Joe Ricketts, the crusty right-wing billionaire whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, spent $855 million on a team that can’t win in the fall. Now, Ricketts is spending $12 million on a candidate who can’t win in the fall: Mitt Romney.
Ricketts, the TD Ameritrade founder, is so hysterically opposed to Barack Obama that he considered funding an ad campaign re-emphasizing the president’s relationship to his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. That blew up after it was exposed by The New York Times, so instead, Ricketts will buy TV ads featuring disillusioned Obama voters. He’s also supporting the website Why I Changed My Vote, which features testimonials from Americans who supported Obama in 2008, but are switching to Romney this year.
Here’s Jodi Carroll, a registered nurse and mother of triplets from Winfield:
Barack Obama has failed on my main issues, which is our national division and our national debt and today, after almost four years, we are more divided and we have greater debt and another concern now pressing me is dishonesty. So, debt, division and dishonesty, Barack Obama has failed for me.
Ricketts obviously didn’t earn his fortune backing propositions like Romney. The smart money is behind Obama. At InTrade, Obama win shares are going at $66, their highest value since the death of Osama bin Laden. The election forecasting site fivethirtyeight.com gives Obama a 74.7 percent chance of winning. But as Ricketts demonstrated when he bought the Cubs, he is now so wealthy he can afford to let his heart lead his wallet to losing causes.
This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $1.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.