Democrats and Wal-Mart

An interesting piece of trivia about the field of Democrats jockeying for the nomination in 2008:

The three leading contenders all have ties to Wal-Mart, a decidedly controversial company among Democratic primary voters.

Writing in The New Republic [subscription], Conor Clarke makes the connections, starting with Hillary Clinton.

Between 1986 and 1992, she served on the Arkansas-based company’s board of directors, a position that let her rake in about $12,500 per year. During the 1992 campaign, she still owned about $80,000 in company stock.

Skip

Last January, the senator scolded Wal-Mart for not doing enough about healthcare–but withered when asked if she ever suggested a change when she served on the board. “Well, you know, I, that was a long time ago, I have to remember.” Not a good answer.

Clarke notes that John Edwards “used to own company stock–stock he conveniently managed to sell in 2004.”

The piece also draws a connection between Barack Obama and Wal-Mart, though that particular dossier is, by the author’s admission, pretty thin.

In an impressive demonstration of historical repetition, the senator’s wife, Michelle, earns about $45,000 per year (plus stock options) serving on the board of a major Chicago food company whose biggest customer is–one guess–Wal-Mart. If that connection seems pretty distant (and, really, the connection is pretty distant) just think about all the tenuously relevant personal details that can railroad a perfectly respectable presidential campaign. Campaign critics can make a four-course meal out of pretty thin gruel.

– Azi Paybarah