Crossposted on Marathon Pundit.
In regards to the subject of Wal-Mart, it's always been obvious to me that Democratic politicians are listening the their funders from big labor rather than its working-class base it claims to represent.
Marshall Manson tipped me to this Real Clear Politics article that puts some hard numbers on my beliefs:
· Democratic candidates face different constituencies in different geographic areas, but it is hard to imagine any Democratic candidates in diverse districts winning with the defection of 3-in-10 African-Americans and Hispanics.
· Overall, 40% of registered voters would vote against an anti- Wal-Mart Democratic candidate, while just 18% would vote for such a candidate--a 2-to-1 margin that would be hard to overcome among the balance who say the candidate's anti- Wal-Mart stance would make no difference.
The temptation to "stand up to Wal-Mart" as a campaign ploy reflects the sometimes cocooning and self-deceptive nature of Democratic Party activists. Indeed, in RT Strategies polls we consistently find that the most vociferously anti- Wal-Mart groups are Northeast and West Coast liberals who themselves rarely or never shop at Wal-Mart, shunning the retailer as not worthy of their patronage. They cannot understand how others fail to reach the same conclusion. At the extreme, such a person as a Democratic candidate for office might even want to suggest a few new laws or regulatory interpretations to help those who cannot help but dally in the devil's workshop.
The author of the article is Thomas Riehle, a long-time Democratic pollster.
Ald. Joe "No foie gras for me" Moore is the champion of the anti-Wal Mart forces in Chicago.
I used to live in his ward, there is just one decent retail plaza in his 49th Ward, and it's on the Evanston border. It's not a well-to-do area, in short, it's filled with people who are target customers for Wal-Mart, and these residents probably hop in their cars or a CTA bus and take Touhy Avenue down to the Niles Wal-Mart, contributing to the sales tax revenue of that suburb.
Last week, the Chicago Tribune--free registration required---took Moore to task in an editorial.
Yet some Chicago aldermen want to welcome Wal-Mart with a slap to the head. They're pushing an ordinance that would require all so-called big-box retailers in the city to pay their workers at least $13 an hour in wages and benefits. The $13 minimum would apply to anyone who works more than five hours a week in a store larger than 75,000 square feet. A University of Illinois at Chicago study last year estimated that, as of 2003, this would have applied to about 35 stores in Chicago.
So why Wal-Mart workers and not, say, Radio Shack workers?
Ald. Joe Moore (49th), sponsor of one of several versions of the wage ordinance, argues that the largest retailers "can absorb the higher wage costs." And, he said, "they have nowhere else to go."
Now, as far as we know, Ald. Moore does not have a background in retailing. He worked for the city's Law Department before he joined the City Council. But even if he were Ald. Sam Walton, we'd argue that a City Council member has no grounds for telling a private business what wage scale it can or can't "absorb."
The Trib goes on to point out that yes, Wal-Mart does have other places to go. There are 18 Wal-Marts in Chicago's suburbs, the first Wal-Mart will open on Chicago's West Side this summer, bringing 400 much-needed jobs to an impoverished neighborhood.
My advice to Moore is to walk around his ward and talk to his Rogers Park constituents and ask them what they think about a Wal-Mart opening up on the North Side of Chicago.
My guess is that there answers will surprise him.
And as far as I know, Wal-Mart does not serve foie gras in their cafeterias.
Go for it, Joe.
UPDATE, June 15: Betsy's Page (a big deal blog) adds more, and links back to Marathon Pundit.
Joe Moore really can't laugh off this criticism anymore.
2nd June 15 update: More on the Democrats jihad against Wal-Mart