The Democrats definitely know how to hold a convention, in 2004 Barack Obama delivered his Red/Blue States speech and this year the political party was treated to another solid speech by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.
A little known politician on the national political scene at the time of his speech (sound familiar?) Castro quickly grabbed the attention of everyone watching as he spoke about his time growing up as the grandson of a Mexican immigrant who spent her time as a maid to support her family.
“My grandmother never owned a house,” Castro said. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”
While Castro didn’t rely on the soaring rhetoric offered by President Obama in 2004 he did manage to bring out the best in supporters, even on the far right Fox News network where commentator Kristen Powers noted:
“Mayor Castro? … I think a star was born. I think he did a great speech. You can’t compare it favorably necessarily to Obama’s  speech which was a much more soaring speech when he gave it, but technically it’s very, very astute. It hit the points. And there was a lot about American exceptionalism in there, all throughout the speech.”
Supporters of the speech seemed to agree that Castro’s attempt to put the American lifestyle into perspective without relying on the “American Dream” cope out of the past touched base with lower and middle class workers.
Hard work and family support that relies on the broader community was Castro’s message and it is a message that resonates with workers simply trying to get ahead. During his speech Castro proclaimed:
“In Texas, we believe in the rugged individual. Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps, and we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can’t do alone. We have to come together and invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.”
Personal responsibility is a sticking point for the Dems during the 2012 election cycle. While President Obama touted his “Yes WE Can” campaign promise in 2008 that focus has turned into a call for individuals to work for themselves to find success.
With bipartisanship support failing under Obama’s leadership the shift to personal responsibility could be a smart move for the party as it takes the focus off a “group” mentality and places it on individual efforts.
At the same time Castro admitted that personal efforts for many Americans have been excellent but a lack of opportunity to move up the economic ladder have hurt many Americans.
It wasn’t all a rosy picture of hope during Castro’s speech, the San Antonio mayor also took a direct shot at Romney:
“Republicans tell us that if the most prosperous among us do even better, that somehow the rest of us will, too. Folks, we’ve heard that before. First, they called it ‘trickle-down.’ Then, ‘supply-side.’ Now it’s ‘Romney-Ryan.’ Or is it ‘Ryan-Romney’? Either way, their theory has been tested. It failed. Our economy failed. The middle class paid the price. Your family paid the price. Mitt Romney just doesn’t get it.”
Here’s Julian Castro’s full DNC speech:
Do you think Julian Castro delivered a soaring speech that will ultimately help President Obama secure a second-term in office?