The New York Times reports that Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, one of the Democrats’ biggest rising hopes for the future of the State, is President Barack Obama’s pick as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The incumbent Secretary, Shaun Donovan, looks to be the next Budget director (the incumbent budget director, meanwhile, has been tapped as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services). The reshuffling is important because Castro is not term limited out of office, as Mayor of San Antonio for another three years. Additionally, he reportedly declined an offer to become Secretary of Transportation.
Castro received the obsequious adulation one would expect from liberal lemmings upon hearing this news. I, of course, wish the best for Castro and honestly believe that he would make a very good HUD Secretary, but I lament the long term implications of such a change. However, first things first, San Antonio will have to choose a new Mayor. The Rivard Report notes that the San Antonio City Council must choose themselves who Castro’s successor will be. Likely a member of the City Council her or himself, but plausibly someone else as well. This successor will serve out of the remainder of Castro’s term, about a year.
First and foremost, Castro will need to get confirmed by the Senate. This will likely be a tumultuous process, complete with lots of grandstanding from favorite son US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). However, ever since the Senate “went nuclear”, so to speak, filibusters have been impossible under Senate rules for executive offices. Accordingly, the 45 Republicans in the US Senate will be utterly unable to stop Castro’s confirmation from going forward.
That leaves us with Secretary Castro, between some date in the not-so-distant future and January 20th, 2017. The end goal is not too much different than if he had finished out his third term as Mayor and stuck around for a fourth and final one. Term limits would have given him the boot about four months later, in May of 2017. Because of that fortuitous timing, he was largely considered the presumed 2018 Democratic candidate for Governor (nobody still thinks Wendy Davis will win, right?). His recent debate with Dan Patrick over immigration served as evidence enough of such ambitions. The cabinet post changes everything in two ways, one bad and one good.
On the subject of the good news, Castro will now have appreciation from the Washington DC snobs, though who still think of Texas as some sort of red monolith with this blue dot known as Austin smack in the middle. But much more so than appeasing those aforementioned individuals, the hopeful idea is that Castro curries favor among Hillary Clinton and her inner circle so that he may be her running mate in the 2016 Presidential election. That, of course, is a long shot.
Regarding bad news, Castro is now indelibly linked with Obama. Republicans should be frothing at the mouth over this connection the two men will now share, as Obama –quite literally– will be Castro’s boss. It doesn’t matter who you are, Wendy Davis, David Alameel or the gosh darned Justice of the Peace in Panola County, if you are a Democrat, you will be styled as “Obama’s lackey” in this State by your Republican opponents. Of course, neither Davis nor Alameel ever actually worked in the Obama administration, but Castro now looks to be accepting a very high and prominent job within it.
If you naively think that Obama will be anything other than loathed by a huge majority of this State in the next 20 years, I’d like to sublet my oceanfront apartment in Austin to you (Editorial note: Wait about 200 years. Global warming will ensure that 23rd and Nueces is on the beach). Texas Democrats will only win in the short term if they distance themselves from such an unpopular President. A Cabinet post might be an okay springboard to the Vice Presidency for Castro, but he has no chance whatsoever to capture the Governor’s mansion until his hair is whiter than the skin on his Republican opponents.
Off the Kuff has more.