Archive for July, 2010

S.C. Free Rag Nails It

July 3rd, 2010

We had heard and seen and read about Alvin Greene already, from the Globe to the Times to Huff to Daily Show. The best just arrived today though.

Our friend who moved back to South Carolina, Savannah (a.k.a. Marion Etheredge), mailed us the Columbia Free Times with the cover story. There’s no fabulous breakthrough, but it’s the very best piece on the funky Dem primary win of an unemployed unknown for U.S. Senate ever.

Praise to writer Corey Hutchins. The only thing missing is a big pig — more on that in a moment.

For background, click the Daily Show clip below on the subject. Jon Stewart aptly calls S.C., America’s whoopie cushion. He has the basics down. Greene put down ten large to be in the primary, didn’t campaign and won the primary with 60% of the vote. He surely will lose resoundingly to incumbent Republican Jim DeMint in November, but meanwhile…

Unlike the WTF? view of national reporters, the local guy does what Sandlappers do well. He asked, “Who are your people?,” and dealt with that. Greene’s father, James Greene Sr., has long been a populist activist. So despite the pretty sad conspiracy wails of the Dems when their favored candidate, ex-legislator Vic Rawl, took his drubbing, this may have been the post-Reconstruction fluke it appears. That is, a non-politically connected black man gets the party nod for U.S. Senate. Maybe that just happens every 140 years or so.

To those pigs though, I know about the importance of BBQs in elections. I lived in S.C. for five years, edited the black weekly there for a year, and married a native (although in fairness, we met where I lived in Greenwich Village when she was visiting). In a state with carefully choreographed legislative votes and election prep, pigs are big.

I remember many times being in the state house (with its external metal stars where every piece of Yankee shrapnel hit the building in Sherman’s rude visit). Typically a couple of buses of school students were on field trips as part of their civics or history education. They had anticipated the fervent debates and grand oratory on a bill under consideration.

Invariably, the bill would get announced and there’d be a clear, often unanimous, vote up or down — nary at metaphor, much less a passionate speech.

The pig had happened. That is, the party leaders and often the whole legislature would be at a BBQ or Christmas party. They’d do their lying, swapping and dealing over chunks of pig. By the time they left the function, they really had nothing else to discuss on the matters at hand.

Amusingly enough in Greene’s case, he has never been part of the power structure. He almost certainly never got an invite to a pig roast…and almost surely never will be in the BBQ elite.

In S.C., there is pretty my much a mirror image of Massachusetts’ party structure. Here, Dems rule. There, Dems converted to that other party during the sweeping civil-rights revolution. The S.C. Dems feed off the leavings as MA Republicans do.

In that sense, it’s irrelevant whether Greene came up with that $10,400 filing on his own. The national media has the dummy’s fixation that this is the issue.

More to the point, we need to consider that other fixation, that is of an innate wisdom of the larger electorate. Even locals up here like to squawk about voters being smart. As the Greene victory suggests, that is a fantasy that ignores short, mid-term and deep history.

We voters goof up all the time. We don’t pay attention. We don’t understand the issues. We don’t know the differences among candidates’ positions. We goof up.

Sometimes, we do it inanely, on purpose and reflexively. Think of the James Strom Thurmond, former governor, elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954 and 1956 and serving until 2003. That was 59 years from S.C. into D.C. for that destructive schmuck. If possible, they might have returned his corpse to the office.

As a nation, we have done as badly shorter term for President too many times as well. Wait until after the November elections. We can look at whom we elect. Then we can talk about how smart the electorate is.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Alvin Greene Wins South Carolina Primary

Tags: , , , , , , ,