The next time I hear any television commentator, pundit or partisan hack refer to John McCain or any politician as a “maverick,” I’ll start taking hostages.
Why do the talking heads get sucked into this vortex of mediocrity and laziness and mimic each other?
A politician who bucks the establishment, makes deals with the opposing party and has an independent voice for the good of the people is not a maverick. It’s what a politician should be.
How did showing independence and not towing the party line earn McCain the maverick label? It’s like McCain is some kind of dangerous rebel, like he’s Marlon Brando in a leather jacket on a motorcycle giving the establishment the finger while riding through the desert on his way to the Burning Man Festival.
The GOP likes tough, macho language. Maverick sounds like McCain is a gunslinger coming into town to avenge the death of the sheriff. Or maybe he's a riverboat gambler in the poker game of his life, betting the old widow's ranch and staking his reputation on one hand of cards.
Not content to just have McCain bear the maverick brand, the GOP vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin is also cast as a lone maverick. Palin is a maverick because she took on members of her own party and bucked the status quo. This is a Republican going against Republicans. The GOP calls that a maverick. If a Democrat went against a Democrat, the GOP would call that a traitor.
Speaking of which, Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat-turned-Independent-turned Republican Lite gave a speech at the Republican National Convention Tuesday where he touted McCain’s maverick image.
By labeling McCain and Palin as mavericks, the GOP hopes to diffuse criticism that McCain-Palin will bring more of the same. This leaves the pundits of the right to advocate, “It won’t be more of the same! They’re mavericks!”
It used to be the term “Washington insider” was a filthy description. Saying someone is well-connected in the Beltway was the kiss of death and raises suspicion with a cynical electorate. Now it’s okay to be a Washington insider as long as you’re a maverick.
I can just imagine a scene at the convention, where a Republican operative corners a clueless TV commentator about the maverick mystique the GOP is now embracing.
“Well, McCain’s been in office for 25 years, but he’s a real maverick!” the operative intones, usually over a domestic beer.
“Yes…a maverick,” the TV commentator in the Armani suit says, holding his vodka and cranberry juice. “What a fascinating word…maverick.”
“Barrack Obama is not a maverick. Joe Biden is not a maverick,” the GOP operative says. “In fact, Biden is a Washington insider.”
“How long has Biden been in office?” the commentator asks.
“Since 1973,” the GOP operative says.
“Yikes! That is a long time. No maverick would stick around that long,” the commentator replies.
“And as for Obama…well, he’s a Muslim. You know what they’re like. They’re not like us,” the GOP operative whispers. “They travel to foreign countries and bomb thousands of people they don’t know. You’d never catch an American doing that.”
“Say! That’s right! McCain is a maverick, isn’t he?”
“So is Palin. She’s a maverick,” the GOP operative says, guzzling another beer.
“Palin? Is that the woman nobody in America heard of until last week but the Republicans are supporting her fiercely?” the cynical commentator asks while stuffing a canape into his over-educated maw.
“Sarah Palin would be a great vice president. She has more executive experience than Obama. She’s held elected office longer than Obama,” the GOP operative says. “Plus, she looks great in go-go boots. Can the freshman senator from Illinois claim that?”
“I sure hope not. That would be transvestism.”
“Palin is a maverick. The media is focusing on her 17-year old daughter having a baby. That only reinvigorates the abortion debate, the ultimate wedge issue we’ll use to crush that baby-killing Kenyan,” the GOP operative laughs, his breath reeking of brimstone.
“Wasn't Sarah Palin an advocate for abstinence education? Kinda funny since she has five kids,” the reporter guffaws.
“Well,” the GOP operative replies flatly, “maybe those cold Alaskan nights bring couples together. Maybe her story of family and motherhood will resonate with traditional, conservative voters in the Midwest. Not everyone can be like you hedonistic Manhattan liberals.”
“Golly! I never thought of that! Having babies is a very maverick thing!” the reporter says, before cavorting on the lawn with members of the American Civil Liberties Union in the gayest garden party in Minnesota’s history.