What a couple of days these have been. While the experts will be arguing for years what the root cause of our economic collapse was, we know a few things for sure. As McCain said, it is "the corruption, misconduct and unbridled greed." But who are these people, these greedy, corrupt people, who are behind the massive mismanagement of their financial companies and the largest movement of wealth to the fewest people in world history?
We all know what these guys look like, how they act. They play games with our pensions so they can buy a new yacht. They announce lay offs to get spikes in their stock prices so they can hire an assistant for their butler. They drive their $350,000 Mercedes to Wall Street to speculate on oil prices using our funds. They lobby Congress to get the deregulated ability to sell us scam mortgages. They balance one stock against another hoping it all will not collapse, but still safe if it does. To these mavericks, the ends justify the means. These guys have seven homes, their own islands, their own jets and legions of servants. You and I know the same rules do not apply to them. But more importantly, they know the same rules do not apply to them. They play all day long in the games of speculation and power grabbing in a lifelong competition for higher rankings on the Forbes 400. They laugh at our problems while using the ups and downs of the economy to line their pockets.
Would you call these guys stable managers, trustworthy leaders, concerned for the country and others around them? Of course, not, they're mavericks. By definition, they don't care what we think.
Maverick: One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.
Usually we love mavericks because they're quirky and successful. The entrepreneur who pyramids his credit cards and builds a company with 700 employees; the woman who ignores her banker's advice and gets a second mortgage to fund a new purse business and ending up with a huge debt free company; the scientist who breaks convention discovers new planets; the campy cowboy who stops the bad guys but still runs away from the law. Yes, as far as TV shows, romance novels and motivational books, we love the maverick. But, is that what we need right now to bring our country back on track?
The "original maverick" John McCain says he'll fight Republicans, fight Democrats, fight lobbyists, fight "the good ole' boy network," fight the courts, to get things he wants done. In other words, he plans to take George Bush's presidential power grabs to entirely new levels, believing that he, John McCain, knows better than Congress, better than the Supreme Court, better than us all. He is a maverick, not held back by rules and laws and that pesky Constitution.
In 2006, Don Imus asked McCain about whether his campaign-finance legislation violated the First Amendment. McCain responded, "I would rather have a clean government than one where quote 'First Amendment rights' are being respected that has become corrupt," McCain said. "If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government." Yes, he said he'd rather have a clean government than respect "First Amendment rights," which he put in finger quotes as you would when mocking an idea. This maverick is going to reform the government, Bill of Rights be damned!
The "other original maverick," Sarah Palin, during her convention acceptance speech, mocked Barack Obama for wanting Americans to have rights even when the government suspects them of terrorist activities. She said, "Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America; he's worried that someone won't read them their rights." Forget the rights of the innocent, a maverick shoots all the guys in black hats and lets God sort them out. Yet another maverick mocks the Constitution and human rights.
When asked at the Saddleback Faith Forum who the wisest people are that he knows, McCain said, "General David Petraeus, John Lewis and Meg Whitman." Yet, for the first major decision of his campaign, the choice of Vice Presidential running mate, McCain gave no indication he consulted with these wisest of his advisors. Mavericks don't consult with advisors! Instead, a maverick chooses a total newcomer because she might help win the election, regardless of the long term consequences if they win.
In 2000, McCain said about negative attack advertising, "I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land." Yet today his campaign is by all accounts the sleaziest campaign in modern history. This maverick, like all mavericks, believes the ends justify the means. If honor is lost to achieve a goal, if reputations are smeared, families are broken apart, lives are ruined, it's a small price to achieve the maverick's goal.
Do we need a maverick to become President, who wants to do it all on his own, doesn't want to work with Congress or advisors, doesn't respect the Constitution and the rule of law, and feels the "ends justify the means?" How about a maverick who filled her state's most important government positions with unqualified friends from high school and church?
The economy is tanking. Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan said, "There's no question that this is in the process of outstripping anything I've seen, and it still is not resolved and it still has a way to go." The McCain maverick, after 26 years in the Senate, says he still "needs to be educated" about the economy. His maverick campaign is riddled with lobbyists who represent the very corporations and special interests that caused our current meltdown. With no interest in working with Congress, is a maverick the best option at this time?
We are at war on two fronts. "Afghanistan is in its worst shape since 2001," said Francesc Vendrell, a Spanish diplomat with eight years' experience in Afghanistan. Yet the maverick John McCain only talks about the surge in Iraq, and that he "knows how to win wars and capture Bin Laden," but apparently won't tell anyone unless he's president. Is it a maverick principle to withhold information about enemies of our country until it suits him to use it?
Our education system is in crisis. Can a maverick work with the various agencies, unions, advisors, consultants, citizens and organizations to reform our system, compromising when necessary, and building a coalition? Or would a maverick ride roughshod over everyone to try to get what he wants?