Today’s Policy Agenda: Artur Davis Shows Republicans How to Talk and Think about Policy

by Andrew Smith

Artur Davis is running for mayor and showing Republicans how to talk and think about policy.

Former Democratic congressman and Obama supporter turned speaker at the 2012 Republican convention Artur Davis has announced the creation of an exploratory committee for a mayoral campaign in Montgomery, Ala. Here’s his pitch:

It has occurred to me that what will determine Montgomery’s destiny are exactly the themes that motivated me toward political life 15 years ago.  Just how does a community generate affluence and protect its vulnerable at the same time? How do schools build a foundation between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. that withstands the wreckage some youngsters face when they get home? How does a city lure jobs that are good enough to transform lives, and then how to prepare its young people to do the work when it comes? How does leadership convince blacks and conservative whites that their interests are really aligned and not at odds with each other?

The familiar left versus right debate is too exhausted, too stale to manage any of these problems. The last thing we need is to import the false choices in Washington into a Montgomery election.

So, my campaign won’t rehash what federal policies have and haven’t worked. Instead, my agenda will be solutions that answer to the test of effectiveness rather than ideological purity.

Davis has written about the “Republican Dilemma” before, in wake of his new party’s loss in 2012, arguing that “modern conservatism seems spent and resistant to innovation on some days, purely oppositional and reactive on other days.” As another Republican Art(h)ur, Arthur Brooks, often talks about, Republicans need to stop fighting against “things” and start fighting for people. If conservatives will do so, they may find it easier to see the new challenges facing American families, which could bring about a more entrepreneurial approach to policy in sync with conservative principles. Davis’s letter above is what a conservative fighting for people should sound like, and it will be exciting to watch his campaign going forward to see how this orientation helps his electoral chances and grounds his vision for policy reform.

Fracking is a winner for Republicans

Laura Barron-Lopez reports for the Hill on the political problems energy issues and ballot initiatives have been causing Senator Mark Udall in a tight campaign against Republican representative Cory Gardner:

Now, with Colorado as one of the top natural gas producing states in the nation, the fracking controversy could be the issue that gives Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) the boost he needs in the tight-knit race of high importance in the battle for Senate control…

To hear Floyd Ciruli, a non-partisan Colorado pollster for nearly 40 years tell it, Democrats are in full-blown damage control over the fracking measures being pushed by its liberal, environmental wing. 

“Sen. Udall has to be concerned just because of the amount of negative, hostile conversation among Democrats arguing with each other,” Ciruli said of the multi-million dollar campaign surrounding the two measures.

Support for hydraulic fracturing and the infrastructure needed for it to grow is proving to be a viable “wedge” for Republicans in electoral politics. Moreover, as Adam White explains in his Room to Grow chapter, because of the increasing chunk of middle and lower-income individuals’ paychecks that energy, gasoline, and transportation are consuming, a fully laid-out energy agenda is an essential piece of a reform, middle-class-focused conservative agenda.

Capitalism is reducing poverty and inequality around the world.

In a study to be published in World Development in October, Andreas Bergh and Therese Nilsson examine how the rise of capitalism and liberalized trade markets around the world has impacted those in poverty.

Using data from 114 countries (1983–2007), we examine the relationship between globalization and World Bank absolute poverty estimates. We find a significant negative correlation between globalization and poverty, robust to several econometric specifications, including a fixed-effect panel—a “long run” first difference—and a pooled OLS-regression.

In other words, they found empirically that globalization and free markets are reducing poverty around the world, and at the Upshot, Tyler Cowen points to other studies showing that inequality is shrinking rapidly on a global scale.