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home : most recent : statewide implications August 20, 2018


8/8/2018 7:54:00 PM
COMMENTARY: High marks for compromise

Ken de la Bastide, Herald Bulletin City and County Government Reporter

The Indianapolis PBS station recently broadcast a program focusing on the career of former Indiana Senator Richard Lugar.

Its title was “Reason’s Quiet Warrior,” and it really showed the Republican’s ability to reach a compromise by bringing opposing factions to a middle ground.

What I didn’t realize until recently was that as a member of the Indianapolis Public Schools board, Lugar played a central role in the desegregation of the school system in the 1960s.

That propelled him to the mayor’s office in Indianapolis, at that time ending a long stretch of Democratic Party mayors. As mayor, he helped pass the Uni-Gov system of government, which merged the capital city with the suburbs and assured a secure property tax base.

Lugar first lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 1974 to Democrat Birch Bayh following the Watergate scandal that had brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon.

But two years later, he defeated Vance Hartke, which set the stage for a record six terms in the U.S. Senate.

During his tenure in the U.S. Senate Lugar was viewed as an expert when it came to foreign affairs and, along with Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat from Georgia, was instrumental in dealing with the nuclear, chemical and biological weapons disposal when the Soviet Union fell apart in various factions.

In 1995, Lugar announced his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination for president and was considered a potential front-runner. On the day he made his announcement the national news was dominated by the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City.

He lost a bid for the Senate nomination in 2012 to Richard Mourdock, a darling of the Tea Party movement. Their complaint was that Lugar wasn’t conservative enough and was too willing to compromise on long-standing GOP philosophies.

I always thought that the nation’s and Indiana’s changing attitudes were a leading cause of Lugar’s defeat.

Instead of wanting to elect political leaders willing to compromise by reaching across the aisle and finding common ground, voters wanted ideologues that would oppose compromise at every level. Although candidates from both parties will express during a campaign that they are willing to work together to bring positive change, the reality in most cases is that they will not.

Indiana is fortunate that its current senators, Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Todd Young, are able to find common ground on some issues when it comes to legislation.

They have found a way, despite philosophical differences in some areas, to find issues where they can agree and work toward a compromise.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, has also shown that ability since being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. The crux of the television program was that Richard Lugar was the best senator ever to represent Indiana.

Since he left the Senate, the Lugar Center was formed as an organization to foster bipartisanship in Congress.

It seems like right now, we need more senators like Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn.

#YYYY# Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.






Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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