On the other hand, maybe that’s just as well. One of the all-time historical mavericks, according to Lauderdale’s methodology, was one William “Wild Bill” Langer, whose biography is titled, natch, The Dakota Maverick. Here’s how Lauderdale describes his career:

…Langer (R-ND) had been removed from office as governor of North Dakota after a felony conviction for fraud in 1934, an episode that led to Langer (temporarily) declaring North Dakota independent of the U.S. and barricading himself in the state house with a group of armed supporters. His popularity resilient, Langer was re-elected Governor in the following election, and then elected to the Senate in 1940. Langer was sufficiently controversial that the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections recommended that Langer not be seated 13-3, but was overturned 52-30 by the full Senate. During his legislative career, Langer opposed Lend Lease, NATO, and the Marshall Plan. Unlike most Americans (senators included), Langer was no fan of Winston Churchill, “in 1951, when the former British Prime Minister visited the U.S. Langer sent a telegram to the pastor of Boston’s Old North Church requesting that two lanterns be placed in the belfry to warn Americans that the British were coming.”

Maybe the “M” word shouldn’t be used as a compliment, after all?

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Greg Marx is an adjunct lecturer at The Medill School and a facilitator with The OpEd Project. She served as an editorial board member, columnist, library director, and No. 2 in the features department of the Chicago Sun-Times.