I had a rather lengthy conversation with Tim Davis several months ago. Just who the hell is Tim Davis, you ask?
He is a guy running against whichever extremist survives the GOP primary in the fight for Roy Blunt’s 7th District congressional seat.
In other words, he is a Democratic choice for Southwest Missouri’s representative in Washington.
I have to be truthful here. After finding out that one of the Democratic candidates for Blunt’s seat would be in Joplin, I was excited to talk with him. Maybe, I thought, this year Democrats would field a candidate that could make some progress in this calcified conservative corner of the state.
Unfortunately, after my conversation with Mr. Davis, I actually wondered why he was running as a Democrat. In fact, I ask him why he was running as a Democrat. I really did.
Don’t get me wrong. He is a very smart man, what with a Ph.D. in economics and a law degree from Oxford. Yes. That Oxford. So, there is no doubt he is a very smart man. And he seemed like one heck of a nice guy.
The trouble is, he’s not really much of a Democrat. He seems to know that, too. KY3′s Political Notebook recently posted a Q&A with Tim Davis, in which he was asked:
Q: How do you plan to cut through the bitterness and rancor of Capitol Hill so it’s not more of the same old debate?
Leaving aside the fact that I think that’s a dumb question—the reason there is some rancor is that the “same old debate” is important stuff—here is Mr. Davis’ answer:
It’s not in my nature to be blindly partisan. Also, my policies tend to be middle-of-the-road. So they’re going to appeal to Democrats and moderate Republicans. For that reason, I don’t anticipate that I’ll get sucked into the partisan debate.
Perhaps it is that Davis’ approach is the way for a Democrat to win in Southwest Missouri, although I doubt it. But in any case, what would really have been nice is if Mr. Davis had run in the Republican primary, where his “moderate” [read: thoughtfully conservative] views would be a welcome relief from that nauseating contest of conservative candidates trying to out-Limbaugh each other.
But since Mr. Davis doesn’t seem to want to “get sucked into a partisan debate,” I don’t think he would fare very well on the Republican side. Maybe that’s why he decided to run as a Democrat. Among that less-than-stellar slate of Southwest Missouri Republican conservatives, he would stick out a little bit, but only because he can explain in great (and sometimes excruciating) detail just why he thinks his fairly conservative views are correct.
In other words, he is a conservative with a brain.
Anyway, during my conversation with him I asked about his training in economics (remember that Ph.D?) and I quickly found out that essentially Mr. Davis is a supply-sider, in the vein of Arthur Laffer and folks like that.
If you read his answers to some of KY3′s questions here, you can sort of figure that much out. But I want to highlight just one response:
Q: How can the Congress promote economic growth and jobs?
Tim Davis: Other than adjourning for major holidays…
Now, it’s one thing for a Republican to use such sarcasm about government’s ability to help with economic growth and jobs, but it’s quite another for a Democrat to do so. It just doesn’t sound right coming from the lips (in this case, likely the keyboard) of someone who calls himself a Democrat.
I asked him about economics first because in my opinion what one thinks about the interface of government and the economy is a major clue as to one’s fundamental political philosophy, and before I give up my vote, I want to know what one’s political philosophy is.
If you think the government should limit its involvement in the economy in such a way so as to only allow “the private sector to create wealth and jobs” and should not step in, say, to bail out a business like GM, then you are most likely a conservative.
If you think government can at certain times and to some extent stimulate economic growth by injecting money into a sluggish economy, and if you believe government should regulate the economy in such a way so as to allow the private sector to create wealth—but not at the expense of the environment or by compromising other cultural values—then you are probably not a conservative.
I’ll leave it to the reader to evaluate where Mr. Davis fits in, but there is no doubt, after speaking with him, that he sounded like Jack Kemp on intellectual steroids. It doesn’t make him a bad man, it just makes him an economic conservative.
Since his economic views were not what I expected for a Democrat, I decided to probe for other areas in which I could support him.
What about the abortion issue? He’s emphatically pro-life, he said. Uh-oh. And I found out his convictions about abortion stem from his religious beliefs. Uh-oh.
Okay…Then what about homosexuality? I wondered, since he had such strong, conservative religious convictions, if he thought homosexuality was a sin. So, I ask him, “Is homosexuality a sin?”
Yep. He told me he believed homosexuality is a sin. SIN. S-I-N.
Here is the definition of “sin” from Merriam-Webster’s OnLine:
1 a : an offense against religious or moral law b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it’s a sin to waste food> c : an often serious shortcoming : fault
2 a : transgression of the law of God b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
So, we have a Democratic candidate for the 7th District who is a supply-sider worthy of comparison to any economist who served in the Reagan administration; a pro-lifer who would not disagree much, if any, with Phyllis Schlafly on the issue of abortion; and a religious believer so conservative that he believes homosexuality is either a “sin,” “an offense,” a “highly reprehensible” act, a “serious shortcoming,” or a “transgression of the law of God.”
In other words, our Democratic candidate is basically a conservative Republican.
But he is a much better choice than any of the other conservative Republicans, if that makes anyone feel better.