obama biden oval officeBy Victor Landa, NewsTaco

One of the interesting things about being  in Washington DC for a few days after a presidential inaugural is the sifting through the residual rumors. It’s a lot like walking a shoreline after a storm, all sorts of things catch your eye. The city was flooded with partisans and political types for a weekend, so rumor and speculation were the mainstays of small talk and cocktail fodder. They get traded and passed along, edited and embellished, and when coupled with actual events they take on a life of their own.

Take for instance a meeting held in the Oval office the day after the inaugural. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro had a reported 20 minute face-to-face with the President. That in itself is not entirely remarkable. Castro has been a bright light on the White House radar for a while; he delivered the DNC keynote; etc… It’s what happened about one hour later that started the hearsay mill spinning: Soon after Castro ended his meeting news was leaked that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is being considered to replace Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on President Obama’s cabinet.

Never mind that LaHood hasn’t announced leaving his post. Never mind that California Senator Barbara Boxer told a California public radio reporter that same day that Villaragisa  “would be terrific” in that job. This is what’s interesting about the mill and how it pumps new fodder: the speculation is that the Transportation post was offered to Castro at his Oval office meeting with the President, and that he graciously declined; that Villaraigosa was immediately considered next; that because Villaraigosa would be moving to a Federal post, the path would be clear for soon to be former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to make her move for the California Governorship. And it was barely lunch time.

It’s not unlike a fantasy chess board. But all the speculation does point to the fact that Latinos have become part of the highest level political shuffle. Whether the shuffle is substantial or mere show has yet to be seen. After all, all we have is a basic set of facts with a mound of speculation plopped on top.  And these are the facts: Castro is a White House favorite and he had a meeting in the Oval office; Hilda Solis is leaving her post at the Labor Department and going back to California;  Barbara boxer has said, on the record, that Villaraigosa would make a good Secretary of Transportation; and at last report when Ray LaHood was asked about his future on the President’s cabinet, he told the Daily Beast “There’ll be more to say about that later.”

[Photo by The White House]

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