The nearest big retailers that were actually in the state of Rhode Island was in Warwick. Pretty far down I-95 from where I was living.
I bring this all up because the issue is getting a lot of play right now in the blogosphere. The Corner has a great entry. I really loved this from Democratic Leadership's Coucil Ed Kilgore:
In the southern small-town, rural and exurban communities I know best, and among the low-to-moderate income "working family" voters Democrats most need to re-attract, Wal-Mart is considered pretty damn near sacrosanct. And if Democrats decide to tell these voters they can't be good progressives and shop at Wal-Mart, we will lose these people for a long, long time.
Maybe it's different in...other parts of the country, but probably not too widely. And I defy you to find a credible political strategist in states with a big Wal-Mart presence who will tell you otherwise.
If you think we've been damaged as a party by culturally conservative working-class perceptions of us as people who want to take their guns away, you ain't seen nothing yet if we become perceived as the party that wants to take Wal-Mart away. Indeed, it's the one thing we could do, other than espousing actual racism, that might finally give Republicans a breakthrough among minority voters, who heavily shop at Wal-Mart where the option's available.
Heh, Heh, Heh....Go ahead and keep on demonizing Wal-Mart: It's great sport to watch.
Update: Kilgore direct link added. (Thanks to RightRI)