Wednesday, August 23, 2006

LA Times scolds Democrats on Wal-Mart

I opened an e-mail this morning from my good friend Marshall Manson just as Mrs. Marathon Pundit walked through the door--returning from Wal-Mart.

Knowing that I'm running 19 miles on Sunday, she purchased a lot of pasta for me to load up on.

As for the e-mail, the Los Angeles Times, a liberal publication, scolds Democratic politicians for the party's continuing demonization of Wal-Mart.

Perhaps the Dem politicos need to run marathons instead of run for office, so they can see the value of Wal-Mart to the average American, things like low cost pasta.

From the LA Times, free registration may be required:

Too bad the party can't simply draft Costco or Target to run for president. Instead, Democratic presidential aspirants -- including Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico -- feel compelled to bash one company, the largest employer in the U.S., to score points with labor organizers. The candidates are so intent on gaining tactical advantage in the primary season that they risk alienating possible supporters in the general election.

Most Americans do not want their politicians ganging up on one company. Wal-Mart may be a behemoth that employs 1.3 million people in this country and earned $11 billion in profit last year, but it still looks like bullying when politicians single out one business to scapegoat for larger societal ills. And when they start passing laws aimed at their scapegoat -- as the Maryland Legislature did when it passed legislation forcing Wal-Mart to spend a certain amount on employee healthcare -- the judiciary rightly balks. A federal judge struck down the regulation, holding that it violates laws requiring equal treatment of employers.

But there is no stopping the campaign rhetoric. At an anti-Wal-Mart rally last week in Iowa, Biden noted that the retailer pays people $10 an hour, and then asked: "How can you live a middle-class life on that?" It's clearly the company's fault, at least from a skewed senatorial perspective, that all Americans cannot live a comfortable middle-class life. How dare it pay prevailing retail wages? Bayh, who appeared at another rally, was quoted as saying that Wal-Mart is "emblematic of the anxiety around the country." That may be true. But if it's the emblem he's worried about, he should stay in Washington and work to make healthcare more affordable for working families.

The gusto with which even moderate Democrats are bashing Wal-Mart is bound to backfire. Not only does it take the party back to the pre-Clinton era, when Democrats were perceived as reflexively anti-business, it manages to make Democrats seem like out-of-touch elitists to the millions of Americans who work and shop at Wal-Mart.

True, very true.

I'd like to add an additional observation: Sen Evan Bayh (D-IN) is now deep in the anti-Wal-Mart movement. Bayh used to claim to be a moderate--a smart move for a Democrat in a conservative state such as Indiana. Since his re-election in 2004, Bayh has dropped the charade, he's now a liberal's lib. Maybe he was already. Assuming he doesn't win the presidency of vice-presidency, Bayh will face a tough re-election battle in 2010 if he chooses to keep his Hoosier senate seat.

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