An unknown, unemployed, shy and retiring young Army veteran files for a major political office -- and without seemingly lifting a finger, unexpectedly beats a distinguished, experienced, hard-campaigning opponent. By a wide margin.
If it were a Hollywood script, he might be a hero, a common man of uncommon depth whom the masses have been eagerly waiting to support in a position of leadership.
South Carolina, alas, is on the other end of the continent from Hollywood, and its politics are never quite as inspiring as a movie.
Alvin M. Greene is that man described above, and despite being a bit camera shy and facing felony obscenity charges -- or maybe because of it -- he has become one of the more intriguing political figures of the year. To South Carolina's horror.
The reason: He somehow put together a $10,400 filing fee to run on the Democratic ticket for Republican Sen. Jim DeMint's U.S. Senate seat -- and, again, with nary a wave of his hand, trounced Democratic primary opponent Vic Rawl, a respected retired Guardsman, judge advocate, prosecutor and state legislator, winning 59 percent of the vote.
The Washington Post later wrote a head-scratcher after spending three hours with Greene. He's rambling and inarticulate, according to the article, and utterly ambiguous about his "involuntary" discharge from the military, his campaign and even how many fliers it produced.
"Asked how many fliers were printed," the Post writes, "he says 'hundreds,' then pauses. 'Maybe thousands. Hundreds. Maybe a hundred. I don't know exactly.' "
He is accused of showing pornography to a college coed and suggesting they go to her room. When he sees on the news that he hasn't yet been indicted, he asks, "Indicted? What does that mean?
"I'm on the not-guilty side of things," Greene tells the Post . "I have to be. I mean, I mean, I mean. I have no comment, I mean."
Meet the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate from South Carolina.
Maybe. He's refused party calls to withdraw, but powerful U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., has called for an investigation of his candidacy. For once, we're with Clyburn. You have to wonder if Greene's candidacy is on the "up-and-up" side of things.
South Carolina's history suggests otherwise. A Republican political operative, Rod Shealy, once recruited an unemployed black fisherman, Benjamin Hunt, to run in a congressional race in 1990, allegedly to increase white conservative voter turnout. He was ultimately fined.
We need to get to the bottom of the Greene affair. On the heels of the national smear of gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, the state's politics look positively Third-World.