Despite being a Hoover, Lynn Forester de Rothschild is a lifelong Democrat. In the presidential primary, she put her full weight behind Hillary Clinton, helping her raise money for her campaign. But when Clinton bowed out, she paused. And then chose Republican John McCain.
"I thought about it for along time," she said Oct. 23 after visiting the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum. "I studied both McCain and (Democratic nominee Barack) Obama very carefully."
De Rothschild supported Bill Clinton in both of his presidential campaigns, then Hillary Clinton in both of her Senate races in New York.
"I really believe in the Clinton's centrist ideas for America," she said. "In a word, I believe Obama is too far to the left."
She aligns Obama with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
However, she said, McCain is a centrist for how he reached out to Democrats to get things done.
"I believe McCain is a reformer, a change agent, and he's not George Bush," de Rothschild said.
She said she thinks Obama will make the same choices that were tried and failed in the Great Depression.
"In terms of Herbert Hoover, I believe McCain is right that Barack Obama is more like Herbert Hoover in that Herbert Hoover raised taxes and trade barriers just like Obama is proposing to do. And we know the results."
De Rothschild said experience and past judgment also played into her decision.
"I think that the past is a prologue and it is not negative campaigning or swiftboating to say that the choices you have made are (fair to criticize) if you're going to hold a higher office," she said. "It matters to me that Barack Obama sat in Jeremiah Wright's church."
De Rothschild takes Wright's renuncication of "middle-classiveness" and adds it to Obama's ties to Bill Ayers, who has admitted to bombing government buildings in the 1960s and 70s.
"If you take that data point and connect it to sitting on a board and giving out $50 million to teach social activism, that's another data point," she said.
She notes that Obama renounced Bill Clinton's "workfare" program and said former Arafat spokesperson and Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi "opened his mind."
"All of these are data points which I think matter because they form what he believes," she said.
She said that McCain and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin "acted according to the ordinary associations, churches and people who inspire them and all of us."
"What I like about McCain and Palin is that, when nobody was looking, the didn't reach to the extreme," she said. "I think Barack Obama has been inspired by the very, very far left. It's fine to know about that, but to cling to it for 20 years — I'm not willing to take the risk that he is now a centrist."
She thinks McCain has been unfairly beaten up by Republicans for working with former Democrat and now independent Sen. Joe Lieberman. And she said Palin is "being demeaned in a most egregious way."
"She has cut taxes and budgets and it is not fair to treat her this way," she said. "The media in New York is terrible."
She calls this presidential election the most important one since World War II.
"I have to know I have a person who is in sync with central policies that have made this country great," she said. "This is not the time to work with the left."
Obama's "spread the wealth" comment is a "departure from Clinton," she said.
"McCain will do the right thing to create jobs, recreate prosperity and to protect the nation in the event of that unforeseen horror," she said. "He's the steady hand."
De Rothschild's relationship to Herbert Hoover is two generations before Hoover's birth. She said Hoover's grandfather's brother is her paternal line. Her grandmother was Blanche Hoover. Herbert Hoover's sister was Mary Blanche Hoover, which leads de Rothschild to believe that "Blanche" was a popular name in the Hoover family at one time.