Thursday, May 05, 2005

Castro’s Charm Can’t Cut Caca

As the saying goes, "Money talks, bull pucky walks." According to recent stats provided by The Jeffersonian the candidates relative financial status looks like:

Phil Hardberger- $219,006.60/$275,786.81/$106,602/$300k
Julian Castro- $111,905.10/$98,349.57/$55,280.08/N/A
Carroll Schubert- $158,115/$397,723.99/$72,476.98/N/A

If you’re going to be out fund raised better than two to one, you’re going to have to get a lot of free publicity to make up the difference. At the beginning of this campaign, Julian seemed to have more than enough intrinsic political capital to contend with this handicap with more alacrity than any other candidate could have reasonably expected.

Julian is charming, young and good-looking. He has a twin brother in politics so he has connections to the machine, and a novelty hook for the media. He is well educated and charismatic. He seems, at least in his own mind, convinced that he has the vision thing down. He can run as an incumbent on the City Council and as a reform candidate simultaneously. He seems to have a promising political career ahead of him, so he is attractive to power brokers who might want to get in on a good thing earlier rather than later. So what has happened to the Barak Obama of South Texas?

Youth, inexperience, hubris and carelessness have lead him to squander his innate political potential. He has received all the free publicity a candidate in his financial position could have hoped for. It just hasn't been exactly the type of free publicity a more seasoned campaigner might have garnered.

1st, he under-reported his campaign finances in January and promised to clear things up on the next filing. When the next filing came in it was far worse than the first, sloppily filled out by hand and riddled with errors. He asserted that it would all be cleared up on yet another re-filing, but this one came in so late that it severely reduces the functionality of such reports to people who concern themselves with such things. His campaign handled this affair at best amateurishly and at worst criminally. That he claimed "personal responsibility" meant little since he blamed anyone who criticized him for this for challenging his integrity. He insisted it was merely incompetence on his part. Since he was a champion of Campaign Finance Reform while on the City Council, this was a definitive case of being hoisted on one's own petard. Julian, like many young men, does not seem to fully realize what "take responsibility" means. Those aren't just words. They mean you must suffer the consequences of your misdeeds, not simply poo poo them.

2nd, when Hardberger called him on this, Julian peevishly lashed out at him in the debate. He took a professional castigation personally and looked petty, immature and politically disingenuous in the process.

As The Jeffersonian notes:
In some news that I found funny, it looks as if campaign manager Philip Cortez got paid in April for blockwalking, while all the females on the campaign were paid for 'services rendered', not as staff members.
3rd, this does not bode well for the future of representative governance in San Antonio. “Services rendered” not only sounds inappropriate, it isn’t exactly in keeping with the spirit of transparency that reporting expenditures is supposed to provide. What are these "services," graveyard transcriptions, ballot stuffing, vote buying? Probably not, but it has happened in San Antonio before, so how do we know? That’s why candidates are supposed to accurately describe their expenditures, so their legitimacy can be verified.

4th, he went out of town to raise money and made the evening news catering to Yankees. Damn Developers is still two words in these parts, but to many the hyphen is still optional in "Damn-Yankee." He protested that at least the foreign money didn't have a local agenda. While this may be true, that dog still don’t hunt around here. That he took all this heat for a relative pittance, showed bad judgment at the very least. The most likely reason he took this course of action was to impress his Yankee college friends. I hope they were amused because most of the locals weren't. Judging by their miserly gifts, Castro's Ivy League buddies weren't either.

5th, when he wanted to spin the media off his CFR debacle, in midweek he torpedoed the City manager candidate in a flip flop that smacked of the worst kind of cynical manipulation of the press. It was such a transparent tactic that it was relatively ineffective for its intended purpose.

6th, he forgot the "KISS rule" of politics. This is the inherent risk in making your campaign about the vision thing. To anyone that has not taken the time or had the ability to check the Castro website, his vision is a mystery. Yeah, we would all like to actually be paid like we lived in the eighth largest city in the country, but who gets excited about being fifteenth and taking years and years to get there? Does anybody really have a clue about how Julian is going do deliver in a tangible way on his illustrious vision? Can anyone really describe the depth and breadth of its grandiosity? You can't get a complicated pipe dream across in sound bites. Look what happened to Kerry.

7th, he managed to use the twin gimmick to get free publicity, just one problem, 90% of the publicity was in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Atlanta. None of these folks are voting for Mayor in San Antonio. Instead, thanks to Julian and Joaquin, they are laughing at the people who actually do vote in San Antonio. San Antonians are sensitive about the lack of respect we are already getting from the nation's metroplexes. Most of us did not want to have yet another reason to be mocked by the elites. But as many of us expected, Julian's real loyalty lies more with these Yankee psuedo-intellectuals than with the hardworking, forgotten and exploited peasants of San Antonio. Then again, if you think "the lime and the Julian will make it all better," then you'll probably love the Castros.

Castro was going to need to expand on his constituency if he was going to seriously contend citywide in this election. But he seems to have been so swayed by his own hype that, much like Schubert, he thinks he can win without half of town. No matter how much he protests differently, his actions show otherwise.

Julian appears to have mastered half of the art of free publicity. He just hasn't figured out getting attention solely for being a caninophile is not the best approach. It seems Julian Castro and Bill Clinton have one thing in common, neither one of them can pass up a pooch. We will see if Julian has the chutzpa of the "Come Back Kid." But since he seems to be coated with Velcro instead of Teflon when it comes to his faux pas, I seriously doubt it.


At 3:06 AM, Blogger sleepy said...

brilliant writing.

At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Euclid said...

Wonderful! Another un-"starry-eyed" person with a thinking mind! Castro's vision is outlined nowhere that I can find, online or in print. His mantra of "world class city with a small town quality of life" sounds good, but looking and sounding good do not a leader make.

In his latest flip-flop (Tuesday this week, 4 days BEFORE the election), after voting to spend $21 million for Minor League Sport, oops Major League Soccer, he hears on talk radio and reads in the newspaper that not only the majority of San Antonians, but over 90%, are AGAINST this spending, he tells Ed Garza that he can't support it anymore. On how many more issues will he vote one way, and then change when the winds change direction. On how many has he done this the past 4 years? How many in the past 21 days? How many of these can we afford in the next two/four years?

Notice that he is now stealing lines from Schubert and Hardberger about city services and drainage, etc. when he speaks. Recall thirty days ago, he DID NOT speak of these items.

Castro is NOT a leader! Intelligent, yes, but not worthy of being more than a captain at this time of his life.

He should change his name to "Ju-wich way is the populace thinking and I'll Lian that way" Castro.

my 2 cents


Post a Comment

<< Home