Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

December 21, 2012

An era ends as Lugar, Daniels move on

(Continued)

Asked how he has changed the office of governor during his eight years, Daniels said, "We did have a more activist approach, I think it's fair to say, than our recent predecessors. I felt, and it's the reason I ran in the first place, that Indiana was drifting and slipping and we needed to get in motion against a lot of big problems."

As I observed a couple of weeks ago, the Daniels governorship can be viewed as "transformative" because of its audacious scope and conspicuous use of political capital.

The Lugar legacy, with the exception of his roles in the Bush 3 Iraq and Afghanistan wars, is already burnished. For instance, his freedom to farm legislation has opened a prosperous era of higher commodity prices and rising land values. That rural Republicans were so quick to turn on him is fascinating.

Last week, President Obama called the Nunn-Lugar program "one of the country's smartest and most successful national security programs." Obama told an audience at the Pentagon, "Early in the Cold War, Einstein warned of the danger of our wisdom not keeping pace with our technology. And with Nunn-Lugar, our wisdom began to catch up. Your legacy will endure in a safer and more secure world, and a safer and more secure America. And we pray that this nation produces more leaders with your sense of decency and civility and integrity. We are grateful to you."

The irony is that as he exits office, the Syrian regime appeared poised to use chemical weapons that Lugar fought so ardently to contain.

Lugar gave his farewell address on the Senate floor on and he warned, "The potential catastrophe remains of a major terrorist attack on American soil employing weapons of mass destruction. If that happens, in addition to the lives lost, our expectations for economic growth and budget balancing could be set back by a decade or more.

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