From the New York Times on the Democrats' keynote speaker, San Antonio mayor Julian Castro:
By MANNY FERNANDEZ
SAN ANTONIO — ...
... The speculation lately about Mr. Castro’s future has reached fever pitch; there is talk of his running for governor, earning a place in Mr. Obama’s cabinet and even becoming the first Hispanic president. A Fox News Latino headline this summer read: “Julián Castro: Son of Chicana Activist, Harvard Law Grad, Future U.S. President?”
“Do I think he could be president?” asked Mr. Cisneros, who was secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 1990s. “I think he’s smart enough. I think he understands the level of work and attention you have to give to politics over a lifetime to get there. He certainly has put himself in position to be among the mentionables going forward.” ...
... As Mr. Castro prepared to take the stage on Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., to give the biggest speech of his life — the first Latino to give the keynote address in the convention’s history — it was hard to know what was consuming this city more: Mr. Castro’s rising political cachet, or the vote on his pre-K program.
... The pre-K plan illustrates the extent to which Mr. Castro, though of a different ideological stripe, has forged an identity as Texas’ version of the vice-presidential candidate Paul D. Ryan — a youthful, ambitious and dynamic policy wonk turned political star. Since becoming mayor in 2009, Mr. Castro, 37, has immersed himself in the minutiae of running a municipality while maintaining the connections that led to the second-biggest keynote address of his career in June, when he spoke at the state Democratic convention in Houston.
In 2004, a state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, which catapulted him to national prominence, and there are broad parallels in the lives of Mr. Castro and Mr. Obama. Both men were raised by single mothers, graduated from Harvard Law School and succeeded in transcending the racial politics that often pigeonhole black and Hispanic politicians.
When Mr. Castro delivers his speech on Tuesday, he will be 12 days shy of 38. In his office at City Hall, one wall is adorned with an old poster from another young candidate’s campaign: his mother’s unsuccessful run for City Council at age 23 in 1971. Rosie Castro, now 65, was at the time a community activist with La Raza Unida, a party that challenged the largely white political establishment and fought to expand the rights of Chicanos, or American citizens of Mexican descent.
... Last year, Mr. Castro won a second two-year term with nearly 82 percent of the vote.
... San Antonio has become a kind of Berkeley of the Southwest,
a progressive, economically vibrant and Democratic-leaning city of 1.3 million in Republican-dominated Texas.
The funny thing about Castromania! is that it was launched by a May 2010 article in the New York Times Magazine, which when read carefully is more or less of a rightwing satire on Obama's America and elaborate practical joke.
The jokester is veteran rightist journalist Zev Chafets. He grew up in Detroit, fled when Coleman Young became mayor, enlisted in the Israeli army, and became a press officer for Menachem Begin. Recently, he wrote an enthusiastic biography of Rush Limbaugh.
Chafets went looking for somebody who is even more of a "blank screen" than Obama, then tried to promote Castro into Presidential Timberhood solely on the basis of his race. It's not like Chafets tried to keep anybody from noticing how comic this was:
"Early in his administration, Castro assigned his chief of staff, Robbie Greenblum—a Jewish lawyer from the border town of Laredo whose own Spanish is impeccable—to discreetly find him a tutor. Rosie Castro's son is now being taught Spanish by a woman named Marta Bronstein. Greenblum met her in shul."
Chafets' prank is working. And nobody even gets the joke.