As he prepares to retire from the U.S. Senate, Indiana’s Dan Coats says he’d like to see his colleagues work on two issues before he goes.

One is to address in mammoth and increasing U.S. debt. He’s doing his part with a series he calls “Waste of the Week” in which he offers examples of how the government wastes money.

The other is to have an active role in the Iran nuclear agreement, which President Obama seems to think he has the authority to do without congressional involvement.

If we were to choose two worthy projects to work on, we couldn’t do a better job. The first would tackle the unsustainable growth of the government, which threatens every domestic activity. The second deals with the nation’s security, which is by far the most important constitutional duty of the federal government.

But those two projects, alas, are the two least likely to see any positive movement on in the next year and a half. There are still too many in Congress— unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans alike — for whom government is the first and best answer to everything. And it remains unclear whether there are enough senators with the courage to insist on tough sanctions if Iran doesn’t live up to a nuclear deal.

Those two issues can be addressed, though, as soon as the election is held next year if two things happen.

One is that more seats in Congress — starting with Coats’ own seat — need to be filled with people like Coats who believe in both fiscal restraint and an aggressive stance against the country’s enemies.

The other requirement is, of course, for the right person to be elected president. That means Republicans have to stop the circular firing squads that usually result in a “moderate” candidate who gets trounced in the general election.

For 2016, the Republicans have the deepest, most talented bench they have had in a long time. For an opponent they will likely have an uninspiring Hillary Clinton promising a third Obama term.

If they blow this one, they deserve everlasting scorn, and heaven help us all.