A Bad Case Of Ricketts (UPDATED!)

Since President Obama’s election in 2008, we’ve seen a level of vitriol leveled at him on a scale rarely, if ever, seen before.  Well, don’t look now but it’s about to get much, much worse:

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.

Ricketts, head of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, is said to be “studying” this $10M plan in addition to others designed to effectively smear President Obama just as the Democratic National Convention is getting underway.  In keeping with the best NeoConfederate traditions, this particular plan will try to inoculate itself against charges of race-baiting by trotting out a specific type of useful idiot:

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.”

I believe that they are making a huge mistake, and that the blowback could be HUGE.  We’ll see what happens.

UPDATE: Apparently, Ricketts figured out an ill wind was headed his way and chickened out:

Brian Baker, who heads the Ricketts-backed Ending Spending super PAC, called the proposal to tar Obama with Wright-themed ads “an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects.”

“Joe Ricketts is a registered independent, a fiscal conservative, and an outspoken critic of the Obama Administration, but he is neither the author nor the funder of the so-called ‘Ricketts Plan’ to defeat Mr. Obama that The New York Times wrote about this morning,” Baker said in a statement. “Not only was this plan merely a proposal – one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors – but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take.”

Pretty forceful rejection, but somebody is going go run with this sooner or later – just a matter of time…

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