Q&A with S.E. Cupp
BRIAN LAMB, HOST, C-SPAN Q&A: S.E. Cupp could you tell us how you would describe what you do for a living?
S.E. CUPP, AUTHOR: Oh gosh. Sort of a hodgepodge, I consider myself a writer by trade. And I’ll always be a writer regardless of what the topic. Obviously I’m concentrating on politics right now but I like to write about religion and culture and sports.
I do television because it promotes my writing. If television went away tomorrow I think I’d be OK with it. But I do radio for the same purpose, to promote my writing. I don’t blog, I just – I find it more interesting to sit down and really think out a cogent argument and try and get it somewhere published rather than sort of on my own website.
I do have a website but I post my published pieces there. I wrote a book and I have another one coming out in the spring. So that’s basically it, I think, I have my fingers in a couple of different pots.
LAMB: On your website, S.E. Cupp here’s a quote from Nick Hornby who is – who is Nick Hornby?
CUPP: He’s a great British author, American audiences probably know him from the movie versions of his books About a Boy, Fever Pitch, High Fidelity. He’s just a really wonderful, lovely author. Sort of captures, I think, late ’90s kind of ethos.
And I ran into him at a Chicago Cubs game. He’s a huge sports fan. And I told him I was a big fan and we had this great sort of memorable meeting. And a while later this thing pops up online where he’s talking about reading my book and that experience of meeting me which was shocking to me and humbling.
But he’s a very cool guy. I was honored that he even remembered me.
LAMB: He says, ”Her name is S.E. Cupp, a charming right wing sports fanatic. How many of those does one meeting during the course of a lifetime?”
CUPP: Yes, probably not too many.
LAMB: What is that? Why not?
CUPP: I don’t know. I mean I guess you know you have the Keith Overman’s on the left you know he’s a big sports fan. But I know plenty, I mean, just look at Rush Limbaugh. He’s entertaining the idea of going back to football.
So, of course, they exist but I think it’s always interesting for outsiders when conservatives don’t adhere to the kind of stereotypical you know outline of the way that they’re supposed to behave or look or sound or dress or you know anything like that. So I understood his shock.
LAMB: On another page in your – on your website it says – this is from S.E.’s college friend, ”S.E. punched me in the head one time and nearly broke my eardrum. She never officially apologized but I am pretty sure she’s sorry.”
Now you put that on there, right?
CUPP: No, I asked for a quote from a very good friend of mine, a college friend and that’s what he gave me and I am sorry.
LAMB: Do you want to name him?
CUPP: His name is Lyle. He knows who he is.
LAMB: College where?
CUPP: Cornell. But that’s the sort of thing, my site is irreverent and my writing is irreverent at times. And I wanted to capture that on the website so it wasn’t just another right wing you know staid, boring website.
LAMB: It also says, ”I always knew that kid was going places.” S.E.’s dad.
CUPP: Yes, my dad gave me that one. That was a good one.
LAMB: Who is your dad?
CUPP: His name is Ken. He’s from Kentucky, grew up blue collar, maybe even collarless, moved around a lot, put himself through school, went from a stock boy in a warehouse to become a vice president of a major Fortune 500 company over 40 plus years of working for the same company.
LAMB: Which one?
CUPP: It was OfficeMax. It was originally Boise Cascade and then it merged with OfficeMax. So he’s sort of my role model in terms of hard work, personal responsibility, sort of taking responsibility for your obligations and for where you’re going in life regardless of the hand that you were dealt.
LAMB: We have a picture that you – we asked you to bring pictures and you brought one here of your mother. I have it right here, what is this?
CUPP: My mom, I think, at that time was 17 or 16. She was involved with the Girl Scouts, she’s from New Jersey. And they took a trip into New York City one day and they took their portraits outside of the Statue of Liberty and I just think it’s such a great patriotic moment for my mom. And she just looked so hopeful and young and wide-eyed.
LAMB: Is she right wing like you?
CUPP: She is but I didn’t know that until very recently, in fact. It’s kind of like I just met my parents a couple of years ago because I really did not grow up in a political household. And it wasn’t until I came out as a conservative that I started asking them what their political beliefs were.
And we sort of all discovered at the same time that we were conservative and it was, like I said, you know surprising.
LAMB: Where did you – where do you think you got your first conservative inkling?
CUPP: I mean I was raised, again, with personal responsibility, compassion, hard work ethic. I was raised to be independent so I think that was sort of viscerally in me. But it really wasn’t until college where I decided or discovered that I was probably more conservative than most people around me, certainly more conservative than the kids I went to school with and the professors.
I attended a debate between two professors on affirmative action early on in my freshmen year and found myself siding with the conservative viewpoint. And I made a conscious decision to say if that’s conservatism then I want to explore that a little more and so I did.
LAMB: What conservative principle do you endorse first?
CUPP: I mean the three tenants that I have always found inspiring are physical responsibility, limited government and reducing taxes. I think – I know they’re all essentially economically based but taxes affect my day-to-day life a lot more than you know reproductive rights do. So I’ve never really gravitated to those values issues even though I think they’re incredibly important I’ve just always been drawn to the starve the beast kind of, limit the government reach kind of ethic.
I think people because I’m young want to be reassured that I came upon conservatism via Hayek or Buckley and I certainly have read all of that but it’s really much more guttural for me. It’s much more visceral. It’s – it wasn’t an academic highbrow decision to become a conservative a la Barry Goldwater or someone else like that even though I admire them.
It was just this feels right. This feels like these principles make sense. It feels like they’re best for everyone. So it was much more natural and I think organic.
LAMB: Born in Carlsbad, California, raised in Andover, Massachusetts, went to school in Ithaca, New York, live where now?
CUPP: Manhattan, New York City.
LAMB: What part?
CUPP: I live in Chelsea, very blue, very liberal. But yes I’ve always lived in liberal places. I don’t know why. I love traveling south of the Mason Dixon Line. It’s always fun for me. I feel like I’m in friendly territory.
But I don’t know I’ve just always gone where the work is and you know my work is in New York right now.
LAMB: When could we have seen you in the Boston Ballet?
CUPP: Oh geez, I was there for maybe five years. I danced for about 10 years with the Washington Ballet as well. I trained in Washington and in Boston and danced in the Nutcracker and a couple of other performances with the Boston Ballet. But it was certainly what I thought I was going to be doing with the rest of my life.
LAMB: When did you change your mind?
CUPP: I was 18 and you know you come to that fork in the road where you have to either say college or I’m going to really go after this. And it was just clear to me after that much time that I wanted to pursue other things.
So I did and I closed that chapter. I haven’t been to a ballet since, I haven’t taken a class, I haven’t pirouetted. It’s you know an old, old book closed.
LAMB: One of the things you read in your book ”Why You’re Wrong About the Right” and also other places is you say are an atheist.
CUPP: I am but I’m not a militant atheist. I’ve never really understand the angry atheist. I have been an atheist for quite a while. I was fascinated by religion at a very young age and my parents always encouraged me to explore my religious inclinations.
And I went to a Catholic high school and I just decided early on that I didn’t buy it. It wasn’t for me but I’m envious. I’m envious of the faithful. So I defend the faithful especially the Christian right in America at every opportunity I get.
And, in fact, my next book really deals with Christianity and the Christian right head on. I’m getting Masters in religious studies. So it’s always going to be something that I am studying, exploring and open to. I haven’t closed the door on faith it just hasn’t found me yet.
LAMB: Explain what an atheist is in your opinion.
CUPP: Well for me I really don’t believe in a higher power of any kind. You know no deity whatsoever. I really believe that when I die I go in the ground like every other animal and that’s that.
LAMB: Where did we come from?
CUPP: I think I’m an evolutionary believer. I believe that science has answered that question adequately enough for me. If evolution gets sort of re-written or tweaked over the next 100 years then great I’ll tweak my own ideas as well. But I just could never fill that whole, the gaps in our knowledge with some unseen, supernatural being. It just doesn’t made sense to me.
LAMB: Have you ever stood up in front of a conservative group and said this?
CUPP: Oh yes. I don’t hide it because I want to be honest.
LAMB: What’s the reaction though when you’re amongst all of your true believers that follow you?
CUPP: Well it’s interesting. I mean conservatism is very intellectually diverse so libertarians, for example, really enjoy that I am an atheist. You know the religious right I get people who are surprised and saddened and shocked and angry and then I get people who genuinely want to see me sort of evolve in my religious journey.
And I’m open to that and I really respect that. So I never put down the faith or religion or Christianity. I really aspire to be a person of faith one day.
LAMB: But if you don’t believe in a God and God never existed and doesn’t and you’re going into the ground and it’s all over. Why would you believe any of the rest – any of the people – more people who follow the conservative philosophy believe than don’t believe by a long shot.
CUPP: Well that’s true of the country. I mean the country is 98 percent religious and 80 percent Christian. It’s not just true on the right. I mean there are Christian Democrats, of course. So I’ve never found it to be a problem being a conservative who isn’t a believer.
It’s a problem for some people. It just isn’t a problem for me because I’m not a militant atheist. I have a great respect for the religious right you know ecumenically. And a great respect for people of faith.
LAMB: Well go to George Bush for a minute. First of all what did you think of him?
CUPP: I am a fan. I don’t mind saying I’m a fan of George Bush.
CUPP: I think he had a conviction, personal principles that required him to answer to someone else when he went to bed at night; not to the state and not to himself. I don’t see the same kind of – the same kind of reverence in some of our other recent presidents.
Barack Obama included, Bill Clinton included. That gives me comfort at a citizen knowing that my president is going to bed answering to a higher power. So he’s thinking about the decisions he’s making not just because they’re going to affect him and his legacy. But because he has someone or something to answer to.
I really respect that and I think that whether you liked his policies or not he really did what he thought was best for the country. And I think that’s really, really rare.
LAMB: Do you think Barack Obama is doing what he thinks is bad for the country?
CUPP: Oh no I don’t think he’s making conscious decisions to be a bad president, absolutely not. I think he’s a true believer in some of his policies. And that’s fine but I also think Barack Obama doesn’t have a lot of – he doesn’t have a lot of his own convictions.
I think they’ve been formed by academia and sort of the Chicago community organizing circuit and so many different influences. But I don’t really think he has a visceral feeling on a great many issues. That’s problematic for me because I think he’s easily influenced.
LAMB: Go back to George Bush though. He read the Bible every day.
LAMB: And often said that this higher power was what was guiding him in making decisions.
LAMB: If you don’t believe at al,l why would you then follow somebody that has their way of life?
CUPP: As an atheist I could never imagine electing, voting for an atheist president for exactly those reasons. I mean religion keeps a person who is endowed with so much power honest. This is a person who’s answering to a higher power every night. And not to the state, he doesn’t think the state has all the power and he doesn’t think he himself has all the power. That’s important to me.
I mean I represent two percent of the world. Why would I want someone who thinks that 98 percent of the world is crazy running the country?
LAMB: But you don’t think that that higher power exists.
CUPP: I don’t but I don’t think people are crazy. I understand the allure of religion. I really do I’m just not going to be dishonest and say that I believe in something that I don’t yet.
LAMB: But what if he’s hearing voices all the time and taking advice from a higher power that doesn’t exist in your opinion and makes decisions based on the higher power that doesn’t exist in your opinion?
CUPP: Well I mean people’s faith is very personal and I don’t judge the way that people use their faith to inform their decisions. I really don’t. We can judge him on his policies whether he heard it from a voice in his head, he got it from the Bible, he had a conversation with Laura one night over dinner. I mean it doesn’t really matter to me.
I’d like to judge the policies on face value.
LAMB: Go back to your three principles, one of them was cutting taxes.
LAMB: One of them was limited government…
CUPP: Right and physical responsibility.
LAMB: Physical responsibility, how do you –what kind of grade do you give George Bush on physical responsibility?
LAMB: What kind of a grade do you give him on taxes?
LAMB: And what kind of a grade do you give him on limited government?
CUPP: B plus.
LAMB: How do you figure?
CUPP: On the last one?
CUPP: I think the contrast has become increasingly clear just in the months since Obama has been elected. This seems to be an administration, I am only talking about Obama to put Bush in perspective, but seems to be an administration that has no problem wildly over reaching into the private sector.
It’s scary, in fact, how easily they can sort of reach their hands into your back pocket whether it’s luring you into buying a car that you probably don’t need right now or it’s telling you what you can study in school or that you need to volunteer.
I mean it’s really, I think, unprecedented. If you compare that to Bush’s administration despite the Patriot Act which I think was an issue of national security there really wasn’t this interest in expanding the role of government. I think he expanded the role of the executive but that’s because we were living in, I think, a really unique moment.
But you know people right now are talking about the Fairness Doctrine and you have this ground swell of support from the left for the Fairness Doctrine. You didn’t see that in the Bush administration.
There was a hands off kind of policy that I appreciated especially in contrast to what we’re seeing now.
LAMB: You are studying at New York University for a Masters Degree in Religious Studies.
CUPP: Right, it’s actually an independent program. I call it religious studies because I can call it whatever I want. But basically I am doing a comparison study between the devotional practices of the faithful against the devotional practice of sports fans.
So for the past five years I’ve been studying those two systems in an academically rigorous way. So my thesis is not going to be a funny you know irreverent. It’s going to be, I think, pretty boring. But you know and formed by the usual academic Durkheim and Weber and stuff that you’ll never really use again.
But I’ve had a really interesting time with it because I am a huge sports fan and I’m fascinated by religion. And comparing these two systems on their sort of components has been shockingly fascinating. They’re so similar in many ways. So it’s been a real joy for me.
LAMB: So why all this time on religion? What’s the – and when did you decide you needed a Masters in religious studies or independent religious studies?
CUPP: I want to write about big issues and I am not so egomaniacal to think that I have all the answers yet. I don’t. These are big topics and I kind of want some gravitas you know. I’m writing books and I’m trying to get my sort of my foothold in you know serious writing and scholarship as well as the fun punditry kind of stuff.
I mean I love commenting on culture and that’s great. But I really am invested in scholarship of religion and culture and sociology and anthropology to answer some of the big questions. Not that I’m going to come up with these answers but I enjoy the exercise of trying to scratch the surface.
LAMB: Who – which writer are you most impressed with when it comes to the whole subject of religion?
CUPP: Well it’s – it’s always interesting – you know when I was in college undergrad I was studying Art History and anytime I think you study theory you kind of kill – you kill the subject. I mean Art History was a lure for me because it was I thought for the masses. Art was to be enjoyed for everyone and then I come upon this theory that really only exists to separate the classes.
And the same is true I think with religion. And the same is true, I think, with religious studies. So you read from Scott Duruda and Durkheim and Weber like I said and these are all fascinating, fascinating scholars but they really don’t help inform me on questions of American faith in practice.
And that’s what I’m interested in. So I like to read The Case for Faith, for example or C.S. Lewis. I don’t mean to demean them as less then scholarly because they are scholarly but I have not found many of the answers in graduate school I have to say.
LAMB: Has there ever been a moment in your studies where you’ve stopped and said well maybe there is a supreme being?
CUPP: No, certainly not in my studies. In my studies pushes me in the complete opposite direction. It’s when I spend time with my family and I spend time with friends who are believers whether they’re Jewish or Muslim, my father is born again, my mother is a Roman Catholic.
LAMB: Do you talk about all this at home?
CUPP: Oh yes, vigilantly. I mean we love to talk about it.
LAMB: What do they say to you about your views?
CUPP: Well my father wishes I were saved, of course, and I really respect and admire that. But he also respects my decisions. My mom is sort of OK with whatever just as long as I’m a good person and don’t swear on television.
But it’s when I’m around believers that I find myself more curious, more envious. I get jealous. I think it’s really a wonderful thing to be a believer. But I realize that I can’t force it so I am just open. I am open to it. And I have some friends who are very, very spiritual and they think that I am you know sort of going to be a conduit one day.
And maybe God’s just waiting for the right time for me.
LAMB: When did you go from Sara Elizabeth Cupp to S.E. Cupp?
CUPP: In college I was writing for my college newspaper and I thought it would be, I don’t know, interesting to be gender anonymous. I don’t know why but I did and I was. From then I always published as S.E. Cupp.
And that gender anonymity was actually very useful at times. But then I started doing television so now it’s just some kind of affect, some kind of obnoxious affect. But it is what it is, it stuck so.
LAMB: OK another I guess it’s not incongruous but anyway you work for the New York Times.
CUPP: I do.
LAMB: Doing what?
CUPP: Yes, I work internally. I write internally so I’m not on the editorial board, I’m not published in the New York Times which how I can write for all of these competing publications.
It’s a desk job, it’s great. I write about sports for a reference section within The Times. I’ve been there about eight years.
LAMB: Are you in the big building?
CUPP: We’re not. We’re in an annex in Manhattan. So it’s really separate. I feel very separated from The New York Times. But it’s been a great company to work for regardless of what I think of their editorial decisions. They’ve really you know taken care of me and I’m grateful to have the job.
LAMB: You appear on that late night/early morning show on Fox.
CUPP: I think you’re talking about Red Eye.
LAMB: I am talking about Red Eye at 3:00 a.m. in the morning or is it 2:00 a.m.?
CUPP: Three a.m. Eastern.
LAMB: And on there is a character – they have a little puppet called Pinch.
CUPP: Pinch, which is sort of an homage to The New York Times.
CUPP: Because they like to make fun of The New York Times.
LAMB: No what does the word Pinch…?
CUPP: Oh from Punch, from Sulzberger, publisher…
LAMB: His son Pinch that they call him. It’s not his name. It’s what others call him.
CUPP: Well his nickname is Punch. And so the Red Eye paper is Pinch.
LAMB: And do you get any static from The New York Times because of all these associations?
CUPP: No, frankly, I don’t think they know that I exist, really. I mean I come in, I do my job for The Times, I leave and I do other work. I don’t really know that they have an eye on me at all which is just fine.
LAMB: If you type in S.E. Cupp on the Internet there is some video of you on there for about 1:15 seconds we’re going to run it and…
CUPP: Oh dear.
LAMB: Yes, let’s run it and I know that – it looks like it’s in your bathroom.
CUPP: Oh yes I know what you’re talking about.
LAMB: OK, let’s run it and you can tell me what it is.
CUPP: Hi everyone. I’m just getting ready for work. I wanted to welcome you all to the first annual SGP Twitter Ball. Very exciting. I’m S.E. Cupp and I want to thank you for inviting me to participate in this. It’s an amazing thing.
It’s really an honor especially after the past year or so when we you know we saw how integral online media was in rallying people to get behind our eventual winner in chief and how women were treated in the past election.
I think it’s really an eye opening experience and so it’s really an amazing thing and a wonderful thing that we’re all coming together for the same goal to make next year and the next year and the next year 100 times better and you know you guys are a completely integral in that process.
So thanks for having me, check out my book ”Why You’re Wrong About the Right” and I’ll be seeing you guys around. Bye.
LAMB: How did you do that?
CUPP: Well logistically I put a camera up.
LAMB: On your mirror?
CUPP: Yes, I opened the medicine cabinet, right, put that on there. The girls at Smart Girl Politics asked me to do something very off the cuff.
LAMB: Smart Girl Politics.
LAMB: What’s that to start with?
CUPP: They’re sort of organizational you know grassroots online venture to galvanize young conservative women. And they asked me to do something off the cuff, unprepared, hopefully in my home. So I just turned it on while I was like getting ready for the day.
I don’t think it’s a particularly scholarly moment. But you know we don’t always have to be you know reading our Wall Street Journal and sipping our caramel macchiatos you know in the New York coffee shop all the time.
LAMB: What’s that?
CUPP: I don’t know it’s something that these people drink. I drink my coffee black but I hear there are caramel macchiatos.
LAMB: So this is you know you were born three weeks before this network started, you may not know that in the old days this kind of thing never would happen.
LAMB: A video of you wouldn’t be instantly available, click on Google. What’s this world do for you? Are you living in a different kind of environment than old guys like me?
CUPP: Well it is a different environment. I mean as you say I can communicate with thousands of people instantly whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook.
LAMB: You feel that?
CUPP: Well yes, I resisted it for quite a while because frankly I’m a bit of a misanthrope. I don’t really, I don’t have a huge group of friends. I like to keep my circle pretty small so I’m not a big networker. So I really resisted it until it became clear that for my job, promoting my work is important.
And it’s a great way to do that. If I ever stopped doing this kind of work I would probably not be on Twitter or Facebook or any of those kinds of things.
LAMB: Where did that video go? Who did you ship it to?
CUPP: That was on Twitter, SGP was doing a Twitter Ball which is some kind of live Twitter event where people tune in to see videos and people talk and people live Twitter. I submitted it for that. I’m happy to do these things. It’s just, it’s just foreign to me as well because I really resisted that whole thing for quite a while.
LAMB: If you just – if you’re just out looking for S.E. Cupp? You find pictures of you holding rifles.
LAMB: Shooting actually.
LAMB: I mean there is a picture right there. You know where is that?
CUPP: Oh that was hunting two years ago upstate New York, November. It was deer season, real early in the morning, maybe 4 or 5 a.m. I did not bag a buck that day. It was …
LAMB: Bag a buck?
CUPP: Yes, I didn’t get a – I didn’t get a buck. But it was a great day.
LAMB: Why do you do that? Why – what’s the draw for you?
CUPP: Well I love shooting. Ideally I skeet shoot. That’s what I love. I love the moving targets. There I’m skeet shooting in Dallas, at a range in Dallas.
LAMB: Where did you learn to do that?
CUPP: I just took a couple of lessons at a range in Manhattan actually. There’s an indoor range in Manhattan and – with a rifle. You can only shoot a rifle at that range unless you’re licensed.
And I loved it. I instantly loved target shooting. So I kept exploring other venues, skeet, and target shooting and I just fell in love with it. I mean there’s something about having the gun in your hand. There’s something about being outside and away from the city and if feels very primal.
Its why I love fishing too because I can pull fish out of a stream and then cut them up and grow them there in Alaska and just outside Fairbanks …
LAMB: It sounds you got a pretty good life. Manhattan, Dallas, Alaska.
CUPP: I don’t …
CUPP: I don’t accumulate a lot of stuff. I like to travel. I’m not a materialistic person. So my apartment is not full of crazy things. I travel a lot because I want those experiences. We try to go to the salmon run every fall in Alaska. There I’m in Mendrocko (ph) on assignments. That was actually for work. You know Western Sahara. I disputed territory south of Morocco proper.
LAMB: For New York Times work?
CUPP: No it was for a think tank in DC. The Religion & Public Policy Institute wanted to do a press tour so they invited me to go and I came home and wrote about the experience for a number of publications.
But I just – I love to travel. I love to get out and see the world and especially see this country. I think I’ve been 48 states. I think there’s nothing better than really getting to know the country you live in.
LAMB: Would your parents be able to explain why you’ve gotten yourself into all this. Does it make sense to them?
CUPP: No. It doesn’t. They don’t know who I am. They’re shocked. You know I certainly was not raised hunting and fishing even though my dad did a lot of that as a kid. It was not how I was raised. That’s, that’s daddy.
LAMB: Are there others in your family? Other children?
CUPP: I have some – I have two step sisters and two step brothers. And we’re all, you know, around the same age, in our 30s and love to get together. And I have a niece now which is nice and fun.
But no, I think they’re surprised but I’ve always kind of found my own way. But…
LAMB: Back to your website?
LAMB: Here is – this is a fan. ” SE after eight years of supporting the worst president in our nation’s history, which forgive me if I assume you did support him, how about doing something constructive. ”
CUPP: I get horrendous fan mail. I mean fan mail. Its mostly hate mail which is not to say that I don’t get really lovely supportive fan mail because I do but the hate mail I get I publish on my website minus the mail that I forward off to the FBI because I think its really funny and illustrative of just how angry the left is.
I find it really surprising that we’ve managed to paint conservatives as the angry mob when I get some of the stuff that I do on a daily basis. You know calling me all kind of names, just for the policies I espouse.
LAMB: Well, let’s try some of them.
LAMB: I found this on your – first of all, this quote is on the top of the page where you have all of these bloggers or people responding to you.
LAMB: ” That girl plays her music way too loudly. ”
CUPP: That’s my neighbor.
LAMB: Is that true?
CUPP: I use to. I’ve gotten better.
LAMB: Here it is. Heres from somebody name – no, this isn’t a good one. It’s anonymous. ”And, by the way, who are you? I’ve never seen such an emergence of no-name conservative commentators in all my life. I guess all you have to do to get on Faux News these days is come up with some outrageously stupid equivalence, and, BOOM, you’re now an authority. Well, congratulations to you Miss See S-E-E Cupp...you’ve done your part to stomp the discourse down just a little deeper in the muck.”
CUPP: That falls into the category of condescending. I get a lot of that. I get a lot of sort of, you know, you’ll grow out of this one day. I don’t know where you get off, you know, pretending to be an expert.
I’m not an expert but I have opinions and I’m allowed to voice them. People are very indigent that I have any kind of platform at all as a young female conservative. Absolutely indigent.
LAMB: This one comes from Jerry Moyer. He actually signed this.
CUPP: Yes. And I published his name.
LAMB: ”And to blame Obama on top of it is asinine, you moron, LOL.”
LAMB: Is that laughs out – laugh out loud?
CUPP: Laugh out loud. Larry, it’s …
LAMB: Not lots of love?
CUPP: No not lots of love.
LAMB: ”Do you realize how stupid you looked on Hannity. LOL.”
CUPP: Laugh out loud again.
LAMB: ”You want to condemn incivility listen to Mark Levin sometime whose personal attacks on Nancy ”Stretch” Pelosi and Little Dick Durbin is only a sampling of his outrageous crudeness and he’s not even a comedian or an entertainer. But you do hear Pelosi whining no. For a fairly good looking babe, you’re pathetically stupid. Best. Jerry.”
CUPP: Right so that actually falls into a number of categories. One is you should be directing this tirade to apparently Mark Levin. I don’t think why I am getting the, the rant against Mark Levin’s tirades.
Another category is the, you know, you’re good looking but, which is pretty cheap and offensive but I get those. And then the other category is you’re stupid, you know, you don’t know anything but that’s – I mean this is just – this is the tried and true stuff.
LAMB: Except that we look on your websites and around we see these different pictures of you.
LAMB: We see the one that looks somewhat like you do now with the glasses.
LAMB: And then we see another one…
LAMB: …where you have blonde hair.
LAMB: And then we see – I mean they look – they’re fashion shots and all. I mean you obviously must know you’re …
CUPP: They’re head shots. I mean I am professional and I had professional photos taken. I’m fully clothed. And will always be. There are promotional shots for my work. I mean I’m on television. I’m selling books. So, you know, if you’re implying that I’m kind of trying to market myself in a certain kind of way, I’m not.
This is what I look like.
LAMB: But let me ask the question this way. If you didn’t do all that you do…
LAMB: …in your marketing, would people buy your writing alone.
CUPP: Oh gosh, I hope so. I mean…
LAMB: But you must notice that people react to all this that we’re talking about here.
CUPP: Well, they do but I also get a lot of comments on my writing. I don’t know who this guy thinks he is so I know that some of these people don’t know who I am, don’t know if I’m a man or woman even.
Don’t know what I look like. So I, I take comfort in knowing that – I believe my work speaks for itself. I mean I’m published in the Washington Post and Town Hall and Slate and Human Events, American Spectator and the Daily News and I don’t think that I’m getting column space because of the way I look, at least I hope not.
LAMB: Here’s one for Clifford McKinstry. Again you – he identifies himself.
LAMB: ”Obviously your brain is dead, and like all rebubs you can take no responsibility for anything done wrong ever, just look at the Bush disaster!! AND the rest of the nuts you people endorse.”
CUPP: Yes. I mean …
LAMB: What category do you put him in?
CUPP: This is a guy who – I get a lot of this just anti Bush stuff because I’m a Republican I must be a Bush supporter. And I must be anti Obama just because I’m a Republican. And that’s, that’s it. That’s the mean.
LAMB: How far do you have to go to find people that think like you, that are your same age, that want to engage in thinking about the world and the issues? How hard it is?
CUPP: It’s not that hard. It’s harder in Manhattan. But it’s not that hard really and especially because of Facebook and Twitter. We can find each other virtually.
So I hear from people all over the country, you know, who are I think grateful that someone young is putting a new kind of spin on conservative philosophy, talking about things in different way maybe.
I think there a lot of people out there my age that, that are women who want a new dialogue and I really haven’t had to search very hard. They’ve found me.
LAMB: Let me ask you about the issue of money because you brought that up earlier about restrictive – I mean limited government and George – during George Bush’s time we doubled our deficit by $5 trillion.
LAMB: Early on in the Obama administration we’re already up to $11 or 12 trillion. We’ve already, you know, we’re on our way to maybe even doubling it again.
LAMB: What does somebody your age think about your future when it comes to whether it’s Medicare…
LAMB: … Medicaid, Social Security, taxes, 401Ks, all that.
CUPP: Well, I think the baby boomer generation has been wildly irresponsible with our future. My future. I think that when many of them sort of hung up their hippie, their hippie shoes and traded them in for their running shoes and their, you know, yuppie cappuccinos, they threw all kinds of caution out the window.
I think they got caught up in the excess and the me generation kind of politics and policies and I’m going to have to pay for it. My generation is going to have to pay for it and the following generation...
LAMB: How …
CUPP: …is going to have to pay for it.
CUPP: Well, I don’t know. I mean it depends on how the next three years go and how the next seven years go. I mean it depends on how refutable this damage becomes.
LAMB: Well, depending on which figure you use it’s between 65 and 70…
LAMB: …trillion dollar liability.
LAMB: Where – and everybody that studies this says you – we can’t drill out of this.
So what do we do? I mean are we – is your life going to be less expansive. You have fewer things. Or does it matter to you?
CUPP: Well, I don’t know that it matters to me personally. I mean I take a vested interest in the future of the, you know, the country but I think that we’re going to have to make some tough decisions. And by we I mean my generation.
My generation is going to have to cut back where this generation is not. We’re going to have to learn from the past mistakes and say all right, thanks mom and dad, not personally my mom and dad, but thanks mom and dad, and thanks grandpa and grandma.
But we’re going to do thing differently now. We have to have the courage to do that though. I think it’s really hard to stop once you’ve gotten into that cycle of spend, spend, spend.
LAMB: What kind of grade would you give the Republican Congress and one of the things in your book, one of your heroes is Newt Gingrich.
CUPP: Yes. I like – I mean I don’t know that he’s a hero. I mean we interviewed him along with 30 other interesting conservatives on all sides of the spectrum. I think Newt Gingrich is a really galvanizing figure. Very smart, incredibly smart.
I think …
LAMB: Would you support him for President?
CUPP: Yes. Oh yes. Yes. I’m reluctant to say who the future of the party is because anytime you do that, that person automatically gets sort of a Bullseye on their back. And I think it’s too early.
I’d rather be a coalition right now, have no leader and figure out what our message is before we figure out what the messenger is…
LAMB: Who would be your favorite symbol of the party today? I mean give somebody that’s out there?
CUPP: I like Sarah Palin. I like Mitt Romney. I like Mike Huckabee. I mean these are all I think really interesting people and all potentially great leaders. But I don’t know what the country is going to look like in three years.
LAMB: But you – you have focused on physical conservatism…
LAMB: …and would you say that the Republican led Congress back in ’95 on was a conservative physical…
LAMB: Why would you then think in the future they’re going to be?
CUPP: Well, I think that because of the recent financial crisis there’s more than I on it whether it’s Michael Moore shining a light on Capitalism and corporate greed or its coming from the right, sort of the Wall Street Journal affect shining a light on fiscal irresponsibility. Everyone’s eyes are on this now.
LAMB: But is there any evidence that at this time that anything is going to change?
CUPP: I don’t know. It’s certainly not with – in the White House, I don’t think but I don’t know. I mean the interesting thing about this administration is I think they expected Republican push back.
They didn’t expect push back from the citizenry whether it was at the Town Halls or the Tea Parties on spending, on healthcare. I think that really has taken them by surprise. So if the citizenry keeps whaling against this profit of spending and I think we really do have a chance at turning things around.
Because the loudest voices are coming, not from talk radio or the Internet or television or Congress. The loudest voices are actually coming from Middle America.
LAMB: On your website, you have this quote from Thaddeus McCotter.
LAMB: Michigan Congressman running his fourth term ”I really dig SE because when going into political battle, best to bring a Cupp.”
CUPP: Yes, he’s great. I mean, I don’t know what that means.
LAMB: Do you know him?
CUPP: I do. I do.
LAMB: I thought – when I read it I wonder what does he mean? Is that his cup for money or…
CUPP: I don’t know.
LAMB: …cup for contributions…
CUPP: But that’s Thad. I mean he’s so wonderfully kookie. Also brilliant. And I think he’s a real – he’s a real beacon for young conservatives. He has a lot of interesting ideas. He’s doing things in a different way.
I mean he does Red Eye, you know, on Fox News. He’s got a different approach and I think a lot of people are listening to that.
LAMB: How much of a following, The Red Eye is rather – well how would you describe it. It’s sartorial. It’s …
CUPP: It’s irreverent.
LAMB: It’s irreverent.
CUPP: It’s an irreverent right leaning look at the news. So there’s humor. It’s on late night so there’s a little bit more leeway with what they can say and its – its hilarious frankly. Its satire and parody and – actually just had a huge bump in the ratings over the past few months.
I mean people are really starting to take notice of it which always makes me worry that they’re going to start changing it but I love doing that show because its always nice break from the so hard, hard news.
LAMB: In your book, Why You’re Wrong About The Right, and it had a forward with Tucker Carlson.
LAMB: You go through your chapters and each chapter is like for instance Chapter 1, Republicans Are Racists Republicans are leaders of Nazi groups. Republicans are a humorless and you obviously refute that.
CUPP: Debunk, right.
LAMB: But you wrote this in your introduction. You said, ”I am a long time atheist pursuing a Masters Degree in religious studies. I find Hollywood repulsive. But I’m totally addicted to perezhiltom.com.”
LAMB: ”I love to fish but I’m afraid of the water. Bret (your co-author) is bored by art and rarely gets to a museum but he himself is an amateur artist and photographer. He hates Washington, D.C. but hopes to one day go into politics.
In other words, we’re just everyday, 20 somethings who happen to be conservatives.”
LAMB: … and I think if I calculate it right here no longer a 20 something.
CUPP: I’m not. I’m 30 now. Thanks a lot for pointing that out.
LAMB: Sure. When you’re my age, you know, it’s easy to point out…
LAMB: Anyway I find Hollywood repulsive. Why?
CUPP: I mean – Yes. The point of that was to say that we’re contradictions and we’re not the stereo typical anything. It’s real easy to stereotype people but we’re not. Hollywood’s repulsive because Hollywood has absolutely no moral orbiters.
No one in Hollywood is ever willing to stand up and say this value system is better than this value system. So every thing’s relative. And it’s really just a refuse. I mean it’s a place for garbage.
I love the medium. I love film. I love television. But as a culture, its, its devoid. I mean its abyss. And I really hate the reverence that we all tend to give it.
LAMB: How much feedback have you gotten on Chapter 10 in your book?
CUPP: Which is it?
LAMB: Republicans are bad in bed.
CUPP: We did not – right. So, there’s this myth that conservatives maybe sort of prudish.
LAMB: I believe that’s on – (INAUDIBLE) being prudish.
CUPP: No absolutely nothing. But there’s the idea that because we’re politically conservative we then have to be conservative every where in our lives. Some of us certainly are but some of us aren’t.
So I think we less than systematically went through and debunked that one. You can’t do it scientifically of course, but…
LAMB: Can I read this?
LAMB: ”Picture this New York City, 2003.” Is this your chapter or your co-author’s chapter. Did you write this?
CUPP: We wrote the book together.
LAMB: All right. ”A hot summer night on the upper East Side”. You live in Chelsea though.
CUPP: I do.
LAMB: That’s downtown.
LAMB: ”After several fish bowls of candied fruit juice and bottom shelf rum at Brother Jimmy’s Bar.” Have you ever been there?
CUPP: I have.
LAMB: ”Two young unattached lusty 20 somethings head for a nearby apartment for some hurried foreplay and what will undoubtably be sloppy and forgettable casual sex.”
CUPP: Sorry mom.
LAMB: Does Bret live on the Upper East Side?
CUPP: No, he doesn’t.
CUPP: But we’ve both lived all over the city.
LAMB: I see. OK. ”After a glass each of a newly opened bottle of Rosé Mont Cheraz (ph).” Is that – I have never heard that before. What is that?
CUPP: It’s a kind of red wine. It’s an Australian red wine.
LAMB: ”And 13 minutes of Chappelle’s Show.” Does that mean on DVD or …
LAMB: … or that other thing. ”They clumsily begin to fumble each other’s button, zippers, clasps and laces while carefully crab walking still conjoined at the face from the couch to the bed. Once there in between boozy breaths and heavy petting, more reminiscent of the Three Stooges, then a 91/2 Weeks the newcomer takes brief glances around the room and while the owner of the apartment claws at the night stand for a condom, a poster catches the others eye transfixing the visitor now practically paralyzed with fear and confusion.
The slap/sex dance has begun. Nevertheless but midst thrust the guest simply cannot bear another moment. Quote ’I can’t do this. That thing scares the S out of me.’ The owner of the bedroom looks up at the wall behind them where a prize possession has been hung.
The attractive stranger climbs off the bed and the bed’s owner and begins to dress leaving her panting eager and discreet participant alone on the bed naked, mouth agape, mid colterol. ”Sorry” the departing stranger says leaping toward the door. Quote ’I can’t get off under a poster of George W. Bush.’”
CUPP: Right. That was a wonderful reading.
LAMB: Is that – Thank you for that.
LAMB: Is that a true story?
CUPP: It’s a convolution of a number of stories that as Manhattanites we’ve heard over the years. Some of the names and faces have been changed.
LAMB: And then now…
CUPP: To protect the innocent.
LAMB: Now did you get any feedback on that from your conservative followers?
CUPP: You know I think most people appreciated that we could have a sense of humor about this kind of thing. And that young conservatives can talk about sex without blushing and I mean – I don’t think it was (INAUDIBLE) or graphic and we’re certainly not running around talking about sex every where but …
LAMB: But why do we talk about sex all the time in this society…
LAMB: … and get so out – bent out of joint. Let’s take the David Letterman. Just pick your poison. Pick your conservative, pick your liberal. They all seem to get involved in the same thing and we just go crazy don’t we. On television…
CUPP: Well its juicy stuff.
LAMB: And we just had people tune us out right now because I read that chapter…
CUPP: I know. You know its juicy stuff I get it.
LAMB: Why is it juicy though?
CUPP: Oh I don’t know. I mean I think we’re always fascinated to ponder the private lives of public people. So whether it’s Mark Sandifer or David Letterman or you know Tom Cruise, whomever it is. I think we’re always sort of interested in what they’re doing behind closed doors. I don’t know why.
LAMB: How did your book do?
CUPP: It did well. I mean we were nobodies when it came out. It was a first book at a time where there were lots of political books coming out just before the election. But it did well, I mean, got a great publisher in Simon & Schuster and I have another book coming with Simon & Schuster in the spring.
And obviously I mean I’ve launched a very small and insignificant career off this book so.
LAMB: Threshold Additions which is a new imprint for Simon & Schuster. They use to Free Press and …
CUPP: Wait, it’s Mary Matalin’s imprint. So she’s sort of overseeing that – the conservative imprint.
LAMB: Did she hire you for this?
LAMB: Did she discover you for this?
CUPP: No. I, we had an agent who …
LAMB: But you said that was tough to get.
CUPP: Very. Very. It took eight months to get an agent who didn’t respond to our queries with hate mail. I mean it’s a very liberal business. And they’re just mortified to get this conservative pitch from two young Manhattanites in their very rarified world.
So we were, we were routinely dismissed and very hostilely. Until we found sort of a kindred spirit in our current agent and he got us right in to Simon & Schuster.
LAMB: So what’s the next book about?
CUPP: It’s called Losing Our Religion. The mainstream media’s attack on Christianity and it really explores the – what I consider to be the fringe media now because they’re not representative of the country anymore when 80 percent of the country is Christian and the main stream media is rolling against Christians.
They can only be described as fringe and…
LAMB: And you’re doing it yourself…
CUPP: … unrepresentative. Yes. It’s my own project.
CUPP: With a forward by Mike Huckabee.
LAMB: Now I’ve got your first book here.
CUPP: Yes. You do.
LAMB: What year was this?
CUPP: I was in second grade so I must have been, I don’t know, 1986, 1985.
LAMB: And you write on the cover about the author. ”Sarah was born in Carlsbad, California. She enjoys reading, astronomy, and dancing. This is her first novel.”
CUPP: I know. Who knew? And I actually just found that recently. I’d completely forgotten about it.
LAMB: You’ve got artwork in here that you did.
CUPP: Yes. It’s legit. It’s a legit book.
LAMB: Book. And what’s – what were you trying to say there? Do you remember?
CUPP: I believe the main character, the protagonist of this particular book has lost a very special ring. And so she’s looking for this ring and can’t find the ring. But I’d have to reread it to be completely sure of the highs and lows of the plot.
LAMB: OK. What’s your guess ten years from now, what it still be S.E. Cupp?
LAMB: Not Sarah or Elizabeth or …
CUPP: Sarah always to my family but S.E. Cupp professionally.
LAMB: Will you be married?
CUPP: I don’t know. I don’t think so.
LAMB: Why not?
CUPP: It’s just never been my – a checklist goal.
LAMB: Will you have children?
CUPP: I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m also in the void about kids right now.
LAMB: Will you live in New York?
CUPP: I doubt it. I doubt it. I imagine I’ll be living on a ranch somewhere in Kentucky.
LAMB: Will you be writing?
CUPP: Yes, for sure. That’s the definite. Yes.
LAMB: So in your own mind though what is your goal? Where do you want – what do you want S.E. Cupp to be all about ten years from now.
CUPP: I want a constant writing job. I want the constant opportunity to write the things that I want to write about whether that’s in books, or in columns, online, I’m not picky. For television – I mean I really just want the opportunity to write.
So that’s the only thing I do know. What I’ll be writing about, where I’ll be writing, I don’t know. I’m open.
LAMB: We’ll have you back in ten and we’ll check it out.
CUPP: OK, thanks.
LAMB: Thank you very much.