Nation: Sooner Savvy

From the amalgam of Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees and hardbitten white frontiersmen who settled it, Oklahoma somehow evolved as a state that was not distinctively Western, Southern or Eastern but marked by a conglomerate sectionalism all its own. Today its cultural patterns are Eastern, its outdoor way of life Western, and its political style distinctly Southern.

For years, Oklahoma's Carl Albert, Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been a power second only to the Speaker. And until death silenced his oratorical thunder in 1963, the Sooner State's Bob Kerr had...