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It's not easy being Greene

July 06, 2010|By TIM ROWLAND

It would almost be worth moving to South Carolina, just for the privilege, nay the duty, of voting for Alvin Greene for the U.S. Senate. This man must win.

Who is Alvin Greene? Don't ask South Carolinians, they don't have a clue.

"Don't know the cat," a barber told The Washington Post. "First time I ever seen the dude was in a mug shot."

Everyone in the Palmetto state, writes The New York Times, "wants to know how Mr. Greene, an unemployed Army veteran who had been completely unknown, inexplicably defeated a heavily favored former legislator and judge to become the state's Democratic nominee for the Senate -- and the state's latest political circus act."

Near as I can tell, Greene is to politics what Pvt. Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue was to Forrest Gump.

Unemployed and living with his dad in a disheveled house with an overgrown yard in a town slightly larger than Boonsboro, Greene didn't do any discernible campaigning or advertising, yet he won 60 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.

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Maybe it was the pending obscenity charge that pushed him over the top. Greene denies the charge, sort of.

"I'm on the not-guilty side of things," he told a reporter.

Watching televised interviews with Greene is an awkward mix of pain and hilarity. Often as not, he doesn't understand the question and often as not, doesn't even seem to understand the answer. His answers to questions about how much campaigning he has done will be along the lines of, "Quite a lot. Well, not much."

According to The Washington Post, "Asked how many (campaign) fliers were printed, he says 'hundreds,' then pauses. 'Maybe thousands. Hundreds. Maybe a hundred. I don't know exactly.'"

And no one knows where Greene, with no visible means of support, came up with the $10,000 filing fee. The mystery has caused some Democratic party leaders to suspect that Greene is a Republican plant, elected by Republicans who crossed over in the South Carolina primary.

Maybe. But if so, this would be the first thing the Republican establishment has successfully organized since Teapot Dome. And Greene is so poor as a candidate that, were he a plant, most think that "the Republicans would have picked someone more believable."

I don't know. In a post-election interview he said, "The people have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina."

You think about it, and that's not a whole lot less substantive than the average politician says on election night. And it makes more sense than Howard Dean's scream.

But the more accepted theory on Greene's win at the moment is that his name came first on the ballot and Democrats -- not known for their lengthy attention spans -- lost interest before reading down to candidate No. 2.

But regardless of the reason for his primary election win, here's why I believe we need Alvin Greene in Congress: It would be a good case study to see if he would be any worse than any of the other bug-eyed lunatics that currently populate the asylum.

If Congress consisted of 535 Alvin Greenes, would we be worse off than we are now? Let's find out. We sure don't have a lot to lose.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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