Sunday, April 24, 2016


A New York Times story about possible Hillary Clinton running mates downplays the most likely choice, based on everything I've read -- he isn't named until paragraph 16 -- but it does offer a reason for his selection that may reflect what they're thinking in Clinton Land, even though it seems wrong:
Several Democratic allies say that during the search, the campaign will have to reckon with Mrs. Clinton’s high unfavorability numbers, which may create pressure to choose an inspiring figure like Julián Castro, the federal housing secretary, a rising star in the party.
I'm focusing less on the notion that Clinton will pick Castro because her unfavorables are high, and more on the idea that Castro is "an inspiring figure." Is he? If so, inspiring to whom? Obviously, it would be significant if Clinton picks a Hispanic running mate -- but I'm worried that the Clinton campaign, and political insiders generally, think Castro is inspiring because he seems like someone who should be inspiring. My guess is that the vast majority of Americans, and even Hispanic Americans, haven't felt inspired by his story, simply because he appears to be a run-of-the-mill ambitious young pol who happens to be Hispanic, and he has a very low-profile job by D.C. standards, combined with adequate but not -- to make the obvious comparison -- Obama-level political skills.

Castro doesn't have a rags-to-riches story -- his father was a schoolteacher, and both parents were political activists -- and his family has been in America for nearly a century, since his grandmother came here from Mexico as an infant in 1920. That may be a very relatable story for Hispanic voters, but I don't know if it's inspiring. It's got less melodrama than Marco Rubio's story (immigrant parents who worked in menial service jobs) or even Ted Cruz's (not just immigration but parental substance abuse and paternal abandonment, all made right, we're told, through the intervention of Christ). And Rubio struggled in this campaign, while Cruz hasn't been able to close the sale.

Castro might be a fine running mate, and he'd give Democrats a ticket suitable for America in 2016. But this has been a bad year for candidates -- starting with Hillary Clinton -- who hoped they'd get a boost just from not being white males. (See, for instance, Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal.) So if it's Castro, I hope he has strengths we haven't seen yet.


Victor said...

Well, ok then...

How about his brother, Joaquin?

Or, their uncle, Fidel - just kidding! ;-)

PDiddie said...

He's inspiring enough for Latinxs (and no, his 'strengths' are all out there: pragmatic, cautious, calculating, moderate to conservative).

I don't consider these strengths personally but YMMV.

AllieG said...

Don't forget age. Odds are good Clinton will factor in having a younger running mate. But she'll also factor in how long and loud the Sanders faction will bitch about her selection, and Castro is on the really long and loud side.

Feud Turgidson said...

I want a white male. I AM a white male. But I want a FUNNY white male. I, sadly, am not a funny white male. The funnienst white males in politics tend to be Republican or unintentionally funny or both (overwhelmingly both). But the funniest of them ass knows his comedy and is very smart as well as funny. That he is a Jew I see as a bonus. I myself am not Jewsish, but that's part of why I see this as a plus. He is also younger than HRC, but not in any way that holds potential for being embarrassing. Also, if, knock on Woden, something were to happen to President HRC, this guy would be ready to serve. And you can call him Al.

mlbxxxxxx said...

I'm feeling a little meh about Castro. Maybe Perez? He didn't set the screen on fire with his interview on Maher a couple of weeks ago, imo, but he seems like a solid guy. I think HRC needs somebody with a little more pizazz, though. I just hope she doesn't raid the Senate for her VP and risk giving up a seat to the GOP.

Marc McKenzie said...

"But this has been a bad year for candidates -- starting with Hillary Clinton -- who hoped they'd get a boost just from not being white males. (See, for instance, Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal.)"

Well, let's take a close look at that--you mention Jindal and Fiorina, and they are both Republicans. And Hillary has been winning the delegate count and the popular vote count, beating out all the white male GOP candidates who are still left and also Bernie Sanders.

So how is this a "bad year" for Hillary? Or is it because, well, she's Hillary?

Just asking....

Steve M. said...

So how is this a "bad year" for Hillary?

She's had to fight a lot harder to win the nomination than anyone expected.

Rand Careaga said...

A year ago I was expecting it to be Clinton vs. Bush in 2016. I'd say that Jeb! had the tougher fight this year.

As to the current internecine conflict in the Democratic ranks, such as it is, I'd rather have our problems than the Republicans'.

Ten Bears said...

In as much as we're putting the cart ahead of the horse, I'd bet on Wasserman-Shultz. I suspect, though, that like Clinton will be your next "president", that decision has already been made.

You are funny Feud. Really.

Sweet Sue said...

I'd hate to lose him in the Senate, but I do think that Sherrod Brown would be an excellent choice. He's stellar on labor and would bring many of the real progressives back into the fold.

Raymond Smith said...

Hillary as a Presidential Candidate problems.
I see two main ones.
1 She as already stated above has a high unfavorability problem. She has moved to the left on several issues that is true. The issue here is if she will just jump back to the right again.

2 She has a very big problem motivating the young voters that have come out in droves for Sanders.
It will be interesting to see how the Democratic Party elites try to help overcome this at the convention. If these voters walk away from this race. There is a real danger that the Democratic Party has lost a generation of voters for years to come.
Do not think so, please look around at which party has dominance in numerous state governments. The GOP worked for years to have this happen.
When push comes to shove the Democratic Party needs to ask themselves which one of the current Democratic Party Candidates would pull in voters that will become sustaining future voters? If they choose the Candidate for any other reason there are numerous risks for the Democratic Party.
Also they need to wakeup and get a 50 state strategy running to win over these elections in all areas of the states.
I will vote for however is chosen a straight Dem ticket for me. But people had best start recognizing the very real risks involved with the DNC choice.

Uncle Mike said...

I don't think "Clinton/Castro" looks too good on a bumper sticker.

CH said...

Allie: as, I suppose, a member of the so-called "Sanders faction", I assure you that I won't complain regardless of who HRC chooses for 2nd banana - because I don't care. The politics and convictions, if any, of whomever is picked will be irrelevant to anything besides electibility, and even that will pivot far more on HRC than on the #2; after November, and assuming that the D's manage to win, the #2's influence will be insignificant compared to that wielded by any given member of the inner corps of sycophants (e.g., the ineffable Sidney Blumenthal). I'd prefer Castro or someone similarly situated, but only because I think it unsafe to create a Senate vacancy (remembering the Scott Brown debacle).

Marc: another reason why it's accurate to say that it's been a "bad year" for HRC is that at the very moment she announced her candidacy (and before Sanders had even announced, much less had had any effect), her favorability rating went into the red and has reddened ever since. You can blame that on Sanders or sexism or sunspot activity, but whatever the cause(s), such seems to be the fact. (I rely on the Huffpo polling averages for this; if they are shown to be wrong, then I withdraw my contention.)

Ray: I agree with your misgivings.

Blackstone said...

Feud seems to want the senator from Minnesota.

Ray - 50 state strategy requires you to accept those who are centrists, if you are serious about the strategy. I could be wrong, but It doesn't sound like you would accept someone (Hillary) slightly less left wing than Bernie, let alone a centrist.

The New York Crank said...

Umm, many of us seem to be forgetting that the VP is — here comes the cliche — a heartbeat away from the presidency.

So we need somebody who not only can help to pull in votes, but who could also run a government, if need be.

Castro who? Nah, Sherrod Brown is a much more sensible alternative in my opinion. But certainly not some new kid on the block.

Crankily yours,
The New York Crank

MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel said...

I agree, Feud!