John McCain keeps calling himself “a maverick” and is even calling the McCain-Palin ticket, “Maverick Squared.”
Puh-leeze. It’s been my privilege to know some genuine mavericks, and I can tell you that McCain is not one of them. A 26-year Washington insider, the senator is now running as the trusted candidate of America’s corporate establishment. He’s such a reliable conformist to the corporate agenda that, at last count, 177 lobbyists for Big Oil, Wall Street banks, telecommunications giants, and other industries form the very core of his campaign, including every position from campaign manager to fundraising chairman.
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Meet the original maverick. An early Texas land baron and political leader, Samuel Augustus Maverick was an independent-minded rancher who refused to brand his cattle. As a result, any unbranded steer wandering the range became known as a “maverick” – a term that soon entered the vernacular to describe people who wore no one’s brand – rebels, iconoclasts, non-conformists, and dissenters.
A grandson of the old rancher took this proud independent streak into politics during the Great Depression. Maury Maverick defeated the moneyed establishment of San Antonio to become a two-term member of Congress, then became the city’s mayor, using both offices to battle the entrenched corporate powers on behalf of regular folks. His son, Maury Junior, carried the feisty spirit forward, battling the oil and gas barons as a state representative, then spending four decades as a brilliant ACLU lawyer. He represented – often for free – such outsiders and freethinkers as civil rights protesters, labor activists, McCarthyite victims, atheists, and conscientious objectors.
That, Mr. McCain, is a maverick. And you – being hoisted toward the presidency on the beefy shoulders of corporate lobbyists – are the exact opposite.
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