In fact, Castro’s dramatic debut on the national stage seems almost preordained: In May 2010, The New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy profile portraying Castro as “The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician,” with explicit comparisons to President Obama and predictions that he will be the first Hispanic president of the United States. NPR notes he’s been called “the great Latino hope.” CNN’s Soledad O’Brien featured Castro in a documentary about Latinos in America. He’s given a TED talk on “The Power of Education: How It Changed My World.”

Castro is indeed a lot like the Barack Obama of 2004: a subject of endless glowing media profiles, touted as the voice of an entire ethnic group, charisma by the bucketful . . . and a short record of quite modest achievements. The vast majority of the discussion about Castro focuses on his enormous potential and what is to come, not on his accomplishments and what he has done.

That is not an accident. Castro was elected by a populace facing serious problems, and in his time in office, the city has made very little measurable progress in addressing those problems.