Election 2010

Answers Are Needed In South Carolina

By now nearly everyone in the political world knows who the Democratic nominee for the Senate in South Carolina is.  His name is Alvin Greene.

But that's about all we know.  And, approaching a week since he won Tuesday's primary, there are so many questions and so few answers.

Greene, a 32-year old unemployed Army veteran, defeated former state legislator Vic Rawl with some 59 percent of the vote.  He did no campaigning, had no staff, no Web site, no advertising, no (gasp!) buttons, no nothin'.  And yet he won, and won big.  Meanwhile, the day after the primary, it was revealed that Greene was arrested back in November for allegedly showing pornography to a college student.  After his arrest, he was represented by a public defender because he couldn't afford legal counsel.

And yet he managed to pay the $10,400 to qualify for the ballot in South Carolina.  He refuses to explain how he came up with the money.

Some Democrats immediately pointed their fingers at Sen. Jim DeMint (R).  It must have been DeMint who engineered this dirty trick!

That's a convenient scapegoat.  But here's the problem.  Nobody was going to defeat DeMint this year.  He has tons of money, is widely popular, and has become the darling of national conservatives.  It's not that DeMint, fearing the challenge from nearly equally unknown Vic Rawl, decided to engage in some hanky panky to get Greene onto the ballot.  That just defies common sense.  This is not to say that some GOP operative loyal to DeMint couldn't be behind this, but why would they?

So, if not Greene, and not DeMint, then who?  Someone had to front the money.  It just doesn't make sense.

Also ... how did he win?  Some have bought into the theory that Democratic voters, at a loss to decide between Greene and Rawl, picked Greene because he was first on the ballot alphabetically.  I'm sure none of you will ever forget the  1984 Democratic Senate primary to find an opponent for Sen. Strom Thumond that year.  That was the primary when Melvin Pervis defeated the more alphabetically challenged Cecil Williams.  I don't think anyone ever knew anything about Pervis and Williams other than the fact that "P" comes before "W" in the alphabet.

Maybe it's more sinister than the mere spelling of his last name.  Some, such as former Democratic National Committee chair and South Carolinian Don Fowler, says that maybe someone tampered with the voting machines.

All this just to have Alvin Greene defeat Vic Rawl?

Theories all, with no actual proof of wrongdoing.

Other Democrats have hinted that mischievous Republicans got Democratic ballots and voted en masse for Greene.  I don't buy it, not when most Republicans were focusing on their own tough gubernatorial primary battle.  And it's not that the state's blacks came out to vote for Greene, who is African American.  Voters had no idea who Greene was, let alone the color of his skin.

This isn't an exercise in conspiracy theory paranoia.  It may be nothing.  But it certainly doesn't make sense.

It's not that South Carolina needs additional weirdness.  The shenanigans of Gov. Mark Sanford have dominated the news for nearly a year now, followed by allegations that GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Nikki Haley had "inappropriate physical relationships" with two men who happened not to be her husband.

And there's ugliness in the Palmetto State's political history as well ... such as when the presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush spread rumors about rival John Connally during the 1980 Republican primary, that he was supportive of gay rights, or that he was considering payments to black ministers to get out the vote.  Or such as what happened in 2000, when forces loyal to Texas Gov. George W. Bush passed passed out leaflets about Cindy McCain's past addiction to painkillers, or the "push poll" phone calls claiming that John McCain had an illegitimate black lovechild (when in reality the McCains had adopted a daughter from a Bangladesh orphanage).

No one ever said politics had to make sense.  But this one just doesn't pass the smell test.



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