A cold day in Hell? Or a straw in the wind?

What’s the CEO of Wal-Mart doing holding a fundraiser for a Democrat running for Governor of Arkansas against a darling of the Christian Right?

Most interesting news tidbit from tonight’s L.A. fundraiser for Mike Beebe, running against rising (he hopes) GOP star Asa Hutchinson for governor of Arkansas:

Lee Scott, the CEO of Wal-Mart, held a fundraiser for Beebe in Arkansas.

Has the Empire of Mr. Sam decided that casting its lot with political reaction is no longer a winning growth strategy? Is the CEO class starting to wonde whether corrupt and incompetent Republican government is actually good for business? Search me. But I’d be happy to believe either one.

Footnote The fundraiser, at the home of Ron Burkle, was organized by Mike Webber and featured Wesley Clark.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

5 thoughts on “A cold day in Hell? Or a straw in the wind?”

  1. Walmart will work with whoever is in power or whoever they think might be. Hillary was on the Walmart board while Bill was a moderate Democratic Governor. Yeah I understand that it is good news that they are willing to make nice with Democrats. It is not quite so thrilling that Democrats are this anxious to make nice with them.

  2. I'm not only an Arkansan, but I've lived and worked at a newspaper in Wal-Mart's hometown, so maybe I can shed a little light onto this.
    There are a couple of things going on here. First is the fact that the Hutchinsons' star has been on the wane since David Pryor beat Tim Hutchinson in a senate race a few years back; outside of deepest, reddest northwest Arkansas, Asa's never polled very well and lately he's been given a push by his association with the Bush administration (former undersecretary of transportaion safety, if memory serves). Third, Mike Huckabee got into the governor's chair by replacing convicted (under a law repealed before his "crimes) Whitewater victim and Clinton opponent Jim Guy Tucker when the latter resigned after his indictment. He stayed in thanks in large part to a triple play of social conservatism (Arkansas' still pretty solidly Democrat, but you have to understand, it's mostly the Blue Dog variety), Baptist mouthing (the man is a minister, and Arkansas has a long history of believing damned near anything a preacher says) and voter inertia. (The lack of a decent candidate willing to face him and the party's willingness to wait for term limits to oust him also played a part.)
    The Democratic candidate, Mike Beebe, is a lot of things, but I don't thing anyone will mistake him for a loony leftist anytime soon.
    Finally, Wal-Mart is the 600-pound gorilla of Arkansas, both business and politics. The most damning thing anyone with political ambitions and any sense whatever will say is that Wal-Mart is a great and wonderful thing, but there are a few things it could do better. I'm not saying that a really popular candidate with great grassroots (and, what, shrub-height?) support couldn't stand against the colossus in the northwest, but one thing Wal-Mart learned from the Stephenses (who learned from a long line of line-crossers going back to the Searcys of territorial days) is that it's always good to be in with the ins. Rare indeed is the politician who, even when most flush with victory, refused the alliance of the big guns, even if they had but recently backed his most bitter foe.

  3. If you're a winner in the meritocratic capitalist market, one of the only powers that can bring you down is corrupt government.
    Businesses are catching on that if you're not in the innermost circle of corruption, you're a target.

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