Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote of the Day: Terrellita Maverick

“I’m just enraged that McCain calls himself a maverick."
So said Terrellita Maverick, an 82-year-old descendent of Samuel Augustus Maverick, to the New York Times last week.

As frequent readers will recall, Maverick was my word of the day in mid-September. Maverick came into the English language in the late-nineteenth century, a coinage after the Texas rancher, the aforementioned Samuel Augustus. He was not like other ranchers; he would not brand his calves.

According to the Times, the Maverick family has a history of liberal politics that goes back to the 1600s. And maverick isn't the only word the family has coined. Here's the Times:
Sam Maverick’s grandson, Fontaine Maury Maverick, was a two-term congressman and a mayor of San Antonio who lost his mayoral re-election bid when conservatives labeled him a Communist. He served in the Roosevelt administration on the Smaller War Plants Corporation and is best known for another coinage. He came up with the term “gobbledygook” in frustration at the convoluted language of bureaucrats.
Fontaine's son Maury Jr., who died at 82 in 2003, was a crusading lawyer in the tradition of William Kunstler. He served in the Tecxas legislature in the 50s, and when his colleagues invited Senator Joseph McCarthy to speak, he authored a counter-amendment inviting Mickey Mouse as a substitute. “If we’re going to invite a rat to visit our state,” he said at the time, “why not invite a good rat?”

With a legacy like that, it's no wonder Mavericks are in an uproar over McCain's adoption of the word. A columnist in the San Antonio Express-News, the paper that published Maury Maverick's column for years, wrote an indignant piece in September saying in part:
Unfortunately for McCain, a maverick is not someone who before 2008 occasionally broke with the status quo within his own party by acknowledging the clear threat of climate change and championing the need to give unauthorized immigrants a path to legal residency.
"By definition," the columnist Jan Jarboe Russell continues, "the leader of any political party is not a maverick. Mavericks are loners and more often than not are defined by lost, principled battles."

Terrellita Maverick, the author of the quote of the day, is Maury's sister. She's even more indignant:
“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.’

“He’s a Republican. He’s branded.”

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