Maverick family to McCain: No way are you one of us!
PHOENIX – “He’s a maverick.” “He’s the consummate maverick.” “We’re a team of mavericks.” – You’ve all heard it time and again in recent weeks as Republican John McCain and fresh-faced running mate Gov. Sarah Palin slap on the maverick label to differentiate themselves from the GOP herd corralled inside the beltway in Washington.
But the New York Times reported on Sunday that the real Mavericks – a storied south Texas family with a long tradition in progressive politics – are not too happy about what they say is the misappropriation of their family name.
“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick,” the Times reported Terrellita Maverick, 82, saying. The San Antonio resident is the scion of a family which has been outspoken about liberal causes for generations, and has otherwise bucked conventions.
The family’s name crept into the language for Samuel Augustus Maverick, a rancher who became known for not branding his cattle in the 1800s. Any unbranded cows found out on the range were simply known as “Maverick’s.”
Ranching aside, the Times reported that members of the Maverick family also have a long history championing often unpopular civil libertarian causes — from the rights of indentured servants in long ago New England to defending the cause of “draft resisters, atheists and others scorned by society” more recently in Texas.
Aside from an unbranded calf, the word maverick has come to mean a lone dissenter who takes an independent stand from his or her associates – a label handy for McCain, who has tried to distance his campaign from eight years of rule by the increasingly unpopular President George W. Bush. Nevertheless, the veteran Republican Arizona senator’s appropriation of the word still grates on the original Mavericks.
He “is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase,” the Times reported Terrellitta, 82, as saying.
“It’s just incredible – the nerve! – to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’ ”
Photo credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder (McCain greets people in Sedona, Arizona)