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I haven’t made it a secret that I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but let’s keep the record straight.

Dave Johnson at Seeing The Forest does the work on Hillary Clinton’s legal career: she was an intellectual property law specialist and did a lot of pro bono work on child advocacy, not a typical corporate attorney.

Another issue is that she was on the board of Wal-Mart from 1986 to 1992.

It would be hard to find anyone who dislikes today’s Wal-Mart more than I do. They are a destructive force that: hired “non-English-speaking workers” to build a “Supercenter” that sucked the life out of many of my favorite local merchants; stiffed a local city for tax abatements and infrastructure improvements when they built their original store; abuses their workers by not adequately staffing the store while maintaining a large roster of part-time employees to avoid paying benefits; etc. ad nauseum.

One of the reasons for my hate of today’s Wal-Mart is that things were not always that way. Wal-Mart under Sam Walton, who died in 1992, was a good place to work and shop. It was one of the few employers in the Southeast that provided workers with benefits for a very long time, and if you were loyal to the store, they were good to you. If you shopped at Wal-Mart under Sam Walton, you would saw American-made products identified and promoted. Yes, things were cheap, but they were cheap based on standard volume and “gray market” purchasing, not cutting suppliers off if they didn’t lower the price. It was a discount department store, just like K-Mart, and the two could and did co-exist in the same town. Wal-Mart was also a major supporter of local charities and causes, and provided local scholarships. It was a good “corporate citizen” in many communities in the Southeast.

Wal-Mart was not the evil crusher of unions, suppliers, and local governments until after Sam died and they hired a “professional management team”. It was after 1992 that the take-no-prisoners and destroy all competition took over, making Wal-Mart what it is today. If you know any long time employees or customers you will hear them say “Mr. Sam wouldn’t have approved of this.”

As the first lady of Arkansas and a leading child advocate, the Wal-Mart board was a reasonable position to accept. I have problems with Hillary Clinton’s policies, not her curriculum vitae.


1 hipparchia { 02.06.08 at 11:22 pm }

from your same source, something that ought to be pointed out more often than it is —

“Hillary Clinton was appointed to the Board of the Legal Services Corporation by Jimmy Carter in 1978. Legal Services provides legal aid to the poor, working to ensure voting rights, as well as suing corporations on their behalf.”

2 Bryan { 02.06.08 at 11:34 pm }

What’s annoying is that there are good reasons for preferring one or another candidate without all of this crap. Why not deal with difference on issues, or is that too hard?

3 Badtux { 02.07.08 at 1:15 am }

Well, Sam was virulently anti-union, and that was certainly the case when Hillary was on their board too. But she was the first lady of Arkansas, and Wal-Mart was the biggest employer in Arkansas as well as the pride of Arkansas, the only Fortune 50 company to be based there. Being on Wal-Mart’s board was good politics for an Arkansas politician’s wife, and from all accounts she tried her best to nudge Sam and the rest of the board into better policies especially regarding women in the workforce. I’ve known people like Sam Walton before and you wouldn’t have changed his mind about unions, period. About women in the work place… maybe. I can’t blame Hillary for going after the possible rather than the ideal.

4 Bryan { 02.07.08 at 2:52 pm }

The South is anti-union, so it didn’t really come up until they went to Supercenters and started to hire skilled workers, like butchers, who already had unions. The old Wal-Marts were better than anyone else locally as far as wages and benefits went, now they are at the bottom.

5 ellroon { 02.07.08 at 10:34 pm }

I try very hard to not shop at Wal-Mart. Luckily, there’s enough of a population to balance out Wal-Mart and the mom-and-pop stores, and there’s plenty of places to find the same items for about the same prices.

When we were taking a trip in Arizona, we stayed in a famous hotel in Winslow. The surrounding town was horrible, boarded up shops, empty streets. We stopped at a Goodwill briefly and found that a Wal-Mart had recently opened.

It had destroyed the town.

6 Bryan { 02.07.08 at 11:12 pm }

If you are looking for anything at the absolutely lowest price anywhere, many below cost, go to a newly opened Wal-Mart. They undercut everyone until they quit, and then the prices start going back up. They always do it, and never get called on it. I guess there’s no law against “dumping” when it’s done by a “US” corporation.

7 Badtux { 02.09.08 at 2:16 pm }

Elroon, Winslow was already destroyed before Wal-mart opened up, it just didn’t know it. The few shops that Wal-mart closed down were already on their last legs — no real inventory because they didn’t have the money to buy inventory, the only stuff left in the shops was years old stuff that nobody wanted to buy, they were only open eight hours a day for five days a week (Tuesday through Saturday) because the only employee left was the owner of the business…

Wal-Mart didn’t destroy Winslow. I-40 destroyed Winslow. The people who are shopping at Wal-mart in WInslow weren’t shopping at Wal-Mart in Winslow before the Wal-Mart opened. They were shopping in Flagstaff, which is just an hour away from Winslow via I-40. Wal-Mart can be accused of many things, but destroying Winslow isn’t one of them. If anything can be said to have destroyed Winslow, it is the modern economy and the automobile. The Wal-Mart in Winslow actually did Winslow a favor, because it sucks in people from the surrounding area to spend their money in Winslow who otherwise would have bypassed Winslow and gone straight to Flagstaff.

(Disclaimer: I have not lived in Winslow, but I have lived in towns like Winslow before — and they didn’t need a Wal-mart to look like that, indeed, didn’t have a Wal-Mart, we all drove 50 miles to the nearest city to shop).

8 Bryan { 02.09.08 at 2:37 pm }

That has been going on a long time and made the routing of roads and railroads one of the biggest generators of graft, greed, and corruption in US history. I would guess that only wars are a larger source of misbegotten wealth.

I drove Route 66 twice before it was subsumed into I-40, and it was a much better drive, if you weren’t pushed for time or not driving a semi. I-40 was the death of an American tradition.