Senior Democratic operatives have long grumbled that the vast amount of media attention paid to the mercurial candidacy of South Carolina Democrat Alvin Greene is both unjustifiable and detrimental to the party. Greene, after all, had no chance of winning even before he managed to snag the Senate nomination. And yet, the unemployed veteran -- who never did any formal campaigning -- has been the most covered candidate of any running for office this cycle.
On Friday, Greene was indicted on a felony charge of showing pornography to a South Carolina college student. And to the extent that voters are not aware of how odd both he and his campaign truly are, the impression can be left that it is a high-profile Democrat (not some mysterious eccentric) whose skeletons are being dragged out of the closet.
So it wasn't entirely surprising that in a conversation about internal frictions and problems within the Republican Party, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Tex) on Sunday brought up Greene as a counterpoint.
"We support the nominee and respect the right of the primary voters to make that selection," Cornyn said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "I suppose the Democrats in Florida with Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene running in a spirited primary down there, and in South Carolina with Al Greene, who has now been indicted on obscenity charges, who is running against [Sen.] Jim DeMint, I mean these sorts of things happen in the context of politics, but the American people will be able to render their verdict on November 2."
Cornyn has, somewhat remarkably, not discussed Greene all that often in the past. But that was before the obscenity charges were formally leveled. It wouldn't be terribly surprising if the South Carolina Democrat became even more of a fixture (both in GOP talking points and media coverage) the longer his legal troubles linger. As an illustration of the discomfort Greene causes, Cornyn's co-panelist, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) made a mad-dash shift away from the topic when asked whether a departure from the race should be in the candidate's future.
"That is a decision he will have to weigh. Again what I think John has talked about is a very, very difficult primary for both parties," said the Rhode Island Democrat. "This is a very unpredictable season."