Housing Wire's Trey Garrison, not a man to mince words, outdoes himself in a recent snark attack on HUD Secretary Julián Castro’s recent appearance on The Daily Show with John Stewart. Like Trey, I also "find Stewart’s faux hipster 'smarter than thou' thing and his mugging for the camera to be a stale schtick." However, I also have to agree with Trey that compared to Castro, Stewart is an Einstein of housing policy. That would be fine, if Castro was the brother of Cuba's Raoul and Fidel. He's not. He's supposed to be our nation's fearless leader of "all things housing." As such, he ought to have a basic grasp of housing policy issues, both fundamental and complex.
Here's what he's got to offer.
According to Trey, instead of schooling Stewart, Castro "looked like an NFL mascot asked what defense to run in the final seconds."
Castro should have corrected Stewart that we are not talking about derivatives, but the secondary mortgage market. And that the mortgage market wouldn't work without a functioning secondary mortgage market.
[T]hese were basic questions and he got caught pushing empty spin."
While also taking potshots at Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry, and the human pincushion, "Diamond Joe" Biden, Garrison saves his most damning epithet for direction at Castro: "politician."
Now he’s being touted as a possible VP candidate for whomever wins the Democrat 2016 nomination.
You don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to be vice president, if history shows anything.
As an empty suit with a big smile, a blank slate, and demographic appeal, Castro may be the tool they’re looking for.
But for me and where I sit in the housing and mortgage finance space, I will continue to expect more from our leaders.
If Trey keeps this up, he's going to make me start to sound like Thomas Merton in comparison.
Expecting more from our leaders: a perpetual past time since 1776. As for the HUD Secretary, I don't expect any more from him than he displayed to Stewart. A guy who defends TARP by pointing to HAMP knows on which side is intellectually dishonest bread is buttered, and it's not on the side of "Truth, Justice, and the American Way." He's playing to his constituency, and that constituency isn't interested in anything more than bringing the bacon home to the special interests who love government largess with a populist flavor. As George Bernard Shaw famously quipped, "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."