Opinion

The South Carolina Democratic problem

Seppuku, or hara-kiri, was a form of ritual suicide practiced by the samurai in feudal Japan.  Part of the bushido honor code, seppuku was used by warriors who were accused of disloyalty.  The ceremonial disembowelment was part of an elaborate ritual and performed in front of spectators as recently as 1873, when it was officially abolished.

In South Carolina, the Democratic Party committed political hara-kiri by turning its back on Alvin Greene, the duly-elected Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate race.  In their haste to distance themselves from Mr. Greene, the party showed disloyalty and created a domino effect that helped the Tea Party win key races in several other states.

How do we know this?  Jim DeMint told us himself.

We caught up with Senator DeMint the day before the election after a taping of the Keven Cohen radio show at WVOC in Columbia.  We asked DeMint point blank why he never acknowledged Mr. Greene as an opponent.

The senator replied, “My real opponents are in Washington; they’re in the Congress and the White House.  That’s where my real fight is.  Frankly, the state Democratic Party has not recognized Alvin Greene as their candidate, and they have not supported him, so given that, I thought it was the better part of wisdom to just not to say anything about him.  I appreciate anyone who’s willing to run for public office, so in that sense, I appreciate him.”

Fair enough.  Why should Senator DeMint have paid any attention to Mr. Greene if his own party rejected him?

When House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said that Alvin’s win reeked of  “elephant dung” the day after the primary, the stage was set for Mr. Greene to be thrown under the campaign bus.  With Vic Rawl’s voting machine challenge and the stream of state Democratic leaders urging Greene to drop out of the race, Senator DeMint was free to use his $5 million war chest to support 11 Tea Party candidates in other states.  Those other candidates included eventual winners Mike Lee in Utah, Marco Rubio in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.

Of course, there was never any chance that Alvin Greene would beat Jim DeMint.  But did the Dems have to deliver him on a silver platter?

The South Carolina Democratic Party gave Senator DeMint a free pass from Day One when it could have forced him to stay in the state and campaign.  Inexplicably, members of the party used valuable resources to fight Mr. Greene’s candidacy, eliminate his name from party literature and actively prevent him from participating in campaign events.

Mr. Greene was not even invited to the party’s official election night “celebration,” which is ironic, because Alvin won as big a percentage of the vote (28%) as losing House candidates Ben Frasier (29%) and Paul Corden (29%), both of whom received the full support of the statewide Democratic machine.

In fact, Alvin Greene received more votes (358,069) than Sharron Angle (320,996), Blanche Lincoln (280,167), Senator Daniel Inouye (276,867), Senator-elect Chris Coons (173,900) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (total write-ins: 81,876), according to an analysis by Wonkette.com on the day after the election.