THE BLOG
10/26/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Maverick in the White House

McCain, the Maverick. It makes marketers grin with glee -- it pops. The name sounds good and channels the image Republicans fancy in the mirror. This is why the McCain campaign chose it. Like McCain, who leads with his gut, the campaign is using a label to create an image where it lacks solid solutions. It's not original. Tom Cruise's irresponsible, distrusted pilot in Top Gun? Mel Gibson's portrayal of the gambler in the movie, Maverick? McCain and the Republicans have poured resources into the Maverick brand. The candidate believes he has earned this branding, "Maverick," rather than "legislator" or "Senator." Let him have it.

Maverick comes from Samuel Maverick, Jr, who is most well known for refusing to brand his cattle. This stubborn refusal is how the word "maverick" entered the English lexicon. Samuel Maverick bears a striking resemblance to our current President, George W. Bush. He came from a well to do family, was educated at Yale, lost his first bid for office before he was successfully elected from a small town in Texas, and owned lots of acreage in the Lone Star state.

The origin of maverick should help voters understand both Senator McCain and President Bush. "Maverick" fits the Republican rule of the last eight years under the Bush Administration as easily as it does McCain. The term appropriately describes a "leader" who, after receiving the wisdom of those who had actual experience, decided to stubbornly go it alone. George W. has ignored counsel and warnings on everything from wars to foreign policy to economics. Mavericks do not listen to sound advice.

McCain the Maverick showed us the way he would govern with the first test any Presidential nominee goes through. After repeatedly stressing that the most important quality in a Vice President is for her or him to be ready to serve as Commander in Chief, McCain picked a Vice Presidential nominee who even the conservative columnists, who support her ideology, say is not ready to be President. Maverick McCain did not pick Sarah Palin because, of all the choices he had, she was the most prepared to be President. No. McCain made the pick to prove to himself and everyone who knows him that he really is a Maverick. Mission accomplished. He showed how effectively he, like Bush, could ignore critical facts in a crucial decision.

Mavericks are people who believe government regulations are a problem. They will say markets will take care of themselves except when a financial disaster strikes. Then they will say regulation and government intervention is the answer. A maverick will blame Wall St. before they will take a look at how their own votes and ideas affected a situation. McCain proved he is a Maverick with his flip flop on financial regulations, his observation of "the strong economy" and his same day revision with, "the economy is at risk."

Mavericks do not know the difference between being in charge and being a leader. A maverick is someone who, rather than looking at the facts on the ground and consulting people who can interpret and understand those facts, practices shoot from the hip diplomacy. The world is more dangerous, unemployment is rising, the economy is unstable and the future is uncertain because a maverick has been in charge. To put it in a Bushism, practicing "maverickism" is how we got to where we are today.

Mavericks see laws as pesky documents. Samuel Maverick routinely disregarded the law wherever he went. George Bush ignored the Constitution.

Mavericks are only accountable when things go well. But when they fail, they play the Washington blame game to perfection. While pointing his finger at the media, Hollywood, the other party, or the people he put in charge, a maverick will never take responsibility for his actions. Washington has enough mavericks that prefer ranting and raving, over providing real solutions for the people. America's frustration with Washington insiders and the desire for change is not a hope for more Mavericks. It is about seeking accountable, responsible adults -- having elected officials who feel the pain of an economy where incomes are going down while the cost of everything else is going up; officials who take their jobs seriously and get things done that make a positive difference in people's lives. Mavericks put the financial interests of themselves and their friends first, not the country and not the people.

"The idea of a presidency under that man sends cold chills down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me." A Democrat or Republican didn't say this about a member of the opposite party. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, a fellow Republican Senator, said it about John McCain.

John "Maverick" McCain's presidency will not lead the country away from the current Administration's reckless and disastrous decisions. He believes he can turn our country around by being a maverick. Samuel Maverick said his reason for not branding his cattle was that he didn't want to inflict pain. His fellow ranchers however, said the real reason was it allowed him to collect any unbranded cattle and claim them as his own. He was the original Maverick. The question for the 2008 election should not be, "who do you want to have a beer with?" People should instead ask, "Can we survive another maverick in the White House?"