Coats: Don’t Hold a Grudge in Politics

Commentary: Robert Coats

Never make a political argument permanent against anyone in your own political party, except for one thing: you know them to be a total and utter fraud or liar.

Your political opponents can end up being some of your greatest allies later if you can honestly find common ground and let go of the past between yourself and them. Always try to bring people toward your arguments by not having to take credit for anything. You can hit someone very hard on ideas (or lack of them) in a campaign. After a campaign is over and my side or candidate has won, I always try to be kind to those who did not win. About 90% of my intraparty opponents on issues/campaigns end up being friends and allies on later issues or even my own campaigns.

Why? Respect for the process. Respect for myself. Respect for my opponents.

When someone else is at a low point, most people relish their short term victory over their political opponents. Everything in this world is short term. Offer your opponents a position of influence and a chance to shine. Bring them into your point of view.

However, during a campaign, I am in total beast mode. If you lie about me or a candidate or an idea that is not true-you will hear from me. Most of my political buddies have disagreed with me sharply. I have probably yelled at them or made them feel like we would always be battling.

Good politicians have short memories and forge alliances. Great leaders rise above the petty and forge a path that elevates everyone around them through timeless ideas and are unafraid to walk alone if need be.

But who wants to really be alone? I love people and mostly want their understanding and empathy for my point of view. My point of view is that limited government is out of style, and that makes me out of style in the current political context. I am ok with it. I have been alone before in politics. I believe in personal kindness, but not at the expense of my beliefs. I believe in redemption and grace. Be kind to everyone in and outside of your political beliefs, but do not abide or traffic in lies.

I am doing “Rock the Boat” with Reagan Reed because he has the sharpest political mind of anyone I know under the age of thirty in Montgomery County. I have made many political mistakes or misjudgments in my life and so has my friend. But if you cant forgive me or my friends for your perceptions or beliefs that are honestly arrived through learning or experience, you are not showing grace or humility.

Forgive your opponents after the battle. This is an American Core Belief. My grandfathers had it towards their foes in WW2. Great men seek understanding and grace. Great men fight battles, but never relish war. If I have tangled with you in politics, most of you are now my friends. I practice what I preach.

Real unity is better when it is metaphorically bloody and is forged between strong individuals. Love to all who enter the arena for others. It is not easy to present yourself as a champion for others, but it can be a noble pursuit.

The Forty-Five News also spoke with Mr. Coats about the recent news that potential congressional candidate Christian Collins met with House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Here’s what he had to say:

“Christian is signaling his alliance with the Freedom Caucus to differentiate himself from Congressmen Brady. Brady is in the middle of the spectrum in the Republican Party, bolstered by his near total embrace of President Trump. To the untrained eye, he is just reaching out to the right, but to me it is a more strategic differentiation between himself and his former boss. Marry this approach to the courting of Establishment groups and speaking in more rural counties to various religious and elected officials- I see insider strategy that is pretty epic, and deliberate.”

Coats told the Forty-Five News that he has not yet endorsed any candidate in the CD-08 and is waiting to see who will run.

Published by Reagan Reed

Reagan is a journalist and educator from East Texas. He has been involved in numerous campaigns, worked at the Texas Legislature, and covered Texas politics for years as a journalist.

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