Joe Ricketts, the founder of TDAmeriTrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs decided to scrap his plans to run a $10 million ad campaign against President Obama using the Republican created political boogeyman name Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Mr. Ricketts plan would have followed the same unsuccessful playbook Republicans used against Mr. Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign, where they tried to scare Americans into thinking that because the President went to Jeremiah Wright’s church, Mr. Obama had to be a crazy America-hating psycho.
Both Republicans and Democrats considered Mr. Ricketts proposed ad campaign a dumb move. “Right now, the story the voters are moved by, and tuned in to, is the economy,” said Republican Rick Wilson, who helped create some of John McCain’s ads in 2008. That statement was echoed by Republican House Speaker John Boehner who said, “I don’t know what these other people do or why they do it. All I know is the American people vote with their wallets.” Even Mitt Romney found the courage to make a statement, saying that he “repudiate that effort. I think it’s the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign.”
John McCain stayed away from the Jeremiah Wright issue in 2008 and when news of Mr. Ricketts plans came to light, McCain also issued a statement saying he is proud of the decision he made to not air ads featuring Jeremiah Wright, and if he had to do it all over again, nothing would change.
Even Joe Ricketts’ own daughter disagreed with her father. She told the Chicago Tribune exactly what she thought President Obama. “My view is that the president is doing a wonderful job,” she said. “He’s a great leader.”
With all the backlash from his own party, Mr. Ricketts came to the conclusion that reviving a dead issue may not be his best option.