Fools and Their Money and Fred Davis

My colleague Matthew Yglesias wonders whether the buzzy Joe Ricketts proposal for $10 million of anti-Obama ads has something to do with Ricketts’s rich guy overfidence

It’s psychologically comforting to many conservatives to believe that Obama won in 2008 not because of the extremely unpopularity of the GOP, but because the media failed to “vet the prez” and expose his links to black radicalism.

If you’re Fred Davis or any other consultant eager to help himself to a slice of Ricketts’ $10 million investment, coming up with a cost-effective plan for damaging Obama’s re-election campaign is pointless. What you want to do is come up with a plan that appeals to Ricketts’ sensibilities and makes him want to spend the money.


This is… a pretty good theory. Fred Davis works for plenty of campaigns that win. He also possesses a divining rod* that finds candidates with too much money and no hope of victory. You might remember this Fred Davis joint from an unexpectedly well-funded 2010 Senate race.

Perhaps you remember his cryptic launch campaign for a 2012 candidate with an extremely rich father.

Perhaps Pete Ricketts was about to blow the presidential campaign wide open with a $10 million Jeremiah Wright ad campaign, fronted by (this really is the best part of the story) a charismatic black spokesman. Or perhaps it would have gone over like a lead balloon, like the $8 million National Republican Trust campaign right before the 2008 election. Nobody seems to remember that in their pitches to rich guys.

*An amusing typo was fixed.