Julian Castro: The Second Coming of Obama

Clinton-Castro Pablo Martinez Monsivais-AP
AP PHOTO/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Bob Price - BBTX ProfileThe possibility of a Clinton/Castro ticket in the 2016 Presidential Election seems very realistic as Julian Castro appears to be on the fast track to becoming the “Second Coming of Obama”. The former San Antonio mayor was picked by President Barack Obama last summer to become the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Previously he said a cabinet job he had “no upside politically.”

A recent article in The Daily Beast by Eleanor Clift makes the case that “Julian Castro Is in VP Training Camp.” With Hillary Clinton being considered too old by many young voters, having Castro as her running mate could be just the ticket for her likely final attempt to break the glass-ceiling and become America’s first female president. Castro likes to play coy about his political future, telling The Beast, “There is no grand plan for the future. We’ll see what happens in the years to come. I’m trying to do a great job as HUD secretary. If you do a great job, that opens up opportunities, sometimes opportunities you don’t even see in the future.”

Castro initially declined a privately made offer from President Obama in 2013 to be transportation secretary, as was previously reported by Breitbart Texas. At that time, it seemed Castro had his eyes on a future Senate or Gubernatorial run as Democrats were predicting a blue wave would sweep across Texas. As it became obvious the blue wave of Battleground Texas would be no more effective than Santa Anna at San Jacinto, Castro suddenly shifted his sites to the federal level and accepted Obama’s invitation to replace Shaun Donovan as HUD Secretary.

Eleanor Clift suggests a reason why Castro may have been more receptive to Obama’s second courtship. “His allure as a potential veep gives Castro a platform for the issues he cares about, and he is serious about governing …,” Clift wrote.

When asked about role models, Castro cited two of his predecessors at HUD. He then went to an unexpected choice of a role model, conservative Jack Kemp. The former New York Congressman and NFL quarterback was chosen by Senator Bob Dole to be his running mate in the 1996 presidential race nearly twenty years ago. Kemp was twelve years younger than Dole and his athletic image stood in sharp contrast to the older Dole whose arm was permanently injured in a war injury.

Clift says Castro is running hard to build a positive record of success as HUD Secretary to make himself more marketable as a VP choice. “That’s why for the next year or so,” Clift wrote, “HUD Secretary Castro will get more attention for himself and for his issues than is typical. The way Washington politics works, HUD is rarely headline news unless there’s a scandal, but Castro sees an opportunity, and he’s savvy enough to use it to present himself and his department in the best light. With candidate Clinton, it will be about confidence and chemistry. They don’t know each other well; they’ve met a couple of times, and they shared a panel on renewing America’s cities last month at the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress.”

She wrote that Castro will be spending the next year auditioning and that Democrats across the country, presumably including Secretary Clinton, will be watching him closely. “I haven’t met him, I don’t know him, I only know what I’ve seen,” says Paul Equale, a longtime Washington lawyer who is active in Democrat politics “and in the modern arena of politics, he’s a natural.”

“A state like Texas could be in play,” says Equale, speaking of the rising Hispanic population in Texas. “There are things that could happen in terms of turnout that are mind-boggling.” Of course, his remarks ignore the results of the last statewide election in Texas were Republicans fared very well in Hispanic communities across the Lone Star State.

Clift points out that Castro’s goal is not to have a long career in Washington, hoping eventually to be picked up like Joe Biden as a vice president. She quoted Equale’s comparison of Castro to Obama, “He’s like Obama, he’s young, the opportunity is there, and with Hillary at almost 70, age is an issue. It would be sexist if they [her opponents] didn’t raise it.”

Castro does not come without his own set of baggage. Breitbart Texas’ Merrill Hope pointed out problems related to San Antonio’s Pre-K 4 SA program in an April, 2014 article. His program was rejected by a 6-1 vote by the San Antonio School Board because of financial questions. TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson responded to questions from Breitbart Texas and said that SSAISD is under “special accreditation investigation based on primarily concerning the district’s state fiscal management practice, related governance, and student performance issues.”

Charles Johnson with Breitbart News Network also took Castro to task with an article titled, “Julian Castro: A Radical Revealed.” Johnson quoted from a Castro essay from 1994 titled “Writing for Change: A Community Reader:”

“[My mother] sees political activism as an opportunity to change people’s lives for the better. Perhaps that is because of her outspoken nature or because Chicanos in the early 1970s (and, of course, for many years before) had no other option. To make themselves heard Chicanos needed the opportunity that the political system provided. In any event, my mother’s fervor for activism affected the first years of my life, as it touches it today.

Castro wrote fondly of those early days and basked in the slogans of the day. “‘Viva La Raza!’ ‘Black and Brown United!’ ‘Accept me for who I am–Chicano.’ These and many other powerful slogans rang in my ears like war cries.” These war cries, Castro believes, advanced the interests of their political community. He sees her rabble-rousing as the cause for Latino successes, not the individual successes of those hard-working men and women who persevered despite some wrinkles in the American meritocracy.

The article goes on to make the case of Julian Castro’s penchant for radical liberalism. This is a trait that would make him a star in an Obama Administration and a potential prospect for a vice-presidential seat on a 2016 Democratic Ticket.

The Democrat Party, nationally, has a relatively small bench of players for both the presidential and vice presidential slots for 2016. Castro undoubtedly sees his opportunity and will be taking bold steps to place himself in the right spot to be tapped for the nomination. Clift concludes her piece by writing, “For those who are counting birthdays, Richard Nixon was 39 when he became Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president. On the Republican side, except for Jeb Bush, they’re not much older than Castro. If Clinton isn’t too old, then Castro isn’t too young, assuming he can live up to the hype.”

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and on Facebook.