Bloggers on Hillary Clinton and Wal-Mart.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
May 21 2007 7:02 PM

Up Against the Wal

Bloggers assess Hillary Clinton's stint on Wal-Mart's board. They also compare the presidencies of George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, and pay homage to the Cutty Sark.

Up against the Wal: Hillary Clinton is facing scrutiny for her tenure on the board of Wal-Mart from 1986 to 1992. She gently pushed for more female executives and for Wal-Mart to be environmentally friendly but was "largely silent" regarding the discount behemoth's anti-union stance.

At The Plank, New Republic editor in chief Martin Peretz says he's been waiting many years for this story: "I always wondered why Hillary Rodham Clinton never boasted about her service on the Wal-Mart board. After all, she boasts--even exaggerates--about everything she's done and does…. What had she thought of Wal-Mart's indifference to its workers' medical coverage? …[W]hen she was in a position to do something in what was even then one of the largest corporations in America, she played footsie with her bosses, which is exactly what they were. What an empty vessel."

The "slightly left of center" Gun Toting Liberal is appalled: "The fact is, this woman served on the BoD for six years and did not do a damned THING to help end the ongoing employee abuses by China's number one customer and that is INEXCUSABLE as far as I am concerned. … Sadly, she COULD have made a difference if she would have actually CARED enough to do so. Thanks for NOTHING, Senator Clinton."

Filing from Antarctica at Ice Station Tango, frustrated lefty Station Agent tries to temper expectations: "I disagree with … the idea that somehow Senator Clinton would be able to change Wal-Mart's practice of using slave labor. If she had managed that, she should be elected Queen for Life, because without that labor, there is no Wal-Mart (I know, it sounds good to me too). This is one of the limitations of trying to change things for the better from the inside."

But Zac Bissonnette at investing site BloggingStocks thinks her time on the board could be a boon to her campaign: "It would demonstrate that she does have a background in business, and isn't as anti-corporate America as many have attempted to portray her as being. … But I think she should be proud of her tenure at Wal-Mart for another reason: While so many prominent people sit on the boards for numerous companies and collect a decent stipend and do little else, Hillary Clinton tried to push for change on issues that are important to her."

Read more about Hillary Clinton's stint on the board of Wal-Mart.

Pot, kettle, black? Former President Jimmy Carter called the Bush administration "the worst in history" for foreign relations and attacked Tony Blair as "subservient" in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Carter has since backpedaled, explaining that his statements were "careless or misinterpreted."

Conservative Hegemonic Pundit cries hypocrite: "Carter brazenly attacked the Bush administration yesterday as the worst administration in history. Strangely, that honor was thought to be held by Carter's administration mainly for it's inaction in the face of crisis. … From his endorsement and obvious favor of Cuban and Venezualan dictators and Castro, we can accurately outline the kind of policies and rhetoric that he would deem fitting for a Presidential administration to be the greatest in history."

E.M. Zanotti, a 24-year-old conservative at The American Princess, sees a classic case of the Left shuffling the blame: "For Jimmy Carter, the notion of Bush's Middle East policy failing vindicates his own spinelessness when dealing with the same monsters years ago. Its clear that Jimmy's policy made have been the original puzzle piece for them--teaching them the way to the Achille's heel of the Western giant--but if George Bush's strict line on war was not the answer, and eventually led to defeat, Carter no longer has to feel as though he made the wrong decision. He may live with impossible guilt, for all we know, or he may simply be delusional…."

At conservative video blog Hot Air, AllahPundit found Carter's criticism of Tony Blair more interesting: " [W]hy, like so many on the left, does he persist in believing that Blair went along with Bush on Iraq out of  'loyalty' or 'subservience' as opposed to conviction? … I think this is a simple case of the left simply not being able to tolerate the thought of a fellow enlightened leftist and/or European being pro-Iraq war, so they have to explain it away as a character defect."

Read more about Jimmy Carter's criticisms of the White House. In Slate, Christopher Hitchens calls Carter a "self-righteous, born-again demagogue."

Fire on the water: The Cutty Sark, the last surviving tea clipper ship, was ravaged by fire Monday morning, bringing tears and anger on both sides of the pond. The ship had been in the midst of major renovation, and thus its masts and half of its planking were actually elsewhere when the fire broke out.

Appreciators of the ship flocked to the Cutty Sark Society message boards, where visitors unfurled memories of the boat, or even building replicas of it as children. James K reacts with shock: "I was really upset this morning when I heard the news at 7am. … I was really upset and had tears coming down my face though this morning. I really think she is a great vessel and it would be a great shame to lose her."

At the Guardian's theblogart&architecture, Maev Kennedy, an archeology journalist, explains that the damage could have been worse: "Most of what the tourists saw, including the masts, everything on deck, and the deck itself, was replica work from the last time the ship was saved, in the 1950s. … The disaster could not have come at a better time: for the first time ever, as part of the conservation plan, every rib and plank, every nail head, rivet and bolt had been recorded. Every inch of original material lost is a little death - but she can and will be rebuilt."

Read more about the Cutty Sark.

Laurel Wamsley, a former Slate intern, is a writer living in Washington, D.C.

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