Dan Patrick/Julian Castro Debate

Dan Patrick/Julian Castro Debate
Univision Studios
April 15, 2014

Phil Sevilla

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro came out swinging last night like Terry Malloy, the aspiring prize fighter in the classic film, On The Waterfront. The San Antonio Express Newspaper headline labeled the Mayor’s combative demeanor throughout the Univision-produced special …”feisty”. Attempting to spring on State Senator Dan Patrick like a muscular tiger, he actually landed more like an anorexic grasshopper. Polemical jabs and rude interruptions were prevalent in Castro’s performance. Senator Patrick parried and maintained a respectful and statesman-like attitude throughout, well prepared with facts regarding illegal immigration, border state statistics, and the disastrous consequences of an ongoing lack of national bi-partisan political consensus on immigration reform.

Mayor Castro started the food fight with attacks against Senator Patrick on social media. He addressed the Senator in a demeaning and patronizing tone during the opening minutes of the debate which the Senator repeatedly called him on, requesting that the debate be about having a serious discussion, of “truth, broken policy,” and the need for a “robust policy in the best interest of America, public safety, legal entry, the exploitation of immigrants, violence, suffering, human trafficking, deaths. He stated that both political parties have failed and it was time to get tough with” coyotes and narcos”.

Mayor Castro decried Patrick’s alleged advertisements blasting immigrants bringing in “diseases, threatening families” and stated that Patrick’s policies would “tank the economy”. Patrick stopped Castro and corrected him, responding that he did not say what he was accused of saying about immigrants. Patrick mentioned that 55% of Hispanic Americans agree that citizenship (amnesty or delayed citizenship) for 12 million undocumented immigrants is unfair and would take limited resources. Reports show there are over 127,000 mothers having anchor babies in the U.S. and an estimated 55,000 are illegals. (It was not clear if these statistics only applied to Texas).

The moderator, Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune, asked Patrick if given the power, would he deport everyone. The Senator answered “No … Democrats and the media demagogue Republican positions” and he is attacked because he has shown courage to stand up and discuss the problem. He would welcome immigrants. But, according to him, benefits and entitlements provide incentive – driver’s licenses, health care, in-state tuition – and this will continue to motivate illegal migration.

The senator also pointed out several times that as a Christian, he is pro-life and pro-family. Babies of immigrants should be protected always and have the right to be born. Castro fired back that he is for the “right of women to choose”. Patrick responded that he is against providing licenses and health care to illegal immigrants. Castro stated he was for providing health care and licenses. Patrick reminded viewers that Hispanics are pro-life and (Gubernatorial candidate) Wendy Davis lost 26 districts because of her pro-abortion positions.

Patrick closed with a statement that the GOP stands for life, opportunity, work ethic, education, public safety and added that conservative Hispanic groups have endorsed his campaign for Lt. Governor.

From my vantage point in the audience at the Univision studio, it appeared there were more attendees rooting for Mayor Castro but the Patrick supporters were more enthusiastic in showing their support by applauding the Senator’s statements.

Senator Patrick appeared statesman-like and knowledgeable offering facts and statistics to buttress his positions while maintaining his poise throughout. Mayor Castro was long on polemics, party rhetoric, did not document his statements with facts, and maintained a spirit of uncivil contentiousness throughout. While going offensive, he ended up in a defensive corner.

Despite the liberal media’s attempt to defend and cover up the feeble performance of one of the rising stars in the Democratic Party constellation, the Mayor’s performance at the debate on national tax day was lackluster at best, exhibiting a petty, mean-spirited “bitchy” side reflecting his weak debating skills. I hope that Univision makes available the full transcript and the actual videotape of the debate so citizens can make up their own minds rather than swallow the “Kool Aid” and myopic opinions of the liberal culture elites.

Let me suggest a key to reading the liberal news highlighting this debate. The Associated Press wrote tritely that “[t]here was no new ground staked out by the antagonists.” The Texas Tribune wrote: “ [O]bservers weren’t so sure about whether there were any obvious winners”. The Austin American-Statesman opined that the debate “allowed both Castro and Patrick to meet goals they set out to accomplish”.

Finally, a Rice University political scientist commented that both politicians made their points.

Translation: Liberal Mayor Julian Castro, the favorite political champion, failed to land a TKO punch so the pundits are declaring the match a draw. It wasn’t. Not even close. If judging was truly fair, Senator Patrick had the points, hands down.

In Terry Malloy’s lament immortalized in the 1954 classic film, actor Marlon Brando sobs, “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender.” Mayor Castro and his handlers need to pay attention. Don’t get into the ring if you’re outclassed and unprepared.