Maverick family to McCain: No way are you one of us!

October 6, 2008

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.’ ”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder (McCain greets people in Sedona, Arizona)


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I’ve been hoping that someone would write an article about how McCain probably is a type of maverick but that all mavericks don’t necessarily rebel in a positive direction (let’s face it, progressive direction is not in the generic definition).

mav·er·ick [ mávvərik, mávvrik ] (plural mav·er·icks)


1. independent person: an independent thinker who refuses to conform to the accepted views on a subject

Now think about Bush. You could argue that he is also a maverick:

Bush refuses to accept that invading Iraq was the wrong thing to do
Bush refuses to accept that global warming is real
Bush refuses to accept that he needs to respect the international treaties the US has signed
Bush refuses to accept that Guantanamo Bay is a travesty and should be shut down.
I could go on and on as we all know.

The democrats would do well to re-frame the word maverick imo and then ask the electorate if they really want another maverick in the white house.

Posted by katy | Report as abusive

McCain is a hack

Go read the Webster’s dictionary definition of the word and deal with it!

Posted by U. Gottobekiddn | Report as abusive

James Garner is the Original Maverick as far as I know

These maverick people in texas need to get over themselves. Heck I am not even a McCain supporter and I think this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive

After reading nearly all of the above comments…. well I still say this is much ado about nothing. they dont OWN the name…. it a word/term….. that happens to be their name… big deal, get over it.

No matter who gets elected it will eventualy be politics as usual…. THEIR agenda… not what the people want or need…. that is evident in the recent “bail out bill”. Politicians of both parties will say ANYTHING, PROMISE anything to gain votes and figure out how to justify NOT coming thru on those promises AFTER they are well entrenched in office.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive

We have been here since 1832 and you moved here when? Appears that when facts are presented, you resort to personal attacks. Sadly, I had hoped you were above such things.

Posted by laura | Report as abusive

McCain is a Maverick in that sense of that piece of junk car of the 70′s, the Maverick.

Posted by Joe Momma | Report as abusive

Way to go Maudie! I’m right there with ya!
Well…dont’ mean any disrespect to cousin Terrellita Maverick, but there are a lot of Maverick family members and she doesn’t speak for ALL of the “family”…some of us have had the good sense to become Republicans…so sorry…but not ALL Mavericks are upset that McCain calls himself a Maverick…VOTE MCCAIN/PALAN…but thanks for the publicity for the family…even though it was negative!

Posted by Maverick N. Houston | Report as abusive

James Garner = Maverick

Tom Cruise = Maverick

The Maverick Family = A whole herd of Mavericks

John McCain = George W.

Sarah Palin = Mini Me

Posted by Shelley | Report as abusive

This family needs to get off it, I’m sorry their family name has become a generic term but is nobody allowed to use this word if they do not follow the moral path of this family? It is ridiculous that subjects like this even come up in an election. “Oh my goodness he says Maverick, oh and Obama smokes, and McCain has foreign cars, and Obama’s pastor said….” Let’s focus on the real issues, we don’t want an election decided on a catch phrase, smoking preferences, or brand choices.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

McCain got the moniker “Maverick” because he voted with the Democrats against his own party. However he hasn’t done that in a while because he votes 90%+ of the time with Bush. McCain – A failure at the Naval Academy, a “crash” pilot, a cheater on his first wife, and the gigolo to his second wife…a man who spent most of his life living off someone…either the goverment or a woman…boy that’s some “maverick”

Posted by nanabelle | Report as abusive

All of the vilification, personal attacks, outright lies, and character asasisanation (rats! forgot how to spell that word)from both the candidates for our nation’s highest office leave me a little disturbed. Neither candidate can guarantee that his legislative proposals will be enacted, it takes a congress to do that! Whatever your beliefs,in the goodness of either of them, or their qualifications, exercise your right to vote. I spent over twenty years of my life trying to protect that right for you. Use it wisely, please.

Posted by kyle | Report as abusive

hmmmm, hasn’t anyone noticed that Mcain acts like he is out of his friken mind? Come-on, is this the both the parties have to offer? i voted for bush in 2000… that was a big mistake..

Posted by steve | Report as abusive

So amusing to see conservatives bring up Clinton here for the umpteenth time. Let us remember that under Clinton, World Trade Center terrorists of 1993 were arrested, tried and convicted. Bin Laden, whom the Bush administration ignored when a report on him was shown to them, is still at large seven years after 9/11/01, still releasing tapes taunting the US and reminding all of GOP incompetence. As for the Maverick family name, I appreciate knowing that it has a PROGRESSIVE history in Texas and admire the family for standing up for their family ideals. McCain-Palin regularly steal from progressives, even trying to appropriate the “change” label from Obama. Now that their ideas are shown to be empty and the deregulated economy McCain advocated is tanking, they are reduced to attacking Obama personally. I don’t think mudslinging is working well, though.

Posted by Anais | Report as abusive

Even the KSAT news in San Antonio said at the end of their piece (where they interview my grandmother) they say” Now the Maverick family is NOT non partisan. They have a long history of voting Democratic.”. Maudie and Houston… stop acting like you represent anywhere near the majority in this family. You know very well that we ARE the MAJORITY and liberal ideas have all ways been at the cornerstone of our tradition.

Posted by Maury Maverick Harms | Report as abusive

I know the Mavericks. One of them is a neighbor here in San Antonio. She lives in a streetcar on the remains of the Sunshine Ranch.

John McCain and Sarah Palin are NO Mavericks.

Posted by Jim Newman | Report as abusive

In today’s loose usages of words, McCain qualifies as a maverick because of his many divisions with the Republican Party. Most notably, his refusal to use the earmark system that is popular with both parties (It’s how they buy support back home). Then there is campaign finance reform, that Republicans did not support it. He voted to give President Clinton the authority to veto by line item. On the Iraq War, he voted along with Harry Reid, H. Clinton, Joe Bidden, and 27 other Senate Democrats. He went against President Bush on “the Surge” in Iraq. He went against the Republicans to form the “Gang of 14″ to prevent the Senate from losing the filibuster when considering nominated judges.

BTW, he’s been referred to, in admiring terms, as maverick by both Democrats and the legacy media since at least 1993. That is 15 years now.

Why is it all of a sudden not a true characterization?

Election year politics, eh?

Posted by Mover | Report as abusive

According to the washington post, McCain has voted along party lines 88% of the time. He was also accused of corruption in the keating five scandal in 1989. He then claimed that he would not align himself with “agents of intolerance” who were “pandering to the outer reaches of American politics.” That didn’t stop him from giving the commencement speech at Jerry Fallwell’s Liberty University six years later. He is against gay rights. He is against abortion. He is for expanded government wiretapping. He believes the 10 commandments “would bring virtue to our schools”. That sounds like GOP politics to me.

Besides, it’s the Mavericks name. If they say he doesn’t represent the values they hold dear, then he doesn’t.

Posted by Helfrick | Report as abusive

Terrellitta is old money Texas Yellow Dog Democrat liberal elite. Never worked a day in her life and has never been face to face with her principles to see if they can really walk on their hind legs. They just “know” better than the rest of us, like the Kennedy Family.

Posted by John | Report as abusive