Friday, June 18, 2010

At Home with South Carolina's Alvin Greene


Alvin Greene may be the only Democratic nominee in U.S. Senate election history to walk to his father's kitchen every time his telephone rings. And it rings every five minutes or so — supporters he'll never meet, television and radio bookers hoping to juice ratings and reporters trying to figure out what Greene means for South Carolina and America's troubled democracy. "I don't have caller ID," Greene tells a caller. He also doesn't own a cell phone or a computer.
As recently as Memorial Day, Alvin Greene was an unemployed 32-year-old, 13-year military veteran who had been involuntarily discharged from both the Army and the Air Force and was facing an obscenity charge for allegedly showing a teenage stranger online pornography in a college campus computer lab (Greene has denied comment, but he is fighting the charge). What he became after winning 59% of the vote in the June 8 Democratic primary is now in dispute. To Representative Jim Clyburn, the state's most powerful Democrat, Greene is a pod person of unknown origin — "someone's plant." To his older brother James Jr., Greene is nothing more than a loner with a dream of making good — "like someone coming up saying, 'I'm going to fly to the moon.' " To Vic Rawl, his well-funded opponent, Greene is the possible beneficiary of a historic voter-machine malfunction or, worse, a stolen

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