A Real McCain Supporter? Or Just a Clintonite on the Rebound?

By Marc Fisher
Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lynette Long's friends can barely sputter their objections. "How could you?" they say. "What about the environment? What about gay rights? What about Roe v. Wade?"

Long's son calls, flabbergasted. And her patients in affluent, liberal Bethesda? They can hardly fathom it.

Lynette Long -- psychologist, feminist, Democrat, Dupont Circle dweller, Whole Foods shopper, George Bush hater, Hillary Clinton supporter (to the max) -- is not just voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin, she even took the stage at their rally in Fairfax to trumpet her decision to the world.

Long got the call from the McCain campaign at 10 the night before the rally this month. With a twinkle in her eye, the struggle for women in her heart and a bit of mischief in her mind, she agreed to be a warm-up speaker for the Republican ticket.

She had never been to a candidate's rally before. She had voted for the Democrat for president in every election except for the elder George Bush's first time, against Michael Dukakis in 1988. Sure, she had demonstrated against the Vietnam War, but she basically wasn't the political type. That is, until Hillary Clinton came along.

All of a sudden, Long saw hope. As she told her son: "How would you feel if every day all the people you saw in authority were men, all the statues in Washington are all men, the money in your pocket, all pictures of men -- and then finally, a woman comes along and she could be president? How would you feel? I would vote for her."

Long didn't just vote for Clinton in the D.C. primary. She blogged for her, campaigned for her, even wrote op-ed columns about her. But as Clinton's campaign faltered, Long felt wronged. She blogged about purported irregularities in caucus voting, accused Barack Obama and his supporters of taking women for granted, put all her hope in the Democrats picking a woman for vice president.

After Clinton's campaign ended, Long was among a group of local supporters who called McCain headquarters, asking, "What can you do for us?" To Long's shock, they were invited to a meeting -- with McCain himself.

"We told him we wanted gender parity, on the Supreme Court and in the Cabinet, and he listened," she says. "His eyes opened." At meeting's end, a senior staffer asked Long if she would endorse their man publicly.

"No way," Long said. "I'm a Hillary supporter."

Then, lo and behold, Sarah Palin happened.

By coincidence, Long was on an Alaskan cruise that week. "Everybody there loved" Palin, Long says. "I could see people glowing with pride."

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