The Maverick Party
Carlton M. Caves
2008 October 4

At dawn two figures emerge slowly from the eastern horizon, riding white horses out of a purple sky tinted with delicate pinks and oranges. The figure on the taller horse rides with the confidence that comes from years of riding to the rescue of his country. He wears the traditional, plain outfit of a western hero, topped by a big white hat. His partner is dressed entirely in black, except for a smaller white hat and bright red boots with matching stirrups. As the sun rises above the horizon, it lights up the enormous stone monuments of a classic western landscape. The theme song from the stone-age TV series Maverick echoes across the landscape, and we hear the two riders conversing in low tones.

JOHN : Sarah, I wish it was morning in America again.

SARAH : You betcha, John, and look at that sun rising. It is morning again, so shake off your depression about those recent polls.

But doggone-it, why did God make the world so the sun rises first on all those East Coast politicians and the liberal media elite? And why does it come up on Russia at all? God knows best, but it just doesn't seem fair. Maybe, though, God's right. Maybe there's no other way to keep God's light on Alaska, when we're only separated from Russia by that narrow, maritime boundary that I keep an eye on now that I'm governor.

JOHN : Sarah, I like that straight talk. It's why I put you on the ticket after talking to you just twice. I knew that if you can argue with God, you'll give me the straight talk. But actually, I wasn't talking about this particular morning here that we're riding out of. I was thinking about the good old days under Reagan. Morning in America. That was his slogan, you know.

SARAH : Gosh, John, I'm so excited to be running with someone who was actually alive when Reagan was president. Didn't you tell me that you knew Reagan? That's so neat. Reagan's my biggest hero. After you, of course, since you're the only person I know who has ever fought for all Americans.

JOHN : Don't worry about Reagan, Sarah. He's no longer with us, so I'm happy to be your biggest living hero.

SARAH : But, you know, John, we really didn't learn anything about Reagan in school, maybe because we never got up to World War II.

JOHN : Sarah, you need to get this straightened out before you do any more interviews. You were alive when Reagan was president.

SARAH : Really?

JOHN : Yes. Reagan was president when you were in high school and college.

SARAH : Doggone-it, John, I didn't know that. I learn something every time we talk.

JOHN : And I like that you're such a fast learner, Sarah. But you really have to remember this one. Some liberal interviewer, like Katie Couric, might ask you about it and start thinking you're unqualified if you don't know when Reagan was president.

SARAH : Sure thing, John. But what happened to morning in America?

JOHN : Washington and Wall Street ruined it for the rest of us. They got corrupt and greedy, they learned to use cell phones and Blackberries, and they got rid of their kitchen tables, so how can they have a discussion around one. And, they don't play hockey either. At least I don't think they do. We didn't play hockey when I was a kid, so I don't know much about it, but I understand a lot of moms are playing it now.

SARAH : John, come on now. You must be kidding. Were you listening to my big speech at the convention? Didn't you hear me say that a hockey mom wears lipstick? How else could you tell a hockey mom from a pit bull? Did you think you can actually play hockey when you're wearing lipstick? No. The moms are wearing lipstick while they watch their kids play.

JOHN : Really? I didn't know that. I learn so much from you, Sarah. How can anyone say you're not qualified to be president when you tell me things like that. And I made sure Katie Couric heard how valuable you are to me when she asked if I was consulting you.

SARAH : For sure, John! You nailed her! But what I mainly remember from my debate with that slick Eastern politician, Joe Biden, is that we're mavericks, aren't we?

JOHN : Sarah, that's the most important thing to remember. We're the only two mavericks in the country, and we're running for president and vice president on the Maverick Party ticket.

SARAH : What about Joe Lieberman? Isn't he sort of like a maverick?

JOHN : Well, yes, he is. Sort of. But he doesn't ride a horse---maybe it's not kosher---and besides, an East Coast politician can never be a real maverick, only a sort of honorary one. Let's just let him be an Independent instead of a Maverick.

SARAH : So it's just the two of us. The two mavericks. In the whole world. Boy, that's exciting! But, wait a minute now. Didn't I give my big speech at the Republican convention?

JOHN : Yeah, yeah, you did. And a lot of people still think we're Republicans. But you can't win as a Republican, so we're running as mavericks.

SARAH : So how are we mavericks different from Republicans?

JOHN : First of all, you need to know---but don't tell anyone---that we're going to continue doing pretty much what Bush has been doing for the last eight years.

SARAH : But, John, didn't that run the country into the ground?

JOHN : Yes, it did, so the important thing is what we'll do different.

SARAH : And what's that?

JOHN : We'll be mavericks. We know Washington is corrupt and Wall Street is greedy and corrupt. We know what the American people need. We know what's right. And we're going to fight for it.

SARAH : That's exactly what I told Joe Biden when he kept speaking up during the debate. No matter what I was asked, I told the American people we're mavericks and that we'd fight for them.

JOHN : I was so proud of you, Sarah. God, I love being a maverick. I loved it when you said we would provide the massive oversight Wall Street needs and we would set business free to do whatever it wants. That's a perfect example of a maverick position. And you were great when you said you wouldn't waste time arguing about the cause of global warming because we're just going to deal with it without knowing the cause.

Hear that music? Maverick, maverick, maverick. Makes you feel kind of giddy, doesn't it?

SARAH : You betcha, John! Kind of reminds me of a revival meeting. You have to get in the spirit. People are so very wrong when they say you're not religious, John. Being a maverick is all about faith.

But, John, sometimes I wonder. I know we're mavericks. I really do. But what exactly is a maverick? I mean, how is a maverick different from being you? And me, now that I'm running with you?

JOHN : Well, Sarah, the reason you don't know has nothing to with your qualifications. It's because you grew up in Alaska, where they have moose and grizzly bears and stuff like that, but they don't have real mavericks. Listen close now. A maverick is a cow that doesn't have a brand.

SARAH : And that's good? What does it have to do with us?

JOHN : No brand. That's us, Sarah. The Maverick Party---you and me---doesn't have a brand. The Democrat Party, well, they do have a brand. You pretty much know what they're going to do when they get into office, and it's all bad for America. Just think about the peace and prosperity of the Clinton-Gore years. The Republican Party has a brand, too, and even though it's pretty much our brand, nobody wants to buy it any more because of George Bush.

SARAH : Darn that Bush for screwing up our chances. I knew he'd blundered a lot.

JOHN : So we're running without a brand. That's what makes us mavericks. We don't tell anyone what we're going to do. We just say we're mavericks. Mavericks fight for all of America and know what's right for America, and we'll do it.

SARAH : That's just what I said in the debate, John. Anybody listening would know we're mavericks, for sure, because I told them over and over again, but nobody would have any idea what we're going to do, because I really don't know. I'm a real maverick.

JOHN : Yes, you are, Sarah, and I'm so proud of you.

Here's the ranch. I'm itching to get back on the campaign trail now. We've got to start hitting Barack hard, because without a brand, what else does a maverick have to say?

   Index to CMC commentaries