Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hillary silent during Walmart anti-union board meetings

I know it is popular amongst the left to hate on Walmart - it seems almost reflexive, and fashionable. It seems even trite sometimes, because those of us who live in big cities with our lattes and our Volvos can afford to hate on Walmart, with other options such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods nearby, and farmer's markets for the localvores.

But the reality is that Walmart depresses the economy everywhere it goes, and that their employees don't even make enough to have health insurance, placing them amongst the working poor.

So this well-timed piece of oppo research (found on ABC by way of dkos) was conveniently leaked the day after Edwards, the populist crusader, dropped out of the race. Hillary Clinton, in her years on the Walmart Board of Directors, was silent on the issue of taking down unions.

In six years as a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors, between 1986 and 1992, Hillary Clinton remained silent as the world's largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.

. . .The tapes show Clinton in the role of a loyal company woman. "I'm always proud of Wal-Mart and what we do and the way we do it better than anybody else," she said at a June 1990 stockholders meeting.

This is going to hurt her big time with the California-New York elite axis of liberals who were formerly for Edwards, and also with the mainstream blogosphere.

And Bill's not really helping here:

President Clinton defended his wife's role on the Wal-Mart board last week after the issue was raised by Sen. Barack Obama in a CNN debate.

His wife did not try to change the company's minds about unions, the former Arkansas governor said.

"We lived in a state that had a very weak labor movement, where I always had the endorsement of the labor movement because I did what I could do to make it stronger. She knew there was no way she could change that, not with it headquartered in Arkansas, and she agreed to serve," President Clinton said.

At the end of the day, Barack's comment about Hillary serving on the Board of Walmart during the SC debate was intentional - it was meant to highlight that she can't be trusted. And this isn't really new news - we already know about Mark Penn and his work for crappy businesses, and it's not really new that Clinton was on the board. But I think it brings all of this up in a very visual light, one that strikes people hard.

I feel like Obama's got the mo back heading into Super Tuesday. He's got Teddy and the Kennedy imprimatur, and the blowout win in South Carolina. He's got over $32 million raised, JUST IN THIS MONTH. That's a pretty crazy number - most people would consider that a deliriously good haul for the QUARTER. He has, for better or worse, the endorsement of Rupert Murdoch's NY Post, which Hill and Bill have spent the past 6 years cozying up to. So what does that say?!?

On where Edwards voters go, Chris Bowers and Joe Trippi both offer their takes. I do think it will make it harder for Obama to take Feb 5th overall, but I feel . . . hopeful.

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