Maybe a Tennessee“Color Purple” Coalition?

When almost 30 Nashvillians  gathered at our house last month, we had at least three things in common:

+We were all supporters of President-elect Barack Obama,

+Not one of us was a Davidson County native,

+We each hoped for an inclusive administration seeking bi-partisan solutions to the monumental challenges now facing America.

As one of the more than 4,500 “Obama House Parties” held throughout the nation during the second weekend in December, out group was impressively diverse: multi-racial, multi-party and multi-generational, from teachers to investment bankers to the recently unemployed.  Our “charge” was to gather input for the Obama transition team.

It was an enlightening, inspirational two hours on a cold, gray Saturday afternoon.

We themed the event “A Blue County in a Red State,” since Davidson was just one of four Tennessee counties that gave Obama a majority.  Reflecting  later, I thought about the group’s common desire for bi-partisan solutions, and realized that the Volunteer State had much to offer the president-elect  and his team. Listening closely and broadly would be their first task.

Consider creating a “Color Purple” coalition and include the congressmen from two of the “bluest” counties, the brilliant Jim Cooper from Nashville and the enigmatic, energetic Steve Cohen from Memphis.  I could see them teaming with two “red” representatives with extensive and successful stints in local and state government in Tennessee:  Senators Lamar Alexander (former two-term governor) and Bob Corker (former Chattanooga mayor and former state finance commissioner).

The blue mix from the U.S. House of Representatives would acknowledge the early campaign loyalty of Cooper and Cohen, who represent Tennessee’s largest metropolitan areas, and are fully aware of the recession-laden suffering of an urban area.

The “red” mix from the U.S. Senate, offers two men who surmounted challenges as chief executive officers of their state and city, respectively.  Both senators concluded their terms with a long list of accomplishments, high approval ratings and track records of reaching “across the aisle” to solve problems and meet challenges..  Their voices are those who understand the complex realities of what works best at those governmental levels. Their hands-on experiences could prove invaluable in crafting a bi-partisan stimulus plan.

The current issues which our country is facing are neither red nor blue; they are, however, dauntingly color-blind.  Like the other Middle Tennesseans gathered in our living room, I am inspired by President Obama’s transformational message of hope, his reservoir of intelligence, and his calm, yet firm sense of courage.  His has clearly pointed out that he can’t do it alone;  he wants and needs our helping hands.

Part of our collective suggestion is that he consider the highly-qualified, down-home input that a purple-colored coalition would provide.  God bless you for hearing our voices, Mr. President, Please keep listening.


Bo Roberts is a Nashville marketing consultant and 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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