Yellow Bird: Honest leadership in Washington
"I was saddened to hear that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle won’t have a say in health care issues. On Tuesday, Daschle withdrew his name from consideration to be secretary of health and human services. The former South Dakota senator represented his state for 26 years, which means he swam in the political stream for a long time.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for him.

I met him a few years ago when I was doing a story on the new health care facilities on the Sisseton/Wahpeton reservation in Sisseton, S.D. He and I sat and talked about how he was able to get the new facility for the Dakota people on the reservation. He was charming and yet humble. He seemed like an honest man.

When the news broke recently about Daschle’s tax problems, I argued at first that Daschle would be good for the Obama administration because he cared for all people, not just a few. I argued that American Indians had few friends in Washington who would speak for us, and Daschle was one of them. And I argued that he knows health care. He has written a book and studied the issue.

There must be another side to the accusations, which hold that he underpaid his federal income taxes by more than $128,000 over several years, I said. Daschle is a smart man and helped write tax legislation, after all. Surely, he knew that those laws also applied to him.

Apparently, I was wrong."

Get the Story:
DORREEN YELLOW BIRD: Like Diogenes, we search for an honest man (The Grand Forks Herald 2/4)

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