My Morning With Alvin Greene, Candidate For TIME’s Man Of The Year

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  • Read Later just posted my story about the latest drama in South Carolina, the election of Alvin Greene as the Democratic nominee to challenge Sen. Jim DeMint. I spent the day Monday with Greene and his challenger, Vic Rawl, who will go before the state Democratic Party to protest the election results this afternoon. An excerpt:

“I am the best candidate for the United States Senate in South Carolina,” he says, hitting his talking points, as he is apt to do. “And I am also the best person to be TIME magazine’s Man of the Year.” He is speaking now, between trips to the kitchen, in the living room, while his 81-year-old father, James, Sr., barefoot under a flannel blanket, dozes on the couch. Suddenly, the television flashes Greene’s face, as a Fox News announcer teases an upcoming segment asking about the newbie’s “mental state.” This gets to Greene, who is tired of being treated by the press like a carnival act. “What about everyone else’s mental state?” he asks, before breaking into a chuckle. “It seems like things don’t apply to me. I’m the nominee, and 60 percent isn’t 60 percent anymore.” . . .

There is way in which Greene is living out both a nightmare, and a lifelong dream, at the same time. He claims to have always been a political junkie, he says, having graduated the University of South Carolina with a degree in political science, voted for Obama twice by absentee ballot and even donating to the president’s campaign. “I can really think back to Jesse Jackson’s 1988 run for president,” he says, mentioning the year his mother died when he was just 10 years old. “I made a campaign sign out of construction paper. It was a blue sheet of construction paper, and I just cut out red and white letters.”

Read the entire story here.

UPDATE: Commenter Stuart Zechman takes me to task below for not spending more time in the article discussing Greene’s positions on the issues. I actually do have quite a bit of this still in my notebook. Here is some of what Greene said during our interview about the issues:

On Creating More Jobs: “We can go back to those projects of widening roads in South Carolina, especially evacuation roots, because we are always going to have hurricanes and therefore there will always be evacuations. . . That will attract jobs in the short term and long term.”

On Energy Policy: “We need to look at alternative sources of energy. Everything from solar, wind to methane, alternative sources of energy to lower the costs of energy gas, fuel, gasoline.” He said he supported off shore oil drilling, but he also supported the temporary moratorium on new drilling during the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

On President Obama: “There are very few things that I disagree with.”

On Education: “Better education for our children. More parental involvement. A stronger PTSA. [Parent Teacher Student Association]. Better facilities. Renovating or remodeling dilapidated schools, and/or building new ones where needed. We want to focus on under-performing students.”

On Judicial Reform: “It’s about justice in the judicial system. That means making sure that the punishment fits the crime. . . . Non-violent offenders are spending too much time incarcerated for first-time offenses. . . . They should go in PTI programs, pre-trial intervention programs. . . . You just get the fairness there the inmate budget wouldn’t be so big.”

On Health Care Reform: “My opponent and the Republicans they are reversing forward progress in South Carolina and this country. An example is their stance on health care reform. We spent about a year of controversial debate on that.”