Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 26, 2010

CLYBURN WON'T VOTE FOR GREENE.... Whether South Carolina Democrats like it or not, Alvin Greene is and will be the party's nominee for the United States Senate in November. He'll face incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint (R), who is now the single safest bet for re-election in the country.

The choice for Dems, then, is whether to vote for someone who, by any objective measure, is not qualified for the job. South Carolina's most powerful, most respected Democrat announced yesterday that he would not.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-.S.C.) said Wednesday he will vote for write-in candidate Mazie Ferguson for Senate instead of Alvin Greene, the state's Democratic nominee.

The AP reports Clyburn will refuse because Greene has been indicted on a felony charge.

Clyburn told reporters a vote for Greene, who was arrested in November on charges of showing pornographic images to a female student at the University of South Carolina, would be inconsiderate to the women in his family.

"Look, I have three daughters and a granddaughter. I think it would be an insult to them if I did that," he said.

There was no wiggle room -- Clyburn told reporters, "No, I'm not going to vote for Mr. Greene."

That seems like a reasonable position for a party leader to take. It's not realistic to think officials of one party are suddenly going to endorse the candidate of the rival party -- that's just not going to happen given the way party politics works. But when responsible patriots look at their candidate, and realize that he/she has no business getting elected, the sensible, conscientious thing to do is announce that this candidate will not receive their support. Clyburn no doubt realizes this will only improve the Republican's vote total, but has concluded he's doing the right thing anyway.

What's noteworthy, then, is how this isn't happening among Republican leaders, who probably realize that candidates like Angle, Paul, and Buck are nearly as ridiculous as Alvin Greene, but who nevertheless enjoy the GOP's enthusiastic support.

I'm not suggesting the NRSC has a patriotic duty to endorse Harry Reid's re-election campaign. But it is interesting that Dems distance themselves from their fringe, unqualified Senate candidates, but Republicans aren't interested in doing the same.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

well, its an easy stance for clyburn to take since greene has no chance of winning.

Posted by: kahner on August 26, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

After Greene's indictment, why can't the party replace him with someone else? I get that parties shouldn't be able to replace primary winners easily, but a felony indictment seems pretty damn disqualifying to me.

Posted by: Chris G. on August 26, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Why were the Dems so hapless as not to stand up a reasonable opponent to DeMint? If Clyburn is going to write-in Ferguson-where was this person during the primaries? This makes the Dems look weak and ineffectual as usual.

Posted by: MAX on August 26, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Really, how did this happen? Some heads should roll for allowing such a screwup.

Posted by: sh on August 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

What's really messed up is that there WAS a decent opponent to DeMint -- a perfectly respectable former state legislator who was likely to lose but would not embarrass himself and would be able to take advantage of something unforeseen like a scandal. Just nobody bothered to make sure he won the damn primary.

Posted by: Chris G. on August 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"The choice for Dems, then, is whether to vote for someone who, by any objective measure, is not qualified for the job." You won't convince me that DeMint's qualified for the job either, Steve.

Posted by: azportsider on August 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems got rolled on this one, I think. DeMint looked so safe they stopped paying attention, Max, and ended up with "someone's" spoiler on their hands.
Kudos to Rep. Clyburn for calling BS on this. Tough pill to swallow, but the seat wasn't in play anyway, & voters notice it when you actually stick to your principles, some evidence to the contrary notwithstanding....

Posted by: Kordo on August 26, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

...this isn't happening among Republican leaders, who probably realize that candidates like Angle, Paul, and Buck are nearly as ridiculous as Alvin Greene...

The difference of course is that the left is uncomfortable being caricaturized as the party of unemployed black males who spend their days showing porn to college chicks (because it's not), while the right is more than comfortable being caricaturized as bible thumping, praise Jesus, grab your guns and let's take back medicare from the government oh and outlaw the demonic color black while we're at it, hillbillies (because it is).

Posted by: SWENXOF on August 26, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

it is interesting that Dems distance themselves from their fringe, unqualified Senate candidates, but Republicans aren't interested in doing the same.

The difference is, Angle, Paul, and Buck aren't fringe Republicans - they're Republicans.

Posted by: MCD on August 26, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, a turd is better than Jum Demented.

I'd love to see that as a write-in vote.

Posted by: Trollop on August 26, 2010 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

The woman he's accused of showing porn to was an adult, right?

The act of showing a random girl porn, as if it'd help him get laid, is ridiculously classless & stupid. But a felony?

Posted by: whatever dogg on August 26, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Chuck Hagel is a notable exception to the idea that someone will not endorse another party's candidate. And remember upstate New York? What I'd like to see is at least SOME Dems running on abortion rights and, against the White House and FED on the economy (Jobs!) but guess that's no more likely than finding elected Regressives opposing the native American Fascists (that is what they were called during WWII by "the greatest generation") who are taking over the remnants of their party.

Posted by: Tomm on August 26, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

OK, now, let's play fair here. I'm certainly not going to say that every GOP candidate is qualified, and I'm not going to say that every GOP candidate will do the patriotic thing. However, you have n=1 (Clyburn) saying he won't vote for a single dem who really is unfit for office. One article later, you have this:

On a related note, Bill McCollum still isn't interested in endorsing Rick Scott in the gubernatorial race, citing questions about "his character, his integrity, his honesty" and his fraud scandal.

Normally, you do great work here, but to call out the GOP for endorsing bad candidates when you just reported on a GOP candidate doing that very thing? Yes, I hold you to a higher standard, and normally, you pass it with ease.

Posted by: Sisyphus on August 26, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

" ...candidates like Angle, Paul, and Buck are nearly as ridiculous as Alvin Greene, but who nevertheless enjoy the GOP's enthusiastic support."

As fringy as all three of them are, they're really nowhere near as ridiculous as Alvin Greene. This is apples and oranges.

Posted by: drkrick on August 26, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

I live in SC. The state Dem. party IS hapless and ineffectual.

But it also needs to be said that the local media did NOT cover this primary race. As Chris G notes above, there was a reasonable Democratic candidate who announced early. Greene got into the race late and never got any coverage. I'm pretty well informed and I did not know, until I got to the poll, that there was even a Democratic primary for the Senate seat. My local paper had NOTHING about this race. As far as I know the only state media that mentioned Greene before the primary were an alt weekly in Charleston and a local newspaper in the upstate.

I do blame the state Dems, but I also blame the media. They utterly failed to inform the public.

Posted by: kc on August 26, 2010 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with drkrick. I'm a lifelong Dem, and I consider all those GOP candidates as loons; but Greene is in a category by himself. At best, he has some type of mental disorder.

Posted by: Rathskeller on August 26, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

This Mazie Ferguson lady actually seems pretty cool!

http://www.theitem.com/news/article_13633fa0-5b9f-5430-8f08-7a7105686b1d.html

Posted by: mcc on August 26, 2010 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think an SC Senator has lost a reelection bid in about a century or so. The Dem candidate was destined to be a sacrificial lamb, and Clyburn is just doing the smart thing by making sure that none of Greene's scandal rubs off on him.

Posted by: Area Man on August 26, 2010 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever. I'd take an incompetent who had my interests at heart over a brilliant enemy. Hello?!

Posted by: Bless on August 26, 2010 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

The choice for Dems, then, is whether to vote for someone who, by any objective measure, is not qualified for the job.

Or what? What's the choice? To vote for the Republican candidate? To vote for an independent candidate? To NOT vote? Seems like you'd want some kind of OR statement in there, Steve.

Posted by: josef on August 26, 2010 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Clyburn's made his statement, it is surely time for the White House to come out in support of Greene.

Posted by: JimmyJeff on August 26, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Is it too late for a Dem to run as an independent/write in candidate?

Posted by: Ginger Yellow on August 27, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Clyburne's statement is as hasty as Vilsack's in the Sherrod case. There has been no proof of "porn" in the case of the student in S.C.

Posted by: A.R. Lieb on August 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK
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