Consternation in Democratic ranks (including MSNBC) followed the triumph of Alvin Greene over Vic Rawl last month in the South Carolina Democratic primary for the right to face incumbent Republican Jim DeMint. Greene is an unemployed veteran using a public defender to deal with an obscenities charge. As Victorino Matus recounted, Greene not only mustered the filing fee of $10,400 but also won handily with 58 percent of the vote.
South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn is the House Majority Whip. Clyburn emphatically asserted that Greene’s victory resulted from wrongdoing of some kind and called for an investigation. “There were some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary,” Clyburn said. “I don’t know if [Greene] was a Republican plant; he was someone’s plant.”
Clyburn said the circumstances of Greene’s entry and eventual upset of the race were baffling. “What is an unemployed guy doing paying $10,000 to run for the United States Senate? That just doesn’t add up,” Clyburn said of Greene.
Clyburn went on to say that a U.S. attorney should examine the possibility that his limited campaign was improperly funded by outside political interests. “I would hope the U.S. attorney down there would look at this,” Clyburn said. “I think there’s some federal laws being violated in this race…Somebody gave him that $10,000 and he who took it should be investigated, and he who gave it should be investigated.”
I found Clyburn’s involvement in the story to be a particularly interesting sidebar. Clyburn is something of an expert in political conspiracy. He collaborated with fellow Democratic Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, John Lewis, and Andre Carson to concoct the widely disseminated story of the phantom n-word supposedly hurled at them by Obamacare protesters demonstrating on Capitol Hill on March 20. Clyburn thus has has first-hand experience with effective political conspiracy. No wonder Clyburn found the nonsensical conspiracy claim to be the key to the case of Alvin Greene.
Others offered more plausible explanations for Greene’s victory, including Matus. Matus thought that voters might have confused Alvin Greene with legendary soul singer Al Green. Matus asked: Who wouldn’t vote for the Right Reverend? Matus even suggested a campaign slogan to take advantage of the confusion: “Let’s Stay Together … with Al Green.” I think that should probably read “,,,with Al Greene.”
Last week came word that Greene has been cleared of wrongdoing by state law enforcement authorities. According to the authorities, there’s no evidence that anyone other than Greene paid his filing fee or that he lied to secure a public defender on the obscenity charge pending against him.
Erick Erickson observes that Greene’s triumph is a case of karma: Greene’s source of income for the filing fee was those unemployment benefits the Democrats keep extending.
Erickson asks: Will Jim Clyburn apologize to his Senate nominee? Erickson doesn’t answer the question, but I can answer it. The answer is obviously: No.
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