Brilliance+Wisdom+Trust=Health Care Solutions

As an astutely brilliant former Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives once told me: “Neither party has a monopoly on ignorance;” his statement framed one of my earliest, most significant political lessons.

The current furor over the nation’s health care reform is an excellent demonstration of that Speaker’s insightful adage.  The idiocy of the right, railing about death panels and abortions, is equal to that of the left when it claims that the U.S. government alone can supply the panacea to this massive problem. The left’s rejection of rational compromises, which its members characterized as off “center,” can only be termed childishly immature.

Hopefully, national health care reform will stem runaway costs while assisting the almost-40 million uninsured citizens. Most Americans probably agree that adjusting our health care system is far overdue.

For those who concur, it doesn’t take long to realize that there are no simple, effortless answers.  Imagine this: the U.S. House’s 1,100-page draft bill currently being circulated has a five-page Table of Contents. Five pages! Even if one is moderately intelligent where would they find the time to become fully conversant on this highly complicated issue?

Well, folks, an approach I’ve adopted in the past and, I believe will work again is to listen to one of the brightest and most capable individuals I’ve ever known. That person? Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper, a man who possesses the wisdom and humility to apply the necessary and correct solution.

I have long-marveled at Cooper’s ability to speak knowledgeably, and with unmatched depth and perception, about virtually any subject.  A self-professed “nerd,” he is graced with self-deprecating humor, along with that rare ability to take matters, but not himself, seriously.

I don’t always agree with every position he takes, so don’t automatically dismiss this as a puff piece. For example, I disagree with, yet totally respect, his recent decision to reject “government pork” for Davidson County. For Cooper, that particular call was a matter of principal and fiscal discipline.

The unwarranted attacks on the Congressman from the left and other “Blue Dog” Democrats are as infuriating as they are unjust.  After all, this is the same man who developed a health care reform plan in the early ‘90s that was much more prudent than the one advocated by Hillary Clinton. Had Cooper been appropriately heard then and had we all listened more attentively, we might have averted this crisis today.

As we absorb the President’s presentation on health care , I reflected upon what Cooper told me before Obama’s  speech:  “It’s time for some adult supervision.”

Well said. We elected an extraordinarily intelligent president; now, I am hopeful that Mr. Obama is savvy enough to recognize that judgment is acquired both in small doses, as well as in gigantic servings.

So let’s put some actual adults in charge, set ignorance aside and let wisdom reign. And, when the crucial vote comes, I feel comfortable with Jim Cooper holding my proxy.


Bo Roberts is a Nashville marketing consultant, served as chief of staff for TN Governor Bufford Ellington. He is managing partner of Roberts Strategies.

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About Bo Roberts

Mr. Roberts was founder of an international marketing consulting firm, which, together with Tom Jackson & Associates, served such clients as Miss Universe, Inc.; Rockwell International; Kansas City, MO. Mayor’s Office; Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey & Associates; and the Michael Jackson Victory! Tour; the 1985 World’s Fair in Tsukuba, Japan and the 1986 World’s Fair in Vancouver, B.C. Canada...

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