Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Out of Touch, Soon To Be Out of Mind

In a letter to The Daily Evergreen yesterday, T.V. Reed and Christopher Lupke of the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development stated:
Congressional and academic studies as well as reports in esteemed publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine and The Arizona Republic all enumerate the negative effects of Wal-Mart in communities like Pullman, negative effects such as undermining local businesses and draining social services that will undercut any taxes Wal-Mart brings into our community.
Dead wrong.

From yesterday's edition of the Idaho Falls Post-Register:
It's pretty hard not to notice, and I've had a number of questions recently about the steel going up on the north side of the Ammon Wal-Mart.

What it will eventually become is a strip mall. It is being built by the Klein Group of Coldwater, Minn. There's no word yet on possible tenants.

George Klomp, Ammon's building official, said the project, at 939 S. 25th East, was permitted nearly a year ago but put on hold until recently.

The company specializes in building strip malls near Wal-Mart supercenters. This one will be 36,550 square feet with an estimated value of $1.1 million.
And from a couple of years earlier in Billings, Montana:
A steady stream of customers and potential customers dropped by to check out the UPS franchise store when it opened Monday in the minimall at the corner of Wicks Lane and Main Street.

Clint Lunde, a 20-year veteran of United Parcel Service, and his wife, Suri, were the first to open their store in the latest minimall in front of the Heights Wal-Mart.

Lunde said one man who lives along Bench Boulevard was happy the store was open because he was eager to send a gift to a grandchild in Oregon.

"His first granddaughter is due in March and he's already sending the crib off," Lunde says.

The Hallmark Cards at Rimrock Mall is expected to open another store in two weeks in the retail center along Wicks.

And a third business, a hair salon called Great Clips, opens Friday in the mini-mall. Dennis and Nancy Stevens are the owners. Stevens' sister and brother-in-law started the chain in 1982.

Dennis Stevens built a heating and air conditioning business in Eagan, Minn., a suburb of St. Paul, and sold it for $30 million last year. He and Nancy retired to Luther next to his hometown of Red Lodge. But retirement didn't last long.

Billings was one city in Montana that didn't have a Great Clips, a national chain with 2,000 salons.

So, the Stevens opened two Great Clips last spring: One at Rehberg and Grand and one next to T.J. Maxx on Central Avenue.

The third store in the Heights will offer a grand opening special of $2.99 for haircuts, which are normally $8 for children and seniors and $10 for adults.

The two minimalls along Main Street were built by The Klein Group of Coldwater, Mich.
You're not going to find stories like this in a paper put out by Congressman George Miller's office. George Miller, you see, is a Democratic Congressman from the East Bay of San Francisco with a liberal record that would make Ted Kennedy envious.

You're also not going to find stories like this in academic studies. Liberal faculty in liberal arts/social studies programs outnumber conservative faculty 7-to-1 at American universities.

Nor will you find it in liberal MSM newspapers like The Arizona Republic, which has been leading the effort to embarrass the Pentagon over the Pat Tillman story.

As far as the "the esteemed publications" The Wall Street Journal and Fortune, they have both been singing Wal-Mart's praises as being the only lifeline for towns affected by Hurricane Katrina. So much for "enumerating negative effects on communities like Pullman."

But none of that changes the truth. Wal-Mart is a boon to local economies. Why else would there be a business that specializes in building strip malls around Wal-Mart Supercenters?

This points out one of the fatal flaws in the logic of PARD's arguments. They don't like "urban sprawl" and they don't like Wal-Mart's "one-stop shopping" model because it "destroys local businesses." Those two beliefs are inconsistent. If Wal-Mart worked the way PARD claims, "sprawl" would be eliminated. All other stores in town could be torn down and replaced with greenways, bike paths, trendy coffee shops, trolley lines, or whatever else they felt would be "non-sprawl."

It's actually the opposite. PARD (and the rest of the world) knows that no one does all their shopping at Wal-Mart. As seen above, Wal-Mart is an economic engine that creates even more businesses, which leads to "sprawl." So it's "sprawl" they are against. The "undermining local business" objection is whitewash to cover up how much they truly don't understand the average person.

Why are they so against "sprawl" (what the rest of us call growth and prosperity) ? This editorial from Daniel Henninger of The Wall Street Journal sheds some light on their mindset:
The first cultural contradiction of the Democrats is their alienation from the real economy. Democrats participate in the economy as lawyers, investment bankers, doctors, teachers and the like. Somehow, it's supposed to be more than mere workaday money-grubbing. But there is one career that would never enter the mind of most Democrats: Spend it working for Procter & Gamble. They'd go homeless before toiling as a middle manager at Procter & Gamble, which is "out there" somewhere. But this is what most Americans do, at thousands upon thousands of such companies spread from Pennsylvania to the border of California. No matter; in the Democratic Zeitgeist, it's all simply "corporate America," an alien blob of marketing types who have something to do with creating Wal-Mart, and other strange stuff.

These Americans don't live in the average Democratic mind as anything real; they're pod people, who cause "sprawl." In the election they just lost, Democrats demonized for months, then ran against "the Enrons and the WorldComs"--as if resentment of corporate logos would drive voters to the polls. At least in the old days the progressives railed against the Robber Barons, men with names. But with the decline of industrial unions, cultural Democrats have lost any affinity whatsoever for this swath of American society, which they've reduced to an economic abstraction.
You could just as easily substitute "grubby little merchants" or "Schweitzer Engineering Labs" in the piece above for "Procter & Gamble" and it would really drive home the point. Judy Krueger et. al. want a trolley and trendy boutique restaurants downtown because that is what wealthy lawyers and professsors with no small children at home want. It's not so much malevolence as it is an incredible arrogant ignorace about the "common man" they talk about protecting as they sit around and sip their lattes.

I don't believe that every Democrat in Pullman is against Wal-Mart any more than I believe that every Republican is for it. There used to be some great Democrats in this country that came from the working class and fought for the working man. But they have been replaced by effete intellectuals often born of wealth and privilege.

But there is no question that PARD is composed of these far-left, out-of-touch Howard Dean-type Democrats (more about that tomorrow).


Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Another excellent blog. Would you mind if I posted a link to your blog on mine. I have a few comments on Wal-Mart and just the whole issue, but I don't get as much time as I would like to work on it. I appreciate all the information your put out there. As you say after awhile people believe anything.

Tom Forbes said...

Thanks SHW#1! Link away! I'd like to see your blog as well.

Could you contact me offline at palousitics@adelphia.net?

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...

Will do.