I have to give the McCain people credit: they are students of the written word. According the the Oxford English Dictionary, they have nailed one of the term’s meanings:
U.S. A thing obtained dishonestly.
It makes even more sense when you look at the origin of that usage: the western part of the United States:
1890 Cent. Dict., Maverick,..anything dishonestly obtained, as a saddle, mine, or piece of land. (Western U.S.).
I apologize to the McCain campaign for suggesting that it was no longer appropriate to refer to the Senator as a maverick. It’s never been more true. Given that McCain and Palin have demonstrated that they will say any lie, as many times as necessary to win election, we might want to change the name of the office if they win.