Onetime Hillary Rival Jim Cooper Wants Love for Clinton Delegates 

Jim Cooper, the congressman from Tennessee’s 5th District, was the representative from the adjoining 4th district and a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1994 when Hillary Clinton was in charge of preparing a national health plan. Cooper was advancing one, too, but was –- we now know from an abundance of recent disclosures --shut out of the First Lady’s deliberations.

In the end, Hillary Clinton’s plan famously failed, and no plan was ever passed. Cooper, whose campaign fortunes that year would have been boosted by the success of anybody’s health-care plan, lost his Senate race to the GOP’s Fred Thompson and was out of office.

Fade to 2007, when Cooper, now back in Congress and representing Nashville, had become head of the Barack Obama campaign in Tennessee, and, not exactly by coincidence, Obama was pushing a non-mandatory health-care plan very similar to Cooper’s in 1994.

On Tuesday,just hours before Hillary Clinton was to speak to the Democratic National Convention Denver, Cooper addressed the Tennessee delegation at lunch. His main call was for party unity, as he held out hope that Tennessee, which has gone Republican in recent years, might end up in Obama’s column in 2008. He had nothing but praise for Clinton, his onetime rival, and predicted that she would go on to become “a great career as a senator.”

In an interview afterward, Cooper spoke on the sensitive issue of bringing all of Hillary Clinton’s people under Obama’s roof., “We have to give the Hillary delegates time to heal,” he said.”We can’t pressure them at all. We’ll love and respect them and they’ll love and respect us in return. We’ll have this solved by November.”

For all the prognoses of national pundits concerning an intractable corps of unforgiving Hillaryites who might either sit on heir hands or even vote for Republican John McCain, Cooper said firmly, “I don’t know of any in Tennessee. But the Republicans are enjoying trying to divide us and split us apart.”

Did he take satisfaction from ending up close to the catbird seat in the health-care debate? “Well, what did Vince Lombardi say? ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.’ Pause. “Of course, he had a pretty good winning record.”

Cooper, who is now backing the current Wyden-Bennett proposal in Congress, said, “We will have a good health–care plan of some sort if Barack Obama is elected. John McCain won’t do anything. The main thing is to have a plan that is completely bipartisan. Barack’s campaign rhetoric fits very well with that.”

He reiterated: “It has to be bipartisan. Or it will never be passed. That was the key mistake of the ‘90s. We cannot relieve the mistakes of the ‘90s.”

He didn’t need to remind anybody whose mistakes those were.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Tiger Blue

NIT: Creighton 79, Tigers 67

News Blog

U of M Announces New Tuition Structure

We Saw You

A Great Day for the Irish - and Beale Street. And more!

Intermission Impossible

Farce Meets Horror in a Top Notch Radiant Vermin

News Blog

State: Keto, Paleo Diets Boon to Tennessee Farmers

News Blog

Memphis Ranked on Dog Parks

Politics Beat Blog

If It's a Thursday Night in March, There Must Be Candidate Events

Hungry Memphis

Barbarossa Brothers Opening Downtown

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Us

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Jackson Baker

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2019

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation