According to the White House, it's been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy awarded the
first Presidential Medals of Freedom.
Lugar joins an extremely impressive list of 2013 award winners from all walks of life. President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, baseball great Ernie Banks, newsman Ben Bradlee, former Senator Daniel Inouye, singer Loretta Lynn, astronaut Sally Ride, civil rights leaders Bayard Rustin, C.T. Vivian and Gloria Steinem, coach Dean Smith, jazzman Arturo Sandoval, Judge Patricia Wald, scientist Mario Molina, and psychologist Daniel Kahneman will all receive Presidential Medals of Freedom as well this year. It's the highest civilian honor one can receive from the President. It's well-deserved for Lugar.
It's also an honor that likely will never be bestowed upon the man that defeated Lugar in the 2012 Primary Election, Richard Mourdock. While Lugar is accepting his award, Mourdock is desperately trying to find his next job after being forced to leave office at the end of his term as Indiana Treasurer of State due to term limits. Honestly, it makes Mourdock's landslide victory over Lugar even more hard to believe and hard to fathom.
What is true is that both men are out of office as a result of things they did to themselves. Mourdock's unfortunate comments about rape in the final 2012 Senatorial Debate cemented the momentum Joe Donnelly was feeling at the end of the campaign and made a close race a big win. Lugar's inability to connect with the Hoosier State that once loved him so much made a shoo-in eighth term in the Senate nothing but a dream.
The image of Richard Lugar, the statesman, will carry the day. It should. Few Hoosiers have contributed so much to the country. Lugar did us all proud in Washington, and he should be congratulated for his long service to Hoosiers and to the American people. Congratulations Senator Lugar.