Saturday, March 17, 2007

Who Is The Angry Old Stranger There?

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000. definition number 2 for "maverick" is:

One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.

Today, whenever anyone who has paid any attention to national politics hears the word "maverick," they are likely to think of John McCain. The mainstream media has crowned him a Maverick for various reasons, mostly because he has been the most prominent Republican leader to publicly criticize President Bush. Those criticisms have been biting and numerous, hence the love from the Bush-hating press.

But is John McCain really a maverick? Let's weigh the facts. Well known fact #1: He has rebelled against the leader of his party. Lesser known fact #2: I just read that he recently got in trouble for using the racially offensive term "tar baby". The article didn't say whether he used the slur against fellow presidential hopeful Barak Obama. Anyway, that's not enough information for me to make a judgement on whether McCain is really a maverick. So I decided to investigate at his web site,

I believe that little things tell you a lot about a person. This fascinating page tells me a lot of little things about John McCain. It contains his NCAA tournament bracket. I found it a few days before the tournament started. There are several things about this that fascinate me.

First of all, McCain has a history of introducing anti-gambling legislation specifically related to college sports. Now I know that picking a bracket is not necessarily gambling, but let's be realistic. Millions of Americans pick brackets to gamble on the NCAA tournament. If you really wanted to stop gambling on college sports, you would discourage picking brackets. A maverick might make a speach saying, "I know NCAA tournament pools are immensely popular. But I believe they are immoral and if I am president, I will enact policy to put an end to them."

Score: Hypocrite 1, Maverick 0.

Secondly, let's look at the Arizona Senator's bracket. Let's see, he has his home team, Arizona beating Purdue. I do believe Purdue beat Arizona by 9.

Score: Shameless Homer 1, Maverick 0.

Finally, let's take a look at his final four: Kansas, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio State. I do believe those are all #1 seeds. I would have thought a maverick would have a couple of wild picks that no one else would dare take. Southern Illinois anyone? For Pete's sake, take a flier on someone.

Score: Front Runner 1, Maverick 0.

In fact, it looks as if his bracket is constructed in order to avoid offending anyone. Hey, Michigan voters, North Carolina was a #1 seed. I love the Spartans, but #8's just don't beat #1's very often. Maverick, indeed. The facts say no.


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