SPOTLIGHT

How President Obama’s Cabinet Has Changed Local and National Politics

Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, TX
©2010 Chet Susslin
Scott Bland
See more stories about...
Scott Bland
July 9, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

San Ant­o­nio May­or Ju­li­an Castro‘s (D) con­firm­a­tion today will make him the latest in an un­usu­ally long line of elec­ted of­fi­cials Pres­id­ent Obama has tapped for his Cab­in­et. We don’t know what will hap­pen to Castro, but Obama’s man­euv­er­ings have already had a huge im­pact on na­tion­al and state polit­ics throughout the coun­try.

— The single biggest one? Not only did Obama’s ap­point­ment of then-Sen. Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) as Sec­ret­ary of State do much to set up the 2016 pres­id­en­tial race, it also in­dir­ectly launched Kirsten Gil­librand (D) — the formerly anti-im­mig­ra­tion, gun-tot­ing, Blue-Dog-rep-turned-lib­er­al-Sen­ate-darling — as a po­ten­tial Demo­crat­ic star when she was ap­poin­ted in Clin­ton’s place by Gov. Dav­id Pa­ter­son (D).

— But there are plenty more: George W. Bush only spar­ingly used cur­rent elec­ted of­fice­hold­ers, like then-Or­ange County may­or Mel Mar­tinez (R), to staff his Cab­in­et, but Obama’s ap­point­ments opened up two gov­ernor­ships and two Sen­ate seats with­in weeks of him tak­ing of­fice. Janet Na­pol­it­ano‘s (D) nom­in­a­tion to DHS paved the way for Ari­zona Gov. Jan Brew­er‘s (R) rise, the pas­sage of the SB 1070 im­mig­ra­tion law, and this year’s open gubernat­ori­al con­test. Where would DSCC chair Sen. Mi­chael Ben­net (D), the former Den­ver schools chief, be right now if Ken Salaz­ar (D) hadn’t moved to In­teri­or?

— Now, the ques­tion is: How will Castro’s move to DC af­fect Texas polit­ics? Even more than for former Char­lotte May­or An­thony Foxx (D), now head­ing the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment, there wasn’t an im­me­di­ate next step for Castro to take at home, while the na­tion­al ex­per­i­ence (not to men­tion time for His­pan­ic polit­ic­al power to grow) could help later, as it did with Mar­tinez — or he could skip run­ning statewide in Texas en­tirely.

But noth­ing is guar­an­teed, and it’s al­ways risky for am­bi­tious politi­cians to re­move them­selves from the day-to-day de­tails of elect­or­al polit­ics. In any case, as we’ve seen with Obama’s oth­er Cab­in­et ap­point­ments, Castro’s (and Foxx’s) moves are sure to have ma­jor ef­fects down the road — some planned, and some un­fore­seen.
Scott Bland

What We're Following See More »
1.5 MILLION MORE TUNED IN FOR TRUMP
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
16 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.

Source:
×