Steve Russell: Odds and ends and current events

"I've been writing an opinion column for one publication or another for more than 30 years. When you have promised some editor a certain word count in a certain time, you keep your eyes open for inspiring tidbits, since nobody can always stick with Great Issues. Well, maybe Rush Limbaugh can, but I've never looked up to people who take pride in not thinking deeply.

One of the complications of growing up Indian is that the old people who often have thought deeply about important things are not flashy about it. If young people don't choose to sit still and listen, most elders are like Robert Redford in ''The Horse Whisperer.'' Kids, of course, are the horses.

So you get to an age when you think you know something, but people whose depth you admire have taught you by example not to be flashy. I had a personal advantage, though, having grown up thinking that Will Rogers was the greatest Cherokee who ever lived. I have a bit broader perspective on greatness now, but I'll always be an admirer of the man who entertained so well but clearly thought about what he said.

Current events bring to mind one of the great Will Rogers bons mots: ''I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.'' The ability of the donkeys to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory has always astonished me, but they are really out over the edge of crazy this year.

First, the leading Democrat in early polls turns out to be the only candidate who can unite the Republican base: Hillary Clinton. The most experienced candidates - Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Bill ''Judas'' Richardson - all failed to reach double digits. When her coronation was delayed by the technicality of having insufficient votes, Clinton led the media on a tour of fantasyland trying to find a metric by which she could prevail. Rush Limbaugh contributed ''Operation Chaos,'' encouraging Republicans to vote in Democratic primaries for Clinton in the interest of uniting the Republican Party.

Clinton, in the meantime, embarked on ''Operation Kitchen Sink,'' which involved shoveling so much dirt on Barack Obama that he would be crippled for the general election. This tactic is also known as ''Hillary in 2012,'' given the history-making aspect of 2008. "

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Steve Russell: Odds & ends (Indian Country Today 4/21)

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