John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Another Reason to Hate the Cubs

Posted on May 25, 2016

I remember when Brian Baker told me that he had a good gig lined up, something involving a billionaire.

We were on 8th Street and we had just a short conversation. But he seemed excited about the billionaire.

Who is Brian Baker, you might ask?

He was somebody who dated somebody who I once knew and he was a Republican who worked for Bob Dole (didn’t everybody at one time), and he was a Chicagoan.

I don’t even remember the year when we had this conversation. But it must have been when it was hard for Republicans to find a job, maybe before the Tea Party wave of 2010.

But I remember how excited he was about this billionaire, who turned out to be Joe Ricketts.

Ricketts, of all things, is a Creighton University grad who made a bunch of money creating Ameritrade. His great strategic insight was that plenty of people wanted to trade stocks without paying a bunch of money to a stock broker and he found a way to tap into that market.

Doesn’t seem like a big deal today, but back in the 1970’s, it was enough of an insight to make the Creighton graduate a billionaire.

Funny how life works.

My cousin went to Creighton and several other of my friends went there. It is a fine Jesuit University that teaches good values. I guess it taught Ricketts enough to make him a billionaire.

So, Brian Baker got hooked up with Joe Ricketts. Ricketts wanted to get involved politically, and Baker saw an opportunity to make himself a very wealthy man.

My mother has a pillow in her house embroidered with “A Fool and his money are fun to go out with.” A fool and his billions are fun to launch political campaigns with, too.

Not to say that Joe Ricketts is a fool. I have never met the man.

But when it comes to the ways of Washington, he might want to up his game a bit.

Ricketts and Baker first teamed up to do away with earmarks. They founded a group called, “Taxpayers Against Earmarks”, and the campaign succeeded in getting the Republican Congress to eschew their Constitutional power of controlling federal spending with Congressional mandated spending.

I would note that ever since Congress did away with earmarks, their approval rating has never climbed above 20 percent. And the irony is that without the power of earmarks, the ability to get larger entitlement reform diminished greatly.

But give credit to the Ricketts and Baker team. They won their short-term goal. Congress will continue to sacrifice its ability to tell the Obama White House how to spend Federal money. Congratulations.

Ricketts and Baker have moved on from ending earmarks to ending all spending.

Yep. That’s the name of their organization. Ending Spending.

Presumably, that means they want to end all Federal spending, which would include spending on health research, education, defense, the Center for Disease Control, you name it.

Seems overly ambitious to me.

But, hey, if that’s what Joe Ricketts wants to do, more power to him.

I assume that Brian Baker is still a Republican, although I don’t know that for certain. Joe Ricketts was once a Democrat, then he became a Republican and now he is an Independent.

His daughter is an Obama bundler and a fierce advocate for gay rights. His son has taken his money and used it to become a force for Republican politics in Nebraska. He actually ran once for the US Senate, but got trounced in a Republican state by a Democratic incumbent.

I bring all of this up because Brian Baker attacked me on Twitter the other day for announcing that I was supporting the Republican nominee for the President. Donald Trump was not my first choice for the White House, but he will be the nominee. And I will support him.

Baker seemed to think it was particularly incisive and damaging to my brand to bring up that I once worked for Denny Hastert.

This is no secret. I was proud of my service in the House, where I thought we did good work for the American people.   In fact, when I left Congress, approval ratings for the House were hovering around 50%.

But Baker thought it would be clever if he mentioned that I worked for a pedophile as a way to somehow undermine me in my support for the Republican nominee for the White House.

Now, obviously, I didn’t know about Hastert’s past crimes. Nobody did, including every Democratic candidate who ran against him, the CIA, the FBI nor the national media, who covered pretty much every aspect of his life when he was the longest-serving Republican Speaker in the history of the House.

But to Brian Baker, it seems entirely appropriate to bring up the Hastert connection as a way to throw some dirt at Donald Trump.

I asked Brian on Twitter when he became an asshole and he replied that it was right about when I announced that I would support Trump for the White House.

That’s amazing. My support for the Republican nominee has turned Brian Baker into a complete asshole.

This is indeed a strange election season.

As many of you might know, I hate the Chicago Cubs.

That has nothing to do with the Ricketts family. Hating the Cubs has been a family tradition stretching back four generations.

But now, I have even more of reason to hate them and their owners.

It would be more than a bit ironic if the Cubs would win it all just as Donald Trump swept into the White House.

In either event, Brian Baker would still be an asshole.