In a new irritating advertisement, John McCain and Sarah Palin are described as "the original mavericks." Like so many of the other McCain ads. it's misleading. (An earlier ad proclaimed that Barack Obama was "ready to raise taxes," though McCain wants to tax employer-provided health insurance--a huge tax increase on the middle class.) But the innuendos about Obama and the half-truths about Palin's accomplishments are par for the course. But "original mavericks?" Whether the are mavericks in any sense of the word is problematic. But there's only one original maverick, and it's not John McCain or Sarah Palin.
The term maverick comes from Samuel Augustus Maverick (1803-1870), a Texas lawyer, politician and rancher. He fought in the Texas Revolution, first opposed, and then supported the secession of Texas from the Union, and was a major landowner. But his nickname came from his practice of not branding cattle. According to Wikipedia, "Maverick steadfastly refused to brand his cattle. As a result, the word maverick entered the English lexicon, meaning both an unbranded range animal as well as a slang term for someone who exhibits a streak of stubborn independence. Maverick's stated reason for not branding his cattle was that he didn't want to inflict pain on them. Other ranchers however, suspected that his true motivation was that it allowed him to collect any unbranded cattle and claim them as his own."
McCain isn't the original maverick, but his television ads--from the "Summer of Love" to the Britney Spears/Paris Hilton commercial to the current "Original Mavericks" ad demonstrate the kind of deception for personal gain that Samuel Maverick was accused of.