Science And Technology Policy In The Campaign

ScienceInsider is trying to inject science and technology policy issues into the bright light of campaign coverage in this recent piece on the Romney campaign’s energy plan. It’s admirable, and certainly with the focus of both campaigns pretty far away from policy – any policy – it’s perhaps necessary.

This focus question is highlighted by the language pervading the Romney campaign document. Aside from the pages focused on dismantling the current administration’s efforts, it’s hard to find serious discussion of energy policy under the discussion of what government should and shouldn’t do.

That’s not to say it has no business in a campaign document. The energy plan does a fine job of articulating what the Romney campaign sees as the appropriate role of government in the context of energy generation and basic research on energy. Encourage what will get jobs, figure out what resources exist. Focus on the now, and on what the market couldn’t do. Science and technology are just tools. Seeking insights on research and development budgets from ideological arguments over the government role in markets reminds me of the proverbial needles and haystacks.

I focus on the Romney campaign mainly because this document provided an opportunity. Should there be an Obama campaign response, I don’t expect it to provide much more information.

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