Alvin Greene -- the Democrats' man of mystery in the U.S. Senate race -- surprised a lot of folks on the radio Tuesday.
He talked to Rocky D on WTMA-AM for an entire segment and, despite what his own party might tell you, Greene was actually able to string a few sentences together. In fact, during the interview he:
--Dodged questions about his clouded military record and recent legal troubles.
--Denied that evil-doers gave him the $10,400 filing fee to run.
--Spoke in generalities and repeatedly dropped plugs for his campaign website.
It was mildly surreal, but much better than his first appearance on MSNBC. At the end of the segment, a semi-impressed Rocky D said, "You're getting better at this."
That's true. Greene stonewalled on tough questions, recited talking points and engaged in brazen acts of self-promotion.
He is beginning to sound just like a professional politician.
Jobs good, crime bad
Greene needed a good interview because he's kind of in a box right now. SLED is investigating his finances.
If someone really did pay his filing fee, he has a legal problem. But if in fact he had $10,000 in savings, he might be in trouble for applying for a public defender last year after he was slapped with an obscenity charge (he is accused of showing dirty Internet pictures to a USC freshman).
State Rep. Chip Limehouse sicced SLED on Greene. Now, some Republicans probably would prefer to not risk getting a new opponent for Sen. Jim DeMint, but Limehouse is right. Aren't people really, really mad about other folks sponging off government services right now?
Despite all these troubles, new and old, Greene really has improved as a candidate -- although few people seem to have noticed.
"All I see is reporters asking you if you're goofy or something," Rocky D said, which was mildly hilarious. Yep, that's pretty much been it.
But Greene brushed off all that and talked about issues, such as the need for Interstate 73 in Myrtle Beach. And he kept mentioning his website, which lists under the "Issues" banner such headings as "Good paying jobs," "Better education" and "Make punishment fit the crimes."
These days, unfortunately, few candidates get any more detailed than that.
Last week, the state Republican Party tried to use Greene to discredit Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic nominee for governor. In a release sent out before the runoff results were certified, the GOP called their opponents the Greene-Sheheen Machine, or something like that.
Which is funny because Sheheen -- like just about every other Democrat in the state -- had never heard of Al Greene until three weeks ago.
Maybe the Republicans are making the wrong comparison here. Let's recap -- Greene:
--Is reviled by many in his own party.
--Refuses to answer allegations of illicit goings-on.
--Won the nomination despite raising substantially less money than opponents.
--Spends a lot of time on cable news shows.
It seems like Greene has a lot in common with the GOP's own nominee for governor, Nikki Haley.