Over on NRO’s homepage, a long look at the record of the Democrats’ 2012 Convention Keynote speaker, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro:
Castro’s dramatic debut on the national stage seems almost preordained: In May 2010, The New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy profile portraying Castro as “The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician,” with explicit comparisons to President Obama and predictions that he will be the first Hispanic president of the United States. NPR notes he’s been called “the great Latino hope.” CNN’s Soledad O’Brien featured Castro in a documentary about Latinos in America. He’s given a TED talk on “The Power of Education: How It Changed My World.”
Castro is indeed a lot like the Barack Obama of 2004: a subject of endless glowing media profiles, touted as the voice of an entire ethnic group, charisma by the bucketful . . . and a short record of quite modest achievements. The vast majority of the discussion about Castro focuses on his enormous potential and what is to come, not on his accomplishments and what he has done.
That is not an accident. Castro was elected by a populace facing serious problems, and in his time in office, the city has made very little measurable progress in addressing those problems.
With little progress on serious city problems in crime and education, and a regional economy fueled by factors well beyond the reach of Castro’s policies, one can argue that after three years on the job, he’s not a bad mayor… just not a particularly effective problem-solver. Or at least not yet; perhaps it is unrealistic to expect dramatic results after three years on the job (although some mayors, like Rudy Giuliani in New York City, do generate dramatic results within a few years). But if Castro is a charismatic young city leader with a lot of potential but few concrete results… should he really be discussed as a potential president? Shouldn’t a political figure have to demonstrate some real changes for the better in his community before he gets all this hype?