The Super PAC crankocrat Joe Ricketts has already disavowed the $10 million plan prepared for his consideration to tar President Obama all over again with his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright--a plan that Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg reported on in the May 17 New York Times. Ricketts could hardly do otherwise. The proposal, spelled out by Fred Davis of Strategic Perception in a 54-page document that has to be read to be believed, was so obviously racist that it included a chapter titled "Fending Off Racism" (by which the authors meant fending off charges that they're being racist). This was to be achieved by a.) hiring "an extremely literate, conservative African American" and b.) acquiring assistance from focus groups in "lessening any elements that could reasonably be deemed 'racist'" (note the assumption that there were sure to be some, and that these should be "lessened" rather than "removed").

The now-orphaned proposal, toxic though it is, at least provides some reassurance that the current scheming to smear President Obama is not being carried out by America's best minds, or even its second- or third-best. Start with the overall strategy: "The child is father to the man ... What we learn in our formative years, guides our actions as adults." This is a very weird approach to bringing down an incumbent who presumably has four years of governing to run against. It's a doubly weird approach to take on behalf of a challenger (Romney) whose early manhood, we just learned, included an incident in which he more or less assaulted somebody for being gay--an incident that the onetime demon barber of Cranbrook is now desperate to declare out of bounds. The Romney campaign most definitely does not believe the child is father to the man. It doesn't even want you to think that the governor (who invented Obamacare, among other offenses to the right) is father to the prospective president! And pretty soon it may not want you to think the primary candidate is father to the general-election candidate.