Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Alvin Greene Is America’s Much Needed Political Rocky, Tainted Though he May Be

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Alvin Greene is America’s much needed political Rocky, tainted though he may be. The line American school kids hear the moment they set foot in a classroom is that one day you can be president. Most school kids long before they stop becoming school kids know it’s just that a line, they can’t and won’t be president. Now enter Alvin Greene. Here’s a guy with no job, no degree, no name recognition, no campaign organization, no website, and for all practical purposes no party (he never attended a Democratic Party function). And to top it off he’s facing felony obscenity charges. Yet Greene gets 100,000 South Carolina voters to punch his name on the Democratic senatorial ballot.

The deep suspicion is that Greene is a GOP cropper; that is that he’s a bought and paid for plant by the party to make fools of the Democrats and insure a cakewalk victory for GOP Senate incumbent Jim DeMint. Possible, it’s happened before, the GOP has been accused of secretly bankrolling plants, shills, and croppers, and given the notorious cartoon antics of South Carolina politics, this can’t be totally discounted. Greene had to plop down $10, 400 to get his name on the ballot. That’s a lot for a working stiff to pay out of pocket, let alone for someone unemployed.
But while it’s plausible to be suspicious, for a GOP dirty trickster to prop up Greene as a strawman would be too blatant. They’d be more likely to put money behind someone with some political involvement and name recognition. Money inevitably leaves a paper trail, and if the trail led back to a GOP clandestine operative, the scandal could blow the party out the water. If Democratic voters suspected hanky panky with Greene they could have easily ignored him and voted for his chief rival, Vic Rawl, a judge, who served on several state commissions, and was a four term state legislator. He was the Democratic Party favorite. But voters didn’t. They overwhelmingly picked Greene.

Republicans outnumber Democrats three to one in the state, and no Democratic presidential candidate has won South Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The chance of DeMint being toppled by a Democratic, especially a Democrat such as Rawl who’s just as much a party fixture, even with the fierce anti-incumbent mood was unlikely.
Greene makes even more sense with even a cursory look at the Gallup poll released a week before the June 8 primaries. It found that sixty percent of voters, and nearly 70 percent of self-described independents, said they would rather vote for a candidate who has never before served in Congress. Greene then is the perfect field of dreams for countless numbers of voters. He’s the anti-candidate candidate who got on the ballot with nothing more than moxey, conviction and a vague desire to make change. Then without spending a king’s ransom on the race, without the backing of an armada of telecoms companies, banks, lawyers, unions, tobacco companies and other special interests greasing their campaign wheels, and without cutting endless back room deals can actually win. The first and often the only question anyone who wants to run for office is asked is not what are your ideas and program but how much money can and did you raise? Greene is the candidate who can honestly answer not a penny. The money first and last question drives the polluted stream of American politics.

The Centre of Responsive Politics, a Washington think tank which tracks election spending, estimates that spending in the 2010 Congressional elections will total almost 4 billion. The five highest-spending Senate races were: Connecticut, $21 million. California $18 million; Nevada, where the Democratic Majority leader Harry Reid spent $17 million, and Arizona, where Republican John McCain spent $17 million. Senatorial candidates in Arkansas spent $12 million. California GOP senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina spent nearly $6 million out of her own pocket to bag the party nomination. That’s just for this election. The Centre for Public Integrity found that the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, has spent nearly $50 million over the past quarter century on campaigning. One political financial watchdog group flatly branded this obscene spending legalized corruption.

The mind boggling runaway cost of elections has turned American politics into a rich person’s sport, demolished any semblance of a political level playing field, and mocks the notion that voters have a Democratic choice. The Supreme Court’s decision to rip away virtually all checks on corporate and labor union spending and its fresh assault on public financing (Arizona decision) will make political campaigning even more the playground of the super-rich.

Greene didn’t simply beat these odds. He rewrote them. He is one antidote for those fed up with the stench of money and deal making in politics. Voters should take careful note of what Greene did in South Caroline with a felony rap hanging over him, with no name, no money, and seemingly not a prayer of a chance to win, and then does. That’s what a Rocky can do, tainted though he may be.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His new book is How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press).
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Martha said...

Democrats should take nothing for granted - especially when it comes to Southern voters.

Apparently, they didn't have a clue since they probably never bothered to ask the locals how they were going to vote, just assumed that the "judge" had it in the bag.

Your remarks of caution , are well taken.

Martha said...

Alvin Greene was a 13 year veteran in the Army, but now unemployed.

His campaign slogan is "Let's get South Carolina back to work."Source:

The Democrats want to dump him, but can they?

South Carolina Unemployment Rate Mar 2010

Anonymous said...

"Rocky" seems to be a very fitting name for Mr. Alvin Greene and I will go a step further to say that he stands on the shoulders of giants before him.

Against all odds, he has brought the attention of US unemployment front and center to the 2010 elections.

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Unemployed Veterans Everywhere said...

Brother Can You Spare A Dime?

Anonymous said...

"The Big Picture" talks with U.S. Senate Democratic candidate, Alvin Greene

We Are the World - Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson

Links for the SCDP to consider:

Let's Stay Together

Stand By Your Man

Anonymous said...

Get Out To Vote Message SC

The University of South Carolina confirms that Greene graduated in 2000 with a degree in political science.

The Pentagon confirms that he served in the Army, and in the Army and Air Force national guards. Although Greene has not boasted of winning awards, the Pentagon says he was granted the Air Force Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal,
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Korean Defense Service Medal.
WOW, "Against all odds"!

Anonymous said...

No Tampering Found in Green's Win

This is the finding of the PPP, Public Policy Polling , and reported in Newsweek.
How a Greene Candidate Can Win
Experts say the odds sometimes favor political unknowns.

The Director of PPP further explains below in an audio link

Polling house says randomness, not tampering prevailed in Greene's win

Martha said...

Alex You're Cleared For Takeoff...
South Carolina election officials certify veteran's surprising win

'He's Done Nothing Wrong' Election Commission on Greene

Puzzle Roils South Carolina Contest

Is the DEM Senate Candidate in South CArolina a GOP Plant?

Who Is Alvin Greene? South Carolina Paper Fills in Some Blanks

The Manning-churian Candidate: Unknown Alvin Greene Wins Senate Primary

Alvin Greene Update: Vic Rawl looking for Election Day irregularities

Barack Obama in Manning, SC (Full Video)

Martha said...

Correction to last post:
Alvin instead of Alex


Anonymous said...

Will The Democratic Party Support Mr. Alvin Greene?

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

Anonymous said...

Alvin Greene - Is It Because He Is Black?

James said...

Alvin Greene is a very sad indication of how disenfranchised the people of South Carolina must be feeling. They would rather vote for a candidate with a clearly questionable background but who is black, than apply any critical thinking as to whether or not this man is qualified to represent them in the U.S. Senate. They use voting machines that are proven to be suspect. Mr. Greene is less than forth coming as to how he qualified to be on the ballot or present any details about his campaign. It's unfortunate and embarrassing that there are community "leaders" who would rather make this about race and not about whether or not this is the most qualified person to represent them. Alvin Greene will not win in the November general election and his supporters will blame race. The irony is their choice to nominate him is based on their own racial biases rather than qualifications. They deserve the inevitable outcome that will come from this choice

Martha said...

It would not have been an issue, James, if Green(e) had been "white".

Why? Because then "the event" would not have been newsworthy.

Some have called "this event"
simply an

However, one thing we can all agree on is: " there have been several anomalies throughout history"
~ things that could not be explained or solved by the so called "best minds" of the time
~ things that have taken us by complete surprise.

At this "intersection of history - in the making", The SC Democratic Party and The Mainstream Media (with some exceptions)" have only two choices:
1) Switch the light from "yellow" to "red" or
2) Allow it just go "green(e)" automatically.

Anyway, just who is the "referrer" in this fight? Most qualified officials have already voted Greene valid to run with the qualified remainder having bowed out, unfortunately leaving behind newly minted anointed academias to practice the act performed usually by seasoned statisticians of well-known and tested through time firms.

If these "Johnny-come-latelys" are successful and they convince the majority then, I have a job down in the Gulf of Mexico for them to tackle.

So far though, Mr Greene appears to be ahead - i.e. if you tally up the rounds as wins, loses, or ties.

If as in a game of poker, you have seen the hands, then and only then can you predict a loser. But only if you know how each hand can be played.
In the end there is but one winner, but there may be many losers.

I am not a poker player - just had co-workers and managers who were good poker players.

Latest round :

Alvin Greene's SC Primary Win: Elections Board Declines to Investigate‎ ~Politics Daily

Is this then a circus,
a carnival or
just another rabbit hole with a race to get out before November?

If this is just another rabbit hole, then which way is out?
Mr Greene has already been shown his only way out,
but no one has come up yet with the "best"
way out for the SC Democratic Party.

Anonymous said...

Green light for Alvin Greene's senate ~ run

James said...

According to what I've read about Southern voting habits Martha, if Greene were white, he wouldn't have been elected because blacks wouldn't have voted for him. The losers are the voters of South Carolina who aren't allowed to question their voting system. The losers are those who think they are voting for one thing and will wind up with something completely different from what they're expecting. The losers are those who despite the evidence, don't know their voting system is suspect and continue to think accepting the outcomes is their only choice. Or to use your analogy Martha, they're playing poker with a stacked deck and they they either don't know it or think it's the only way to play. It's not surprising those in charge don't want to investigate the outcome. The voters of the state may actually have proof of the lack of integrity in their system, and then those who are in charge may actually be out of a job. The sad part is South Carolina is not the only state with the problem, and the state's Democratic is being made to look like a bunch of fools.

Martha said...

Cultural Isolation? If so by whom?

It was difficult for white South Africans to understand how black
South Africans could support them in their quest for the World Cup.

For your theory to be true,James, then blacks wouldn't have bothered to vote at all, since all candidates would have been white - with Green(e) not being black but white.

Your theory doesn't take much to be disproved;
The black vote has placed many in their positions of power for all races throughout history.

The winners were Mr Greene, America and South Carolina( not just the voters).

The SC Democratic Party didn't lose - they folded.

The people of SC are the biggest winners since they kept their sanity under all this stress.

The biggest losers were those in the media, since we saw their cards and how each played his/her hand.

The clock cannot be turned back for the voting process be preformed again.

Just as you can't massage statistics to make things look just the way you wish things to be, you can't restore the past.

The world was watching, to see just how we practiced what we have been preaching so democracy won out all around the world,too.

It is dangerous to judge ability by short-term results.~"The Drunkard's Walk,How Randsomness Rules Our Lives",Leonard Mlodinow.

In the beginning, IBM had as it's motto a very simple word: "Think".

Reporters, next time: Think before you ask the questions.

Anonymous said...

S.C. Democrats refuse to oust Alvin Greene as Senate nominee

James said...

And for your theory to be true one would have to assume that most of the blacks all voted for Greene just because he's black, which I find hard to believe and sad. I believe there are blacks who can tell the difference between an inexperienced black candidate and a white candidate with a record and experience and will vote for the one with experience.

You say:""The black vote has placed many in their positions of power for all races throughout history."

This is true only in majority black areas otherwise
the 1984 and 1988 Presidential run of Jesse Jackson;
The 1972 Presidential run of Shirley Chisholm whose base of support was ethnically diverse and included the National Organization for Women, and the 2000 Presidential election all disproves your statement.

You're debating someone who knows the voting process is suspect, and after 2000 there are plenty of people in the rest of the world who think the same way. Rather than arguing on behalf of someone who to me is clearly unqualified, not very forthcoming with answers to how he campaigned, or his platform and perhaps incompetent, you would do better attempting to convince me that the voting process isn't corrupted and that the voting machines legitimately and accurately count every vote. It can't be done because there is no paper trail. South Carolina has an open primary where people can vote outside their declared party. There's nothing to prevent Republicans from voting for Alvin Greene to knock out the more viable candidate to run against DeMint. We are talking about a seat in the U.S. Senate. I would hope the people of South Carolina would want someone who demonstrates more intellectual rigor and competence than what I've seen from Mr. Greene. I agree with you Martha: "It is dangerous to judge ability by short-term results".

Martha said...

James, the basis of my argument was and remains this:
It would not have been an issue, if Green(e) had been "white".
Because then "the event" would not have been newsworthy

Voter statistics show that "blacks" did not vote along racial lines in the election in S.C. election and neither did whites.

Mr Greene, not only is a veteran with many medals, he also apparently is a disable vet according to a recent news article.
Which could explain his early military discharge and also his body language as he walked around his parent's home.

You have only quoted presidential races - aren't there other races in our voting process?

I gave the S.A example to show how fairness occurs sometimes, even when many expected the opposite.

Sometimes it only takes a few votes for a shift to occur and a particular population doesn't have to be in the majority.

Anonymous said...

Mr Greene has filled in some of the blanks for us:
Questions Persist About Alvin Greene's Mysterious Military Discharges‎

James said...

I think you’re mistaken Martha. Any one, black, white or any other race who appears to have absolutely no political experience, comes out of no where and wins a primary election with minimum campaigning against a candidate with as much experience as Vic Rawl, a judge, who served on several state commissions, and was a four term state legislator, is going to attract attention and be newsworthy.

Your statement “Voter statistics show that "blacks" did not vote along racial lines in the election in S.C. election and neither did whites” proves my point that I believe there are blacks who can tell the difference between an inexperienced black candidate and a white candidate with a record and experience and will vote for the one with experience.

Mr. Greene’s military experience may be laudable, but it does not qualify him to be a United States Senator.

My point in quoting presidential races is to demonstrate the fact that it requires a broad and diverse voter population to win a state or national election. Simply having the majority vote of one particular race or gender will not win an election.

Black South Africans support their soccer team as a matter of national pride. There are blacks that play on the team. I don’t think it has anything to do with supporting White South Africans.

Martha said...

One Team One Nation
The Rugby Experiment - South Africa 1995

It was mistake.