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NATO leaders can learn from Ricketts Ruckus

Joe Ricketts

Joe Ricketts

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Updated: July 1, 2012 11:57AM



Will it be war or peace? Do you negotiate with your enemies or threaten them with destruction?

Can bitter political enemies find a way to live together in harmony?

I’m not talking about NATO and world affairs, but Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Ricketts family.

World leaders gathering in this city today might want to take a good look at how Emanuel goes about solving the Ricketts Ruckus.

It might also be informative for world leaders to realize that in the U.S. the average person cares a whole lot more about sports than foreign relations.

Dignitaries in this city might think they know about hard ball international power plays, but they could learn something about how capitalism and Chicago-style politics work this week.

The Ricketts Ruckus was created when conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts, whose children own the Chicago Cubs baseball team, decided to pour millions of dollars into an advertising campaign aimed at kicking Barack Obama out of office.

Ricketts, a conservative Republican, sees President Obama wasting lots of money on things like national health care.

The Ricketts family believes in government spending to help the rich.

They want Chicago to use $150 million in funds it would normally raise from amusement taxes to finance a $300 million bond issue to renovate Wrigley Field, our version of Rome’s Colosseum.

Chicago is closing its mental health clinics because of a lack of funds and the state of Illinois is billions of dollars in debt.

In a capitalist country, faced with the dilemma of helping the needy or the rich, the rich always win.

Back to that Ricketts Ruckus.

The children of Joe Ricketts are making statements indicating that their father, while beloved, does not represent them.

The old man never really intended to finance attack ads designed to undermine Obama’s support in this country, the kids explained.

He only wanted to fund a campaign pointing out that Obama wastes government money on social programs instead of giving it to the wealthy.

The Ricketts children tried to call Emanuel to explain they just want to make more money and have nothing personal against Obama, but Emanuel refused to take their calls.

There are some who believe Emanuel, who was once Obama’s chief of staff, will use his position to take revenge on the Ricketts family.

These people do not know Chicago-style politics.

It’s all about leverage. It’s all about the art of the deal. It’s all about the money.

That’s what the Occupy protesters, marching and shouting and holding up signs this week, will never understand.

Money buys access to politicians. Money buys influence. Money unites countries, like China and the U.S., that otherwise would have nothing in common.

If you don’t have money, you’re just a loud mouthed, know-nothing, lazy bum.

Emanuel, a crafty politician, will leverage the Ricketts Ruckus to his advantage.

They will learn to share some of their family wealth with local politicians. That is the Chicago Way.

Peace will prevail. Wrigley will be renovated. Reasonable and powerful people, in back rooms across the world, can always find a way to work together.

The powerless can only shout and demonstrate in the streets.



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