It’s just that I can’t help but notice the widespread comparisons to Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida who has stolen GOP hearts ever since his come-from-behind victory during the Tea Party surge of 2010.
Now, I realize the Dems are utterly chuffed over their young prospect, but let’s get one thing clear: Castro is no Rubio — and that’s coming from someone who disagrees with the Florida senator on nearly every issue.
The appeal of Castro’s bio and resume is undeniable. Born — on Mexican Independence Day, no less — to a Mexican-American mother active in Texas’s Chicano politics, Castro and his brother both went to Standford and Harvard Law before returning to their home town, the city of the Alamo, to lend their skills to public service.
But besides being a better speaker and having mountains more charm, Senator Rubio has already proved himself in his state by winning statewide office, something the Democratic Castro will find almost impossible to achieve in a state as red as the colors of his alma mater. Rubio also has a strong national profile and was even considered a serious candidate for the VP slot by many banner-carrying conservatives.
There’s something provincial and second-tier about Castro. While I’m sure he’s a decent mayor — even his critics admit his “short record of quite modest achievements” — he doesn’t seem ready for the vice-presidency or even the presidency like Rubio does or even then-state Senator Barack Obama did back in 2004. I don’t see him ever becoming governor of his state or winning any other statewide office in Texas, however much I might wish we would.
Still, you get the feeling that the Democratic Party went looking for someone like Castro, in contrast to Rubio, who just sprang up. You can almost see the conversation that might’ve took place: “Who do we have to compete with Rubio?” “Well, there’s the mayor of Los Angeles, but there’s also this young guy in San Antonio who also looks promising.” “Perfect. We’ll have him speak at the convention.”
Don’t get me wrong. Mayor Castro’s is impressive in his own right, and there’s probably a cabinet position in his future, even if I can’t see his name ever appearing on the national ticket.
But then again, they probably said the same thing about Obama in 2004.
Compare the two, promising Latino politicians for yourself: