Remember Julián Castro?

I can forgive you if you don’t and didn’t.

Castro was the former Mayor of San Antonio who was groomed to be the next rising star in the Democratic orbit. His stint as mayor, however, was not much of a base upon which to launch a national trajectory. As I noted in May 2014, Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio had less responsibility than Mayor Sarah Palin of Wasilla:

Sarah Palin, who also was Governor of Alaska at the time of her nomination for Veep, was excoriated by the mainstream media for her stint as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, with the argument being that her job only involved overseeing a few departments.  It was less than worthless experience, the meme went.

So Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, is being groomed for a potential Veep slot in 2016 through a cabinet appointment, as discussed yesterday, Mayor of San Antonio one heartbeat away from the presidency?

I assumed that the position of Mayor of San Antonio was a serious job, like being the Mayor of many other big cities.  While a spot on a presidential ticket for someone who never was more than a Mayor would be unusual, we have had Mayors like Rudy Guiliani make presidential runs.

I gave Castro the benefit of the doubt on managerial and policy experience.  I was wrong.

It turns out that being Mayor of San Antonio involves no more responsibility than being Mayor of Wasilla, and maybe less.

Byron York and Jim Geraghty had written about that non-substantive San Antonio mayoralty. But my assessment was that Castro still had a chance:

A rising Democratic star with almost no actual managerial or policy experience, who looks good on camera, gives good speeches, has a compelling “life story,” and will energize the Democratic base through identity politics.  Nah, that couldn’t work.

Oh, wait.

julian castro

So what did the Democrats do to help groom the potential future leader of the party? Obama gave Castro a job as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, so the wonder-kid could actually claim to have done something with his life other than smile for the cameras.

There were a lot of whispers and some talk about Castro being a possible VP pick for Hillary. He even studied Spanish so he could play the identity politics properly.

But it didn’t happen.

Now that Hillary has lost and Dems are in the wilderness, what is a once rising star to do?

The Dallas News asks, From potential vice president to the political wilderness, what’s next for Julián Castro?:

Just a few short months ago, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro appeared to stand a decent chance of becoming the next vice president.

A few weeks ago, the San Antonio Democrat looked poised to assume another high-ranking executive role in a Hillary Clinton administration.
Now, as Democrats pick up the pieces from their nationwide losses on Election Day, Castro is preparing to be unemployed and seems destined to spend some time in the political wilderness.

But to friends, allies and Democratic strategists, Castro remains better positioned than most in his party to rebound from the setback of the 2016 election….

In an op-ed published Tuesday alongside pieces by other up-and-coming Democrats, Castro said, “It’s no time to panic” for his party in the aftermath of the election, predicting that “Americans will be looking for an antidote” as Donald Trump’s policies come to fruition….

Unlike his brother, Secretary Castro has ruled out the possibility of challenging Sen. Ted Cruz in his 2018 re-election race. He hasn’t turned down the idea of running for governor, but many Democrats were disappointed Trump’s 9-point margin of victory in Texas wasn’t lower, which would have increased the odds of seeing more competitive statewide races.

It seems that Julián Castro has gone from the everywhere man to the nowhere man. His chances of reaching political heights in still-red Texas seem limited, there are no cushy jobs for him in federal government. Some Democrat billionaire will put him on the payroll at some foundation or activist organization somewhere, while he figures out what to do.

But he’ll be back. Politics is all he knows. There’s no other there, there.


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