Introducing Alvin Greene, “Enigmatic Jobless Man,” Could-Be Senator From South Carolina


Alvin M. Greene hopes to serve in the United States Senate. He is on his way, having won the Democratic primary, despite spending almost no money campaigning. “I’m a true American,” he tells the New York Times this weekend. By the paper’s own estimation, the interview provides “a glimpse into the psyche of an enigmatic man who was catapulted from obscurity onto the national stage.” That seems more measured than those who have questioned Greene’s mental stability, some wondering if he was just “retarded.” Turns out, the Times sort of implies that, too.

The Times profile provides a mood, setting Greene’s unlikely ascent in an abstract context, but with few actual answers, or stating strong opinions either way about the candidate’s validity. For instance:

The central mystery of how he captured more than 100,000 votes, or 59 percent, against a candidate who, unlike Mr. Greene, actually campaigned remains unsolved.

Greene is such a mystery that a Google image search for his name looks this like:

He doesn’t appear until the third row and yet, could possibly have a hand in running our country in a few short months.

Democrats believe Greene may be an unwitting Republican operative. This view, while rejected by state Dems asked to throw out the primary results, seems to be vaguely corroborated by the paper, which works a dubious tone into the presentation of Greene, subtly. Democrats will be “stuck” with Greene as their candidate, according to the article.

Greene has a very basic website, which the Times kindly links to. It seems to have no typos on the front page. Still, Greene — despite being a profile subject of an ostensibly evenhanded piece — does not seem to be getting a fair shake, as his claim of a “growing” staff is met with derision:

But Mr. Greene, who is unemployed and has no computer, would not identify anyone he has hired or say whether he or someone else created the Web site.

Even in a serious context, Greene is a joke. The article ends on a particularly chiding note:

Mr. Greene said that since his victory, he has received calls from all over the world, including from a publishing agent in New York and a screenwriter in California. If a movie is made, he said, he wants to be portrayed by Denzel Washington.

Meanwhile, over at The Root, the writer Cord Jefferson has a Q&A with Greene, published over a month ago. (The site is all over the Greene story.) And while the details of their talk, including Greene’s political visions, are occasionally bizarre, the portrayal works to humanize Greene, not to solely hold him up as a novelty.

Enigmatic Jobless Man Prepares Senate Campaign [New York Times]