Heinz Buys Wal-Mart

Matt Drudge implies that Teresa Heinz Kerry is hypocritical for dissing Wal-Mart despite the fact she’s bought over a million in their stock.

“Another thing that drives me crazy, and I hope I don’t offend anyone here, is WAL-MART,” Mrs. Kerry told a group of Democratic women activists at a luncheon in St. Paul last Tuesday. “They destroy communities.”

Obviously, she intends to gain a controlling interest and sell them off to mom and pop operations.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. RicK DeMent says:

    I hate Microsoft due to their anti-competitive practices and their various strong arm tactics. But as long as the government is too wussyfied to do anything the will be the leader of the pack (and utterly destroy a good deal of innovation). So it makes sense to own their stock, not hypocritical, but the reasons that I hate then make them a good buy. I mean I would invest in the Mafia if they went public, wouldn’t you?

  2. Jalal Abu Jarhead says:

    Not necessarily, Rick. It depends on what your principles are, and how strongly you hold them. As an example, my father and brother are Southern Baptist ministers (Dad’s retired, though), and they work hard to ensure that when they invest in a mutual fund, the fund manager commits to not having any companies in the portfolio trade in alcohol or tobacco. It’s a real pain in the patootie, but it’s important to them.

    I, on the other hand, as a consumer of both alcohol and cigarettes, am not nearly so principled. 🙂

  3. RicK DeMent says:

    Oh yeah … principal. Well I’m a reconstruced capitalist. But I do admire those who are willing to pay the prince of principal, so rear these days.

  4. McGehee says:

    Complaints about particular companies are just so much background noise these days, to me. Every so often people get their noses out of joint over some company that’s #1 in its industry and they gripe about how it’s unfair somebody’s at the top of the heap — as though there’s ever been a heap where everybody’s at the top.

    Clear Channel is almost up there with Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Exxon and Halliburton as The Focus of Capitalist Evil in the World Today™

    I amuse myself by looking out for who’s next to be demonized.

  5. David Kutzler says:

    I’m a certified nurse-midwife. As a healthcare provider for pregnant women, I am strongly opposed to smoking. I also own shares of Altria (AKA: Philip Morris). I first bought Philip Morris (NYSE: MO) in 1996 after a 30 minute counseling session where I tried to convince a patient to stop smoking at least for the duration of her pregnancy. She didn’t buy it. She said that she was just too nervous a person and smoking two packs per day was the only way that she could deal with the stress of her job as a Real Estate Agent.

    I handed her a prescription for prenatal vitamins as she was leaving. She looked me in the eye and said “Are these prenatal vitamins NATURAL?” I nearly lost control. After spending thirty minutes unsucessfully trying to convince this woman to stop exposing her baby to poisons and carcinogens from her cigarettes, she had the GALL to imply that the prenatal vitamins that I prescribed for her might harm the baby because they weren’t “natural.”

    After she left, I called Sam, my stock broker, and told him to sell a couple of loser stocks in my retail investment account and buy as many shares of MO as he could with the money. With automatic dividend re-investment (MO pays the highest dividend on the Dow Jones Industrial Average) and later purchases, I now own almost 140 shares. MO is currently the best performing stock in my investment portfolio with a total return of over 132%.

    I have one share of MO in certificate form that is framed and mounted on my examination room wall. I also keep the most recent Annual Report in my desk and frequently read selected parts of the income statement to my patients who smoke. I tell them “Where else can you find a customer base where no matter how much you use them, abuse them, take their money and laugh all the way to the bank, they always come back and give you more of their money.” I tell them that they’re buying a boat for my retirement. Most smokers get irritated if you ask them if they’re still smoking at every prenatal visit, so instead, I ask them if they’re still making my boat payments.

    I had one patient who was a total “control freak.” Every visit was a 45 minute confrontation where she fought to control even the most minute detail of her prenatal care. The first thing that came out of her mouth at her initial visit was “I smoke, I’m not quitting, and I’m not going to listen to any of your sanctimonious sermons about it.” I told her that suits me just fine, showed her my stock certificate and made a point of showing her copies of my quarterly reports and earning statements at each visit. After four such visits, she suddenly announced that she had decided to quit smoking. She tried to convince men that she made the decision herself, but I’m convinced that she figured out that quitting was the only way that she could regain control of the issue.

  6. Bill says:

    You guys are comparing buying products from a company, or small amounts of stock, with buying a million stocks (or $60 million worth)? Yes, it is slightly hypocritical for me to go on a rant about Microsoft and then sit on my computer and mess around with Excel all day, it is quite another to buy 1/4000th of a company valued at $259 billion on the open market.

  7. dw says:

    Thing is, all of us who have any money in mutual funds have money right now in companies we have some sort of economic, political, or social objection to. It’s hard to get away from it. Honestly, if she’s holding 1/4000th of Wal-Mart’s total stock she’s in a better position to make changes there (and suffer the economic consequences) than I am, owner of Wal-Mart stock via mutual funds.

    I’ve had this theory for years that mutual fund companies intentionally set social choice funds up to tank, as if they’re trying to prove some point. I wonder about this since my TIAA Social Choice fund is blowing away my other TIAA-CREF funds (except the big fund) and is even outperforming my S&P 500 index fund over with Vanguard. I look in TIAA Social Choice and see pretty much the same sorts of companies Vanguard has in theirs. I don’t get it.