Hillary & Wal-Mart
NEW YORK - 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.Consider the bizarre irony here.
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.”
“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.”
The Democrats have long claimed to be the party of the poor and the working class.
And Wal-Mart is the archetypal poor and working class business, catering to a customer base that doesn’t have the luxury of being fashionable, and needs to buy cheaply.
But those people aren’t the real base of the Democratic Party. The real base is the affluent cultural elitists.