Original 'Maverick' family upset that McCain coopts their name
Before "maverick" became an overused trademark of the McCain-Palin campaign, it was a word meaning an unbranded strayed calf. But before that it was the family name of 19th century Texas lawyer and land speculator Samuel A. Maverick, who let some cattle he had acquired in payment of a debt run wild on land he owned while he lived comfortably in town.
Samuel Maverick's descendants have remained prominent in Texas affairs, and some of them are not happy about John McCain's co-opting their family name. "It's very irritating, because he is not a maverick," Fontaine Maverick told CNN.
According to Fontaine, the real "original maverick" was her grandfather, Maury Maverick, "a radical politician from San Antonio who served two terms in Congress (1935-1939). There, he led a bloc of progressive Democrats who sought to push Roosevelt and the New Deal to the left. The press quickly labeled this group 'The Mavericks.' While hugely popular with the the many poor Hispanics in his district, Maverick was far too liberal for the conservative Texas Democratic establishment. In 1938 he lost the Democratic party primary after being slandered as a communist."
"Grandfather Maury was no coward," Fontaine told Huffington Post's Charles Karel Bouley. "He chased the Klan right out of San Antonio once, stood up to the mob... Maury was burned in effigy in San Antonio, for his defense of members of the Communist Party's right to assemble, for his defense of the Hispanic community, support for those who didn't have a voice."
Fontaine's uncle, Maury Maverick, Jr., who died in 2003, became disillusioned with politics but continued to follow in his father's footsteps as a civil rights lawyer for the ACLU. He defended unpopular causes and opposed the Iraq War even on his deathbed.
"It's driving our family crazy," Fontaine says, "upsetting us and the legacy of my family, and we really with the campaign would stop misusing the word and the phrase. ... And Palin, I'm not sure she even knows the history of the word of or my family, but one thing is clear to all of my family, she truly is not a Maverick."
This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast October 9, 2008.
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