Those Two Clinton Stories

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Today brings two new stories potentially damaging to the Clinton campaign — one from ABC supposedly showing that when she served on the board of Walmart in the late 80s and early 90s she did nothing to push back against the companies aggressively anti-union policies. The second comes from the Times and shows Bill Clinton mixing fundraising for his foundation with allowing international tycoons trade on his friendship to secure international mining concessions in Kazakhstan.

The first story seems mainly old news. We knew Hillary served on the Walmart board. The company is notoriously anti-union. I think it basically goes without saying that she wasn’t going to be pushing for a more union-friendly company policy, certainly not at a public board meeting, or else she wouldn’t have stayed on the board for more than five minutes. The story points out that she did push for more representation of women in the higher ranks of the company and also for more green policies — and on both counts had she at least some success.

But I remember being at a talk given by SEIU’s Andy Stern about how Walmart was willing to be flexible on a whole range of issues one might see as progressive, or at least was open to discussions, but that labor organizing was just in an entirely separate category. Walmart might be gay-friendly, completely green and whatever else but the top execs simply would not and could not imagine a different line on labor.

Now, whether or not Hillary should have ever gone on the Walmart board (remember this was an Arkansas-based company) is a very reasonable question. And I’m not saying the piece isn’t good journalism. I’m just saying I don’t think this tells us anything more than we did know or should have known based on the fact that she served on the board.

The Bill Clinton story in the Times is another story. I won’t try to characterize what the story describes. You should just read it. As far as I know, Bill Clinton says he’d still keep raising money for the foundation even while Hillary was president. And there’s no question the foundation does a lot of good works with the money, whatever the nature of the fundraising or the money’s origins. But Bill’s nuts if he thinks he’ll be able to keep raising money like this if Hillary’s president. It’s not even a close call.

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