In Nov. 2009, Alvin Greene was arrested after showing porn to an 18-year-old University of South Carolina student. But he could celebrate the anniversary of that arrest in a most peculiar way — in Nov. 2010, Alvin Greene could be elected South Carolina’s next U.S. Senator.
Mind you, this is not the smooth-voiced Al Greene who sang the hit “Let’s Stay Together.” No, this is the Alvin Greene of “Let’s go to your room” uttered to a freaked out teen in a college computer lab. This is the Alvin Greene who is receiving unemployment, who apparently did not campaign at all, who needed a public defender to fight the obscenity charge.
Of course, we’ve had some truly bizarre stories out of the Senate in recent years. Remember the airport bathroom “foot tapping?” But if Greene is somehow elected, we will have a new peak in political absurdity.
Greene’s interviews, which you can find online on Youtube, are torturously awkward. They are inadvertently comedic, entertaining and quite sad all at once. I can’t help feel sorry for the man, who rarely ventures beyond one-word answers. Do you believe you are qualified to serve as a U.S. Senator? “Yes.” Do you have command of the issues? “Yes.” Are you the most qualified person for this seat? “Yes.” Greene has even seemed stumped on the question of who he’s running against, unable to quickly respond with Jim DeMint’s name in one interview. Asked in a phone interview how he came up with the $10,440 for the qualifying fee for the Senate seat, Greene had perhaps the most humorous response to a political question I’ve ever heard, using call waiting to avoid the answer.
“… I think that um, I mean, I think that um, yeah, that’s, uh, I have someone beeping on the other line,” he said.
So how did this guy win a statewide primary without ever campaigning? How could this unemployed man, who lives in his father’s basement and won’t reveal why he was discharged by the military, potentially become one of the most powerful men in America?
That’s been the source of considerable speculation. But there haven’t been any firm answers. There’s the theory that he was put up by Republicans, who wanted a weak Democratic candidate for DeMint. Those pushing this theory cite a prior, proven case of a Republican plant in a South Carolina election, when political consultant Rod Shealy recruited an unemployed black fisherman to run in a Republican congressional primary in order to boost white turnout for a different election on the same ballot.
The South Carolina primaries are open, meaning Republicans can vote on the Democratic ticket. But it’s hard to see the motivation for this conspiracy outside of a practical joke, since DeMint is not expected to have trouble keeping his seat.
On the flip side, there’s the belief among many that Greene won the primary because Greene is a common last name among blacks. There’s also the idea that Greene won simply because his name was first on the ballot and voters just picked the first name they saw.
I don’t really buy either of those theories. For one, I’ve known plenty of white “Greenes.” I don’t think Greene would receive over 100,000 votes because that many people suspected that “Greene” meant he was black and that the name “Vic Rawl” obviously belonged to a white guy.
Also, people picking the first name on the ballot would make sense in some elections, say for county surveyor, or for some other lesser race, but nearly 60 percent of primary voters clicking Greene for U.S. Senate because G comes before H? I can’t see that. As Jon Stewart pointed out, such an alphabetical preference would make “Aaron Aardvark” a great nominee for governor in South Carolina.
The strange vote totals in certain counties suggest something fishy. For instance, in Lancaster County, Greene received 81 absentee ballots compared to 424 for Rawl, according to the certified results. On Election Day, Rawl won the county with 1,026 votes to Greene’s 944. So, Rawl won absentee ballots by 83-17 percent, but lost on election day 52-48 percent. That’s pretty weird.
Well, here’s my own stab at a conspiracy theory: I think the computer voting systems we’ve adopted create a lot of skepticism among people who want to see a paper trail to back up the computer results. I think we’re going to see those systems exploited at times. And it seems plausible to me that someone with the know-how to exploit the system would front the money for a terrible candidate to win an election fraudulently when it won’t really prove significant in the end — DeMint would probably win the general election, regardless of what happened in the Democratic primaries. This is the only real motivation I can come up with for such an obvious sham.
Of course, I’m probably way off base. But who knows?
Well, Alvin Greene does.
But he won’t tell us. No, somebody’s beeping on his other line.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.
Lets see : Frank / Dodd are smart such as in Fannie Mae for example or illegal immigration. They and their Washington buddies have caused this present economic issue in my view. Maybe this Greene guy if bill 2000+ pages will because of his vote being needed result in shorter / clearer language bills. DeMint is beatable and people in SC are so fed up and I would think fall election will be closer than people expect. ALSO : why talk to the press who are not your friends. This guy may have more people helping him than you believe. My view.
I think we should be happy that South Carolina gives the rest of us a state that we can feel like is more politically corrupt than our on.
Thank you S.C.
Why talk to press
07/06/10 at 08:17 AM
Officials say Greene entered the South Carolina Air National Guard in 1995 when he was 17. He briefly served in Texas in 1996, then served the next years as an intelligence specialist. He was honorably discharged in 2002 and was free to enlist in another military branch.