I've been saying for a half dozen years in various ways that, just as a George W. Rush would never have been considered Presidential Timber because his father hadn't been President, Barack Obama could never have achieved Presidential Timberhood without his father being black, as he emphasized in the first 390 words of the state legislator's 2004 Democratic convention keynote address. Obama is a fine fellow, but in a life of numerous opportunities, he'd never put together the kind of sustained organizational accomplishment that one expects in somebody being talked about for the Presidency. Without that speech about his parents' "improbable romance," he's a nobody.
This has not been a popular notion on either the left or the right. The right loves far more complicated explanations of Obama than that he's a nice articulate fellow promoted out of the affirmative action impulse. The left scoffs. I always hear objections like this:
"He didn't get elected because he's black, he got elected because he beat John McCain!"
"And how did he get into position to beat McCain?
"He beat Hillary!"
"And how did he get in position to beat Hillary?"
"Everybody was talking about him!"
"And why was everybody talking about him?"
"He, uh, gave this speech in 2004 ..."
The press frenzy over Julian Castro's keynote address tonight gives us an opportunity to see how everybody gets my logic when it's played forward. The media is full of stories about how Castro could become the first Hispanic President because giving this speech eight years ago was how Obama got started on the road to being the first black President.
A little more about Castro. Like Obama, he admits he's a beneficiary of affirmative action, even giving the SAT score that got him into Stanford (1210 old style, equal to about 1300 today — the same as George W. Bush's score, by the way).
The job of mayor of San Antonio is almost wholly ceremonial. San Antonio has a city manager style of government, with a $355,000 per year city manager hired by the city council. Castro only gets paid about $4,000 per year to do whatever it is he does.
The reason Castro can afford to have his fake job is because Democratic power broker Mikal Watts, a John Edwards-style plaintiff's attorney, gave him and his identical twin brother a huge amount of money for a "referral."