Hillary's sorry connection to Wal-Mart, re: AP

It's been common coin on the blogs, and now the wire services are covering Senator Hillary Clinton's sorry history with the undead who run Wal-Mart. AP political writer Beth Pouhy notes in part how:

With retail giant Wal-Mart under fire to improve its labor and health care policies, one Democrat with deep ties to the company -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- has started feeling her share of the political heat.

Clinton served on Wal-Mart's board of directors for six years when her husband was governor of Arkansas. And the Rose Law Firm, where she was a partner, handled many of the Arkansas-based company's legal affairs.

Clinton had kind words for Wal-Mart as recently as 2004, when she told an audience at the convention of the National Retail Federation that her time on the board "was a great experience in every respect."

But in recent months, as the company has become a target for Democratic activists, she has largely steered clear of any mention of Wal-Mart. And late last year, Clinton's re-election campaign returned a $5,000 contribution from Wal-Mart, citing "serious differences with current company practices."

As Clinton sheds her Arkansas past and looks ahead to a possible 2008 presidential run, the Wal-Mart issue presents an exquisite dilemma: how to reconcile the political demands she faces today with her history at a company many American consumers depend upon but many Democratic activists revile.

"The interesting question is not just Hillary Clinton's history at Wal-Mart, but why it's delicate for her to talk about Wal-Mart," said Charles Fishman, author of "The Wal-Mart Effect," a book on the company's impact on the national economy. "Plenty of Democrats denounce Wal-Mart, but there are also plenty of people who need it, love it and rely on it.....

"Hillary Clinton, who as first lady proposed a wide-ranging but ultimately unsuccessful plan to reshape the nation's health care system, has had little to say about Wal-Mart's health care record.

"That was a long time ago," she said recently when asked if she had done anything about the company's health care policies while she served on its board.

That comment was met with disbelief from Jonathan Tasini, a longtime labor organizer mounting a longshot challenge to Clinton in New York's Democratic Senate primary.

"Voters would find it a strained argument to believe that the senator who prides herself on intelligence and knowledge of detail can't recall any details in this case. It just strains credulity," Tasini said."

And there's no sense in saying that Wal-Mart wasn't the flesh-eating monster back in the day that it is today, as Clinton argues later in the article in defending its failure to offer health insurance while she was a board member. The only real difference between then and now: the Beast of Bentonville just wasn't as dominant in the retail market back then, or as capable of leading a race to the bottom.

Tags: clinton, Hillary, race to bottom, Wal-Mart (all tags)

Comments

5 Comments

Re: Hillary's sorry connection to Wal-Mart, re: AP
This isn't exactly a new story.
It was out there during the 1992 campaign as well.
by v2aggie2 2006-03-10 08:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's sorry connection to Wal-Mart, re: AP

1992. That's a lifetime ago. And it's still relevant. There's no such thing as an underreported story, let alone one that has the names "Clinton" and "Wal-Mart" in the same sentence.The real story today is that, 14 years after it was reported that Hillary and Rose Law were cozy with Wal-Mart, she still has not said word-one on where she stands today in regard to America's leading predatory corporation.

by Michael Hirsch 2006-03-13 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's sorry connection to Wal-Mart, re: AP

Fair enough.

But with regards to the Rose Law Firm, well this is relevant only if Hillary herself was taking the cases with Wal-Mart.  

Rose is a pretty pre-eminent law firm in Little Rock.  Wal-Mart is by far the largest company in Arkansas.  And Arkansas is not a large state by any means, so the choices for law firms aren't that plentiful.  I would be surprised if Wal-Mart hadn't used Rose at some point.

Could this matter in the primary?
It could, but I can't imagine any other Democratic contender making it an issue.

In the general election?
It won't be an issue at all.

by v2aggie2 2006-03-13 09:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's sorry connection to Wal-Mart, re: AP

Yes but Hillary wasn;t running for anything in 1992

by sndeak 2006-03-11 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary's sorry connection to Wal-Mart, re: AP

I would rather sit down to a ziti dinner picnic in the cold rain than be forced to vote for The Tainted Lady.

I would rather vote for Judge Judy.

by blues 2006-03-12 11:33PM | 0 recs

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