MSNBC's Chuck Todd on Friday eagerly promoted "rising star" Joaquin Castro, a liberal Congressman from Texas. On the same program that he suggested Republicans don't care about minorities, Todd speculated on a Democratic revival in the Lone Star State. He wondered, "Is 2014 the year that Texas Democrats finally elect someone, some member of their party, to a statewide office?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Todd hyped a Texas Monthly Article on "Mr. Castro Goes to Washington." The Daily Rundown host sympathized with the difficulty of being a Democrat in the GOP-controlled House: "Compare the Texas legislature and being a member of the minority party there with being a member of the minority in Congress. What's worse?"
He continued, "Do you feel as if, though, a Democrat who sponsors a bill and a member of the minority party in Texas has a better chance of getting that piece of legislation passed than a Democrat who sponsors the bill in the minority in Congress?"
According to Todd's summery, "the reality of being in Congress has been full of frustrations."
Todd blurbed the article, enthusing, "It's an incredible ride-up, first-person account of Mr. Castro goes to Washington. Texas Monthly. I encourage you to read the entire article."
On the same program, Todd mocked Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference:
CHUCK TODD: For a party struggling to change its demographic destiny, this picture taken by a Brookings Institution fellow of an almost empty ballroom at a panel on Republican outreach into minority communities, should be a bit of a warning. You don't want to play into your party's stereotypes there.
A transcript of the March 7 segment is below:
CHUCK TODD: And now to some more familiar names on the list of Democratic rising stars, Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro and his brother, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro were introduced to the nation at 2012's Democratic convention. But for Congressman Castro, the reality of being in Congress has been full of frustrations. As Castro writes in a story for Texas Monthly, it was fascinating and worth reading the entire thing. "Congress is a place with more heart than courage. There are more good souls in Washington than brave ones. I learned that whole is not always the sum of its parts and that what you put in doesn't always match what you get out. That's because gridlock isn't just the result of a bunch of people who can't agree on anything. It's the result of the customs and traditions that enable those people to cause dysfunction." It was some tough words, but fascinating one. Congressman Castro joins me now. Good morning to you, sir.
JOAQUIN CASTRO: Good morning, Chuck.
TODD: You know, it's funny. When you wrote this piece, the quote that everybody took away from it was your encounter with John Boehner and you talked about the whole cantaloupe comment that Steve King made.
TODD: You went up to Speaker Boehner, and he used an expletive to describe Steve King. And it sort of made you feel better about Boehner as a person. But what does the incident tell you? On one hand, the Republican Speaker of the House had a bonding moment with you. And yet it's not as if we're getting anywhere, particularly, say, on the issue of immigration.
CASTRO: For me, it was an indication of how privately Republicans are sympathetic on the immigration issue in that example. But then, publicly, take a very different position. And in that moment, you know, John Boehner showed some humanity in understanding that Steve King had been very harsh a group of innocent kids who came to this country by no fault of their own.
TODD: You know, tell me this. Compare the Texas legislature and being a member of the minority party there with being a member of the minority in Congress. What's worse?
CASTRO: Well, you know, I've been in public service now for going on 12 years and I've never been in the majority. I was in the minority in Texas for five terms and now, of course, the minority in the House of Representatives. The biggest difference is that in Texas we still pass legislation. You know, we still pass over 1,000 bills each session. In Congress, I think we only passed about 58 bills last year and it was the least productive year on record since we've been keeping record of production in Congress, and so that's probably the biggest difference.
TODD: Do you feel as if, though, a Democrat who sponsors a bill and a member of the minority party in Texas has a better chance of getting that piece of legislation passed than a Democrat who sponsors the bill in the minority in Congress?
CASTRO: Oh, absolutely. In Texas – As a Texas Democrat, you were never going to really accomplish the big things you wanted accomplish, but you were still able to pass local bills and even some medium-range important bills. In Congress, that becomes very difficult. I mean, you have people, even senior ranking Republicans, who aren't passing any legislation.
TODD: Is 2014 the year that Texas Democrats finally elect someone, some member of their party to a statewide office?
CASTRO: I believe so. I think we've got a good shot. You know, Wendy's got a fighting chance. Leticia Van De Putte, I think, has a great chance, particularly, if Dan Patrick is the nominee. I think, Chuck, the Republicans are going to meet Democrats half way because they've become so extreme, particularly Dan Patrick, who's spoken of an illegal invasion from Mexico of diseases that immigrant are bringing, it is reminiscent of what happened in California with Pete Wilson in the 1990s.
TODD: So, you think that accelerates the Democrat Party's opportunity to cycle if he's the Republican nominee?
CASTRO: Oh, absolutely.
TODD: All right. Joaquin Castro, member of Congress. Of course, brother of San Antonio's Mayor Julian Castro. It's an incredible ride-up, first-person account of Mr. Castro goes to Washington. Texas Monthly. I encourage you to read the entire article. Thank you, sir.