around to spend on attack ads, then why in the world should they get any taxpayer money to remodel their teams ballpark?

    Money for Wrigley Field?
    N.O.P.E. Not One Penny Ever.

    – MrJM


  3. - Pete Granada - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:10 am:

    This may be enough to make me a Sox fan.


  4. - SecularHumanist - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:12 am:

    The right wingers are religious fanatics themselves so i guess their obsession with Rev. Wright is to be expected.Didnt Pres. Nixon listen to the loony opinions of Billy Graham? At least Rev.Wright never cheerleads for unnecessary foreign wars.


  5. - MrJM - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:13 am:

    His recent comments about “not knowing” if Obama is still a Muslim might interest certain voters.

    “Certain voters”? You mean “bigots”?

    – MrJM


  6. - OneMan - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:18 am:

    Really, Reverend Wright….

    That’s what someone wants to spend money attacking him on…. Why not just bring up Bill Ayers and Tony R while you are at it….

    2008 called, it want’s it’s fail to derail issues back…


  7. - Phil - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:20 am:

    I’ll give them the fact that highlighting Jeremiah Wright might’ve worked better in 2008, but Obama’s been president for three years now. How is an obscure, defanged preacher who’s been shunned by Obama for years going to hurt the president much now?

    Rich: I’m suprised at your naivete. The reason that this ad campaign is likely to have an impact is: 1) looks like Ricketts will put a lot of money into the campaign, thus leading to lots of ad buys; and, 2) the campaign isn’t going to be targeted at either likely Democratic or Republican voters, who probably already know who they’re voting for, but instead, will be targeted at undecided voters. And, I don’t think you can underestimate the impact that the constant repitition of an ad like this will have on how they choose to vote in November.


  8. - capncrunch - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:21 am:

    After observing how well campaign finance laws have worked over the past 30 years one might think that legislators would realize that they are not intellectually equipped to match wits with campaign donors.


  9. - Way Way Down Here - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:24 am:

    “Inflame” and “Hate” This could backfire big time.


  10. - And I Approved This Message - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:25 am:

    Laura Ricketts is a big Obama supporter and national fundraiser. Should make for an interesting Thanksgiving Dinner this year.


  11. - Boone Logan Square - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:27 am:

    These welfare queens want Rahm Emanuel to give city money for Wrigley so they can spend this to take out his old boss?

    It’s a strategy. Maybe not a wise one, but a strategy nonetheless.


  12. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:29 am:

    –The proposal was presented last week in Chicago to associates and family members of Mr. Ricketts, who is also the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs.–

    Chairman Tom, as a family member, are you in on this brilliant multi-million dollar plan — presented in Chicago, no less — to race-bait voters to “hate” Obama, at the same time you’re asking taxpayers to pay for your little fixer-upper?

    Goes to show you, you don’t have to be smart to be rich.

    It was Old Man Ricketts money that bought that little toy for his kids. Your daddy buys you a Vette, doesn’t mean taxpayers have to pay for gas and tires.

    The old man seems to have some disposable income left over. Let him foot the bill for Wrigley.

    Don’t forget, Ricketts got a price reduction on the Cubs from the Tribbies when Zell and Blago couldn’t swing that rotten deal to dump Wrigley on the taxpayers through the sports facilities authority.

    The best thing about all this: the Ricketts have no leverage at all. They have nowhere to go.

    Every new baseball stadium in decades has been built adjacent to or on the grounds of an old stadium, with all the infrastructure already in place.

    The newest stadium in Miami was built on the site of the old Orange Bowl. It cost $515 million. Go ahead and threaten to build a new park in some cornfield, and watch that cost break the billion mark.


  13. - shore - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    the nc convention tie to the timing of the ad is interesting in that many people down there still talk about the infamous 1990 jesse helms “hands” ad against his black opponent harvey gantt about affirmative action. There’s a great picture of obama from law school wearing a gantt tee shirt and the timing of this sort of attack and place is just a fascinating piece of political symmetry.

    http://www.pressleypress.com/pics/obama_gantt.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIyewCdXMzk


  14. - justbabs - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:38 am:

    Before this campaign is over, SuperPACs will discover that Obama’s relatives were Alton residents involved in the Joseph Smith massacre! Mark my word.


  15. - mark walker - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:40 am:

    Politicians have been unfairly trashing each other since the Jefferson-Adams race. Modern political operators, with their captive PACs, and their paid voices in the media, must assume that many potential voters are stupid enough to believe the biased and false messages they put out.

    Trying to control the tide of false political messages, by trying to limit campaign esxpenditures, is like whack-a-mole in the ocntext of the First Amendment. There will always be ways for big money to try to mold public attitudes. Think McCormick and Hearst.

    In the end we have to have faith that enough voters are smart enough to make our democracy work properly.

    BTW: Do Romney supporters really want to open the religious affiliation attack box? That would be sad for all of us.


  16. - Wensicia - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:41 am:

    Yes, the wealthy and corporate heads need more tax breaks to replace the millions they’re spending on Republican candidates and attack ads.

    This could force me to switch teams.


  17. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:46 am:

    There’d better not be any city money going to improvements at Wrigley. If they can spend on this, they don’t need my taxes.


  18. - J - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    2 things:

    1. Voters know who Barack Obama is, and the vast majority of the population knows that he isn’t a black nationalist who wants white people to be punished for their sins.

    2. I wonder what this is going to do to Democratic Super PAC fundraising. This might be the jolt we need to finally get the big donors to start full funding the campaign effort.


  19. - Downstate - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 9:48 am:

    WAIT!!!
    Are you saying that tax dollars are now going to be doled out based on political affiliation(s) of the recipient?
    I thought the Progressives were all about the openess of ideas and opinons. Seems like they now want to use the public purse strings for to control the narrative.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:04 am:

    ===Goes to show you, you don’t have to be smart to be rich. ===

    I started to type that, but - wordslinger - beat me to the punch.

    For all Cubs fans… these Dopes run the Ball Club. They have no clue how to work Rahm, they have no clue how to run the Cubs. Coinicidence?

    This is so Dumb, I dunno what else ro say.

    Maybe this … The more extreme you go, the more extreme you can look …

    I am not a fan of the Ricketts.


  21. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    @Downstate -

    It seems to me that if the Ricketts family is opposed to government spending, we should honor their wishes and reject taxpayer subsidies for Wrigley Field.

    Moreover, if I were Tom Tunney — who just happens to be gay, supports the President, and finds Wrigley Field in his ward — I’d go a step further.

    Its time for Tunney to fully embrace The Ricketts family’s vision of an economy driven not by government subsidies or regulation, but by the free market economy:

    - Remove all barriers that prevent the Rooftop Owners from competing with Wrigley Field on a level playing field;

    - End government subsidies for The Cubs, by billing them directly for all government services related to their profit-making enterprise, including the new el stop, public transit costs, parking ban enforcement, traffic control, police and court services…and anything else I’m forgetting.


  22. - Air-is-total - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:09 am:

    The biggest boost for a taxpayer subsidy for Wrigley Field came when Alderman Tunney came out against the plan. Remember the groundwork to kill Aldermanic Veto power came last year with Rahm and Solis’ Walmart go-ahead over local Aldermanic objection. Rahm will not let Tunney appear stronger than him on this. It’s a done deal already.


  23. - downstate hack - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:17 am:

    No public money for any sports ever again. That should be policy. If the Rickett’s family idiocy helps confirm that Great.
    Itherwise, I am no fan of Obama, but this ad strategy is absurd, and almost assuredly will backfire. It’s the economy stupid, run against Obama on his record.


  24. - mokenavince - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:19 am:

    It looks like the cub owners have more than enough money to pay for repairs at Cubs Park.
    Rahm will never ever forget these ads,the Cubs
    made a very bad political mistake.


  25. - Jeff Trigg - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    I believe the taxes the Cubs want access to, are the taxes their fans and customers pay coming to their ballpark, which are currently being used to subsidize US Cellular and the White Sox. The Cubs want to use the taxes collected on their customers to help fund improvements at Wrigley.

    I’m not a two wrongs make a right person, but lets put this Cubs tax issue into perspective. The taxpayers in this scenario are Cubs fans whose taxes are going to subsidize the White Sox and the Bears and their rich, 1%, campaign donating owners. I can’t blame the Cubs for wanting their cut of the taxes they are generating, although I’d prefer they got rid of the tax and all of the corporate subsidies for professional sports and their billionaire owners altogether.

    The Illinois Sports Facility Authority should be disbanded and its properties sold. Then we don’t have to worry about the rich Ricketts family getting access to the taxes now being used to subsidize their cross-town rival.

    As for the PAC targets, there are a lot of really stupid voters out there that fall for junk like this all the time. There are also a lot of voters out there getting fed up with this kind of junk from both Republicans and Democrats and are leaving those parties behind. This just makes Gary Johnson look like the sane one of the bunch.


  26. - mark walker - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:22 am:

    @ Downstate: point well made, well-taken.

    We should decide the Wrigley field funding strictly on its own merits. That would be a refreshing experience.


  27. - PublicServant - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:23 am:

    Wow. That’s it for me and the Cubs. What a moron.


  28. - Ahoy! - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:24 am:

    I think campaign finance reform laws don’t solve problems, they just create loop holes. Maybe we just need one law that mandates transparency (“sunlight”). If you spend money on campaign or “policy” ads the organization has to show where they got their revenue from and how they spend their money. This includes super PAC’s, candidate PAC’s and Karl Rove’s ridiculous campaign tax right off organization.

    Also, as a Cardinal fan, this story makes me feel good :)


  29. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:27 am:

    This should be the criteria …

    “Win, then we’ll TALK”

    I think that sounds like a pretty good criteria ..


  30. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:38 am:

    ===Are you saying that tax dollars are now going to be doled out based on political affiliation(s) of the recipient?===

    Surely you jest. That’s not what anyone is saying. The point is, if the Rickett’s have $10 million in change laying around with which to lob false, outdated attacks against the President, then they have the money to fix their ballpark. The argument would be the same if the Ricketts were Democrats, and the President were Republican. Party affiliation is irrelevant.


  31. - Joe W. - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:48 am:

    All you cubs fans who are Obama supporters and who will be going to the cross town classic this weekend have a great forum to send the rickets family a strong message. I am a cubs fan who will be cheering for the sox now. I suggest you do the same. Go white sox!!!


  32. - The Doc - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:51 am:

    ==The best thing about all this: the Ricketts have no leverage at all. They have nowhere to go.==

    I’d add that the ballpark itself and neighborhood accounts for a not insignificant portion of the allure, and an attempt to replicate elsewhere will fall short.

    It’s not clear why daddy Ricketts simply didn’t dump the cash into a 501(c)(4) like Crossroads GPS and avoid the headache of disclosure.


  33. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 10:59 am:

    Don’t underestimate the ability of a sustained media campaign to manufacture outrage/hate. Hillary Clinton was once one of the most reviled figures in government and now she is one of the most popular. Is there anything that different about who she is and what she stand for now than there was then? Not really as far as I can see. The difference is that back then there was a media machine constantly ginning up this hate for her and now there isn’t.


  34. - Downstate - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    It’s a slippery slope, folks.

    If we are going accept the discrimination of the Ricketts family, because of their political beliefs, then NO ONE is immune.

    “Sorry, but that cancer treatment is no longer available to you, as we’ve discovered you voted in the Democratic primary.”


  35. - Plutocrat03 - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    This seems so absurd that I wonder about the veracity of the story.

    Regardless of where Mr. Rickett’s political loyalties stand, a private entity has no reason to soak the taxpayers for capital expenses.

    Public private partnerships nearly always soak the taxpayer.


  36. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:30 am:

    Well that’s it for me. I’d been a supporter of a taxpayer-financed renovation of Wrigley before this, but now? NOPE, not one penny ever.


  37. - D.P. Gumby - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:32 am:

    Makes me proud to know that the StL Cardinals gave less to Republicans than other franchises..meh…I’ve been calling this political/money era “The New Confederacy”,but it’s becoming as much the robber barons and the Golden Age. Maybe it’s “The Golden Confederacy”…but that may mix too many historic metaphors…my brain hurts.


  38. - Boone Logan Square - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    If we’re talking baseball, Mark Konkol has a great obituary of Chicago kid turned Sox pitcher Kevin Hickey (who died yesterday).

    http://www.suntimes.com/12569512-417/kevin-hickey-a-long-shot-who-fulfilled-a-neighborhood-dream-dies-at-56.html


  39. - Jeeves The Cat - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    So the “Friendly Confines” are now owned by racists who are asking the President’s former Chief of Staff for millions of public tax dollars to sink into their private enterprise while they instead use their own millions to fund a campaign to smear the President in an effort to end public spending. Am I the only one confused, or is the by-product of really screwed-up thinking???


  40. - ZC - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:38 am:

    What also kills me, is the ad in the works attacked Obama for a taxpayer funded stimulus to help the national economy. But apparently taxpayer funded cash stimuli to the Ricketts are just dandy for the economy.


  41. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 11:39 am:

    ===“Sorry, but that cancer treatment is no longer available to you, as we’ve discovered you voted in the Democratic primary.” ===

    Yes, because providing live-saving medical treatments is exactly the same as giving away a corporate tax handout.


  42. - Freeman - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 12:14 pm:

    1.) === I am a cubs fan who will be cheering for the sox now. ===

    Ignoring all politically relevant aspects of this thread, I’d simply like to say: I endorse this message.

    2.) @shore’s comment combining the history, timing and location of this adds a fascinting layer of context.

    3.) This proposal is doltish. We would do well, however, to recall that families usually have all sorts of viewpoints and ideas.

    Comments suggesting we punish the family for Joe Ricketts aggressive opposition to Obama tacitly encourage others to punish the family for Laura Ricketts aggressive support of Obama. The blade cuts both ways.

    4.) Team ownership lost a lot of credibility when they spent $25 million to buy the McDonald’s across from Wrigley just after asking taxpayers to finance renovations. Difficult to take seriously their cries of team poverty since then.


  43. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    Story appears to not be true

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/17/wealthy-conservative-wont-bankroll-ads-reviving-jeremiah-wright-issue-after-all/


  44. - ZC - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 12:45 pm:

    Anon, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t true; it means someone with a cooler head prevailed on the super PACs that be.


  45. - Chicago Bars - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    I believe the ticket taxes at Wrigley that Jeff Trigg referred to are the 12% of amusement taxes on ticket face value which the Cubs want to tap. Not sure about the 3% Cook County Amusement Tax, but I believe the 9% City of Chicago amusement taxes generally go to the city’s corporate fund.

    Between the Bulls early playoff exit, the Blackhawks quick playoff exit, the NBA lockout costing local games, and the less than scintillating start by both the Cubs & White Sox, going to be a tougher year for amusement tax collections in Chicago.


  46. - Easy - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    the campaign for political reform can give all the quotes they want in newspapers and puff their chest in their quixotic quest for reform, but as we all found out a few years ago, they too will cave to whatever madigan wants. too bad. they had a chance to stand their ground after Blago, but caved and now are irrelevant.


  47. - Downstate - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 1:23 pm:

    -”Yes, because providing live-saving medical treatments is exactly the same as giving away a corporate tax handout.”

    Rich - I said slippery slope. The next step is “Your hospital rate increase won’t be approved without a political contribution.”

    Ooops. That’s already occurred. I think Blago sits in prison because of that.

    How is holding up the Rickett’s deal because of their political affiliation any different than Blago holding up the hospital deal because of political contributions?


  48. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 1:25 pm:

    “Dear Mayor Emanuel,

    Just Kidding!

    Your Pals,

    The Ricketts

    p.s. - Let’s get that next meeting about the Wrigley project on the Schedule real soon.”


  49. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===the campaign for political reform can give all the quotes they want in newspapers and puff their chest in their quixotic quest for reform, but as we all found out a few years ago, they too will cave to whatever madigan wants. too bad. they had a chance to stand their ground after Blago, but caved and now are irrelevant.===

    (quietly, almost a whisper) …

    “And my friends, that is the life-cycle of ‘The Legislative Mushroom’ …

    Thanks for watching, ‘Greenhouses’ with your host, Sir Edmund Donahue Johnson-Singin Jones.”


  50. - Judgment Day - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 1:33 pm:

    MAAN (Much Ado About Nothing).

    Joe Ricketts (in fact, pretty much the entire family) is substantially about ‘investing’. That’s how they look at ideas - they prefer being able to look at multiple different competing ideas, with some being ‘far out’ or on the fringe.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean as a result that you always make good decisions, but you will reduce your risk of making bad decisions.

    That’s how they operate, and it works well for them. These guys are very, very smart operators.

    The thought comes to me that maybe this isn’t about the Ricketts at all - they are just the vehicle. What if it’s all about trying more to influence other ‘back home’ Chicago players to stay in line. There’s been more than a few Chicago players who have come back home since 2008. As applies to both parties, “Political friends come and go, but enemies accumulate”.

    IMO, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Rahm just kind of ignored the whole issue. This story may be red meat for the politically partisan, but when your game is about economics, it just gets in the way. Rahm ignoring it and going on with ‘business as usual’ for him would be a ‘no brainer’ decision. Besides, this could be an opportunity for him - if the WH calls, he could tell Valerie to stop sticking her nose in his business (don’t think for a moment there wouldn’t be a whole bunch of folks silently cheering him on).

    Rahm is an extremely smart operator and he does not tend to foreclose on his political options hastily. The Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field are an economic asset to the City of Chicago, and by definition, an asset to him as Mayor. Same exact way with the White Sox, and the Bulls, Bears, and Hawks.

    Endanger part of that over a $10 mil(?) ad campaign against your old boss? That’s like chasing after nickels while $100 bills are blowing down the street. Better to save and use as a negotiating chit for later.


  51. - shore - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 1:50 pm:

    the story was true. the manual is also a fascinating read if you’re a teacher or student into how these things get run now. And chicago again proves that the “does this happen anywhere else craziness” continues to flourish even after blago.

    as for ricketts future in state and city policy and political matters, to borrow from mayor carcetti, he gets up every morning in a political system where he’s republican and 90 percent of the decision makers are not.


  52. - shore - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    this story is a big deal and the Ricketts family just jacked up scrutiny on their political and business dealings about 1.2 million percent. chicago is not nebraska.


  53. - Happy Returns - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 3:08 pm:

    In order to save the ballpark, we had to…

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304192704577404424241146562.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Makes a strong case that even a Cub fan could find convincing for razing Wrigley.


  54. - Skeeter - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 3:43 pm:

    The Washington Post is now suggesting that it was not a Ricketts’ plan, but was just one that was submitted to the family.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/gop-super-pac-considering-jeremiah-wright-attack-on-obama/2012/05/17/gIQABYtzVU_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics


  55. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 3:53 pm:

    @Jeff Trigg -

    You’ve got your facts mixed up in a serious way. Not like you.

    First, the bonding for U.S. Cellular is funded by the hotel tax.

    Secondly, the Cubs don’t just want the amusement taxes collected from Wrigley, they want ALL of the new revenue collected from all ticket sales over the next 35 years.


  56. - OldSmoky2 - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 4:33 pm:

    lol… Who would have guessed Nancy Pelosi would come up with the best line of the day on this?
    “I hope they’re as successful with this campaign as the Cubs are in baseball,” Pelosi said.


  57. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 6:07 pm:

    –Comments suggesting we punish the family for Joe Ricketts aggressive opposition to Obama tacitly encourage others to punish the family for Laura Ricketts aggressive support of Obama. The blade cuts both ways.–

    One side of the blade is a lot sharper. Who writes the checks?

    Furthermore:

    –”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,” the proposal says. “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.”–

    John McCain is a great patriot who refused to go in the gutter with the bigots. There is exhilarating footage of him at the end of his campaign, when he knew he had lost, smacking down those who were screaming racial slurs at his rallies.

    As for those who contend we live in a time that has “brought our country to its knees,” one suggestion:

    You can stick that as far as it will go and give it a good twist. Have fun.


  58. - Pete Granada - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 6:22 pm:

    The Ricketts Family appears to be in total damage control. The phones must be rocking at Clark and Addison. All I can say is LET’S GO YOU WHITE SOX! !!


  59. - Quizzical - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 7:07 pm:

    The news stories and blog stories have been pretty sensational, but the proposal itself is kind of ridiculous. The proposal is for a campaign without new information, and the tone is so ominous that it would only reinforce the views of Fox News watchers.

    It looks like a firm called ‘Strategic Perceptions’ is proposing to manage this campaign for a mere $580,000+$450,000 in production expenses; Quizzical, LLC would like to announce that it is ready to direct a similar strategic campaign against any person on earth, including close friends and family of Quizzical, LLC, for that same amount. Shameless leaps of logic, guilt by association, dark shadows and ominous narration guaranteed. Are you there Jim Oberweis?


  60. - amalia - Thursday, May 17, 12 @ 7:16 pm:

    the Cubs officially don’t need money from the public coffers.

    and, as a Sox Fan, my reaction to this idiocy is…..hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!


  61. - Jeff Trigg - Friday, May 18, 12 @ 8:37 am:

    YDD - Its close enough for me. The White Sox are subsidized by city taxpayers, including Cubs fans, and especially Cubs fans who stay in hotels. When the hotel tax isn’t enough to cover the subsidies to the White Sox and Bears, general revenue is used for the difference. The amusement tax collected from Cubs tickets goes into general revenue and is used to prop up the White Sox and Bears and make improvements to their facility such as $7 million restaurants. When the White Sox don’t meet attendance goals, the White Sox have a lower rent payment, and several years that rent was $0, all the while Cubs fans were dutifully paying their amusement taxes. Perhaps Lollapalooza is a more direct example for you, as they were exempted from paying the amusement tax that the Cubs fans pay. Bottom line, the Cubs do not receive subsidies and the White Sox/Bears do.

    Secondly, the reports I’ve read indicate the Cubs want the future increase in the amusement tax collected above the $16.1 million level they paid recently. There is no new tax being instituted, increased or collected. The Cubs are not demanding any amusement taxes collected elsewhere, only the taxes collected on their customers above the $16.1 million mark. You might be right, but not according to anything I’ve seen yet on this.

    If there was no 12% amusement tax, perhaps the Cubs could charge higher ticket prices and use that to fix their field, but because there is a 12% amusement tax the Cubs would like access to that to pay for it.

    Field Of Schemes blog follows this stuff. The White Sox have the best deal in MLB. The Cubs and fans pay the 2nd highest amusement type tax in MLB.

    Of course, the 2% hotel tax going to pay off Soldier Field and US Cellular could have been used on other things, but whatever. I agree with everyone that says the Ricketts should use their own money on their own pro team. I just wish that bit of wisdom was used when the generous handouts were being given to the White Sox and Bears.


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