Lessons Coble has taught us

By John Peters

November 8, 2013

Yesterday U.S. Rep. Howard Coble announced he will not seek re-election. In so doing, he is bringing to close a 30-year career representing a portion of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Coble is a conservative, and is widely recognized as such.

However, his brand of conservatism is a bit different than what many have come to view as right-wing politics today.

He has been known as a politician who could reach across party lines at times, work with others to build consensus, and even oppose others without going off the deep end and villifying those who disagreed with him. Just this week, in comments he made while visiting the Southeastern United Grape and Wine Symposium at Surry Community College, Coble expressed his support for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who won re-election this week.

Christie, though a Republican, is considered perhaps a step or two above the anti-Christ by many hard-line conservatives because he dared to actually do his job and work with the President of the United States when New Jersey was slammed by Hurricane Sandy a year ago.

He also called Christie a “good man” and said his brand of more main-stream politics needed to be embraced by his party to make the GOP more inclusive.

Coble also has shown an understanding that those elected to serve in Congress should use that post to actually serve the people of their districts. Being in Congress should not be an opportunity to line one’s own pockets, or set one’s self up with a big fat life-long pension, as seems to be the attitude among many serving in that body today.

Coble consistently voted against Congressional pay raises during his time in office, and he rejected the generous pension plan available to those in Congress.

While much will no doubt be said about Coble and his service over the coming year as he finishes out his final term, we think these two principles — being more inclusive in working with people of all political and social stripes, and rejecting the temptation to enrich himself at the expense of his constituents — are two characteristics that all who serve in politics should take to heart.