Saturday, October 4, 2008

Maverick - How to Brand Yourself

When I hear the word "Maverick" the image of of James Garner from the old western comedy has been seared into my brain. The word is brandished about these days and now firmly affixed to Presidential Candidate John McCain by his own doing. And now running mate Sarah Palin has placed herself on the "Team of Mavericks". But I never gave much thought to what the word actually means.

Webster's Dictionary offers the two definitions:
  1. an unbranded range animal ; especially : a motherless calf
  2. an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

I find this interesting for two reasons - We don't know in fact if either are without brands and to call yourself a "Team of Mavericks" is like calling yourself a "Team of Loners".

But most interesting is the third thing which I failed to mention existed when I said "two reasons" just one sentence ago - and that is the etymology of Maverick. Apparently it refers to 19th century American pioneer and rancher Samuel A. Maverick who made the bold decision not to brand his cattle's flesh and thereby not providing a way to separate his cattle from others. Ranchers called him a Maverick for doing so - or maybe they were just referring to him by name. It would have been later that lazy ranchers who didn't brand their cattle were called out for "pulling a Maverick". In fact Maverick didn't brand his cattle because he simply wasn't interested in doing so.

John McCain has labeled himself a maverick, a rebel, one who does not go along with one group. You have to be careful with how you brand yourself. That stuff doesn't come off.

I'd much prefer a leader who can lead any herd rather than the lone calf in the wilderness.


  1. One of our friends is a descendant of the Maverick clan, and the family is not pleased with McCain's use of the word.

  2. Oooo....hmmm...I equate Top Gun with maverick :)
    You are doing a lot of political posting! :) I'm glad you clarified the definition of the word "maverick" though. Before we go out to vote, we better get the facts...right???
    I find the overuse of these kinds of words distracting and redundant :) one ever seems to answer the questions asked at these debates. What else was distracting at the vice presidential debate?...The incessant winking by Palin and the "cheshire cat" grin of Bidens... entertaining yet distracting. I don't listen to debates for entertainment! I only hope people vote for the right reasons...not just because the "Like" the candidate..but more on what they stand for. I've been hearing too much...she's beautiful and he's so charismatic...hmm...just my humble thoughts...and i'm rambling this morning.

  3. I think they already branded themselves as ignorants as reinforcing the concept of republicans as non educated animals with a persistance--unfortunatly-- of self destruction of this country and the world....

    Alex Chionetti

  4. So if you can't tell one calf from the other...maybe thats why no one knows who's baby that is...sarah's or her daughters?

  5. The debate was surreal. After the fact people were arguing about who won the debate if you turned the volume off.

    We've set the bar high!

    I won't dignify the baby comment. We can be above that. But I will say that a 4-month old special needs baby should get more care from its parents than this one seems to be getting. Mom and Dad have truly put country first while the campaign together.

    And Alex - you certainly know a bit about economic meltdowns as a native Argentinian!