WHETHER GREENE IS BLACK IS IRRELEVANT…. Democrats in South Carolina and D.C. haven’t exactly hidden their objections to Alvin Greene’s Senate “candidacy.” But for Republicans to suggest racism is somehow responsible for the concerns is pretty pathetic.

This week, Rush Limbaugh, of all people, insisted opposition to Greene is evidence of “out and out racism coming from the Democrat [sic] Party here.” Dave Weigel noted yesterday that the cheap argument is spreading.

TPM, which has become something of a one-stop shop for Greene news, links to Laura Ingraham’s interview with the hapless candidate. Here’s the interview, in which Ingraham mockingly asks Greene if he’s been contacted by a series of Democratic leaders (botching the name of Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn in the process) and implies that white liberals are opposing him because of his race.

“Didn’t you think Keith Olbermann was kind of dismissive toward you?” asks Ingraham. Later: “How is that progress for black Americans if they’re trying to get you out of the race? … The first African American president, and you’re Alvin Greene, who is an American success story!”

Look, Ingraham doesn’t mean this. She gives the game away a bit by asking Greene about stagflation, reminiscent of the 1988 question about the G-7 that George Will posed to Jesse Jackson to make the candidate look stupid. She thinks he’s stupid. But it’s too irresistible to suggest that the party of Clyburn (D-S.C.) and the president is secretly racist, so she does so.

Republicans know — everyone knows — exactly why Dems aren’t happy with these developments. Greene is an unemployed, 32-year-old novice who lives with his parents and didn’t campaign for the office he seeks. He was kicked out of the military, and is facing a pending, porn-related felony charge. He’s done some news interviews in which have gone so poorly, in one instance, a CNN host asked if Greene is “mentally sound.”

Can anyone seriously argue, with a straight face, that Democratic concerns about this guy has anything to do with race? Of course not.

So why are clowns like Limbaugh and Ingraham bothering? Perhaps because they’re embarrassed by the ugly racism that still dominates Republican Party politics — Steve King, South Carolina, Arizona — and hope that stories like Greene’s can be manipulated to turn the tables on Democrats.

No one can possibly take this seriously.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.