S.E. Cupp Criticizes Sarah Palin’s Voting Rationale

It's What You Don't Know...

S.E. Cupp, the columnist and Glenn Beck associate who appears on his Internet-based TV network, GBTV, wrote an article published on CNNs site that ought to be debunked.  Cupp isn’t happy with Sarah Palin’s support of Newt Gingrich, but then again, I’m not so sure that she’s happy about much of anything.  She seems to think that Governor Palin ought to choose either Romney or Santorum, but abandon Gingrich since Cupp thinks there is no way Gingrich can win.  She goes as far as to suggest that Sarah Palin’s motives might be suspect, and that given her own career, the former Alaska governor ought to support anybody but Newt Gingrich.  I confess not knowing Governor Palin, but merely observing her at a distance, despite a few hand-shakes as just one more face in very large and frantic crowds in each case.  Still, what I know of her record, and Newt’s, suggests many good reasons for her vote in the Alaska primary.

Governor Palin has long been an advocate of “sudden and relentless reform.”  For S.E. Cupp, I suppose it’s hard to imagine Newt Gingrich in that light, but a few things of note come to mind when I remember that Governor Palin embarked on her own political career at approximately the time Newt Gingrich began in his own rise to prominence.  Watching from faraway Alaska, I’m sure the future governor must have been struck by the fact that Gingrich faced a media onslaught probably not replicated against any Republican since Goldwater or Reagan, that is, until she entered the national spotlight in 2008.

Of course, back in those days, S.E. Cupp was another of those who was a teenager in High School, so I don’t expect her to remember much of Newt Gingrich in the period except the media impressions she absorbed along with the history she has more recently learned.  Born in 1979, Cupp would have been only fifteen years old when Newt Gingrich led the Republican takeover of the Congress in 1994.  In her span of political awareness, Republicans in control of Congress has been a mixed affair, but for people of my generation, and the Governor’s, who had never seen a Republican Congress in their entire lives,  although we saw Republican briefly control the Senate for a few years in the 1980s, the House of Representatives had been so institutionally Democrat for so long that many wondered if that could ever change.

Newt Gingrich brought a plan to the task, and he set out to carry it into reality, and whatever else you might say about him, what he accomplished in the period of the mid 1990s is nothing short of unprecedented.  For those of my generation, or older, most will remember how Gingrich absolutely floored the media, and how he was able to stir up Washington DC into a hornet’s nest like we’ve seldom seen.  He went with specific promises, calling it the “Contract With America,” that Democrats mocked as the “Contract On America.”  While ultimately, not all of the items passed through the Congress, in the House, each measure promised was at least brought to a vote.  In this sense, what Gingrich tried to bring to Washington DC was most definitely an instance of “sudden and relentless reform.”

Cupp may be forgiven for not remembering that, young as she was at the time, but what she may not be forgiven is the failure to consider it in her prodding CNN op-ed questioning the former Alaska Governor’s motives.  She could have researched it, or reached outside her own knowledge, but instead, she offered nonsense like this:

“Instead, she doubled down Tuesday, telling Fox Business Network that she voted for Gingrich in the Alaska caucuses, where he finished dead last. And why? “I have appreciated what he has stood for,” she said. “He has been the underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses.”

“Again, Palin’s free to like any candidate she wants, and those would be valid arguments, if they were true.”

Here, Cupp questions not only Governor Palin’s motive, but also the veracity of her claim that she “appreciated what [Gingrich] has stood for,” and that “he has been an underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses.”

Is S.E. Cupp now a mind reader, able to detect that perhaps Sarah Palin had not “appreciated what [Gingrich] stood for?”  Cupp writes: “if they were true.”  How can Cupp pretend to know what Governor Palin has appreciated?  Of course, the dead giveaway comes in the next paragraph, as she explains why this cannot be true:

“What Newt has stood for, both during his political career and during this campaign, sits in total contradiction to what Palin has stood for since becoming a public figure. She’s for small government; he’s shown a disturbing penchant for big government solutions. She champions Washington outsiders and rails against the establishment; he’s the epitome of establishment, and has been firmly encamped inside the Beltway for decades. The very people who appreciate Palin should be the same people who despise Gingrich.”

Cupp doesn’t get it, but more, it’s clear to me that she’s toting somebody’s barge, or lifting somebody’s bale, and my guess is that his name is Mitt Romney.  Gingrich was an outsider even when he was in Washington.  He was never accepted by the establishment class there, and he’s still not, and back in 1998, after the loss of a few House seats, it was his own party that threw him overboard as Speaker in early 1999.  He resigned because of that, and not due to scandals, as some have dishonestly alleged, including the former Massachusetts governor.  The truth of the matter is that Gingrich was run out of town on a rail at the first opportunity.  The establishment never really liked the college professor from Georgia very much, anyway.

It’s also true to say that Gingrich was a reformer, at least in 1994, and he certainly did more to upset Bill Clinton’s applecart than anybody else at the time.  If not for Bob Dole’s surrender over the FY 1996 budget, because he was seeking the Presidency, Gingrich might have accomplished a good deal more, but the DC establishment crowd undercut him.  While Cupp may not remember all of this, those of us engaged or at least attentive to politics at the time could not have failed to notice what really happened.  Of course, not satisfied with that she goes on to explain why Gingrich hasn’t been the underdog:

“And he’s hardly been an “underdog.” With the backing of billionaire financier Sheldon Adelson and the benefit of serious name recognition, he’s enjoyed the money, media attention and opportunity that other GOP candidates didn’t. If Newt’s been an underdog, I’m sure Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann would have been happy to switch places.”

Apparently, Cupp didn’t notice that what Adelson has contributed over the last few months to the Gingrich effort is a pittance compared to the money spent against him by Mitt Romney.  The difference is staggering, and in South Carolina, where Gingrich had a stunning turnaround, it was despite the fact that Romney outspent him by more than two-to-one.  In Florida, where Romney prevailed, he did so spending more than five-to-one.  I don’t know where Cupp learned math, but in my view, that’s an underdog.  She mentions name recognition, but that isn’t always that large an advantage.  Just ask Dr. Samuel Mudd.  Of course, Cupp may not have heard of him, either.  Cupp came of age in an era when Gingrich had been portrayed as the “Grinch,” and that probably made something of an impression on her.  She turned twenty as Gingrich’s own party had just pushed him under the proverbial bus.

For Cupp to question Governor Palin’s motives or veracity is pathetic, particularly in light of all Cupp doesn’t know, apparently, but to finish with this flourish is a study in conceit:

“Maybe Palin’s got a master plan in which she makes a late run at the presidency and puts Newt on her ticket. Still, it seems like an incongruous pick and waste of her considerable influence among far-right conservatives.”

“But I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.”

For a woman who professes to know who is or isn’t “establishment,” Cupp certainly speaks their language like a veteran. I also notice that she manages to specify “far-right conservatives,” as though that is the entire core of Governor Palin’s support, but the truth is that her support is a little more wide-ranging from the center to the “far-right.”  Of course, all of this seems all the more incompatible with reality, as Governor Palin has frequently said she didn’t think endorsements were that important.  The last line is simply a parting shot at the Governor, and if Cupp’s nasty tone hadn’t been evident before, it shines through here.

S.E. Cupp probably has a long career ahead of her, but I’d ask her not to imagine that she knows so much as she seems to think.  History didn’t start when she became politically aware, and whatever her preconceived notions about Gingrich, she ought to be careful not to project them onto reality or into the consciousness of others whose knowledge of the period may be somewhat more complete and more detailed.  Part of the problem lies in the fact that what Cupp knows about Gingrich, she probably has learned from others, rather than having observed it first-hand, and in that sense it may be colored by the lenses of others but she should also know that before one remarks on the beliefs or motives of others, one ought to at least endeavor to see things from the subject’s perspective, or even read what the subject has written.  In this respect, Cupp failed miserably.

“But I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.”

 

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  • donpurser

    SE Cupp is doing the bidding of Glenn Beck.  I like GB and to a degree, I understand his coverage and opinion of Newt.  But what GB is always more than happy to tell us is how he has changed since his days of alcoholism and ruin.  But apparently the misdeeds of the past of anyone else remain fair game forever. GB pays her paycheck, and her impartiality (or lack of) is determined by Glenn.

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  • Conservative Pup

    Excellent Mark!  I totally agree with every word you wrote.  I read her piece last night, and thought to myself, ‘boy this needs a rebuttal.’  Was too tired to start one myself.  Yours is perfect.  

  • George

    Great article, as usual.  I don’t like her commentary – she’s shallow, ignorant, and combative.  I view her as the Meghan McCain of Republicans.  (And for the love of god lose the pseudo-intellectual nerd glasses, they make you look like an idiot.)

  • JohnInFlorida

    I guess by S.E.’s criteria there are no “outsiders” who live/work inside the beltway … just as there are NO  conservatives living in San Francisco, NO Italians living in Norway, NO … well, I shall stop there.
    As has been said before, ANY of the Republican candidates would be better than Obama, but I’m not at all convinced that Romney/Santorum have “the stuff” with which to BEAT Obama.
    I’m MUCH more comfortable that Gingrich has already shown the ability to perform in government and as a result I believe him willing to both “take it to” Obama and to make the hard decisions that will be needed if we are to survive.

  • ChangeOfPace

     I saw her speaking on CNN once and Cupp made herself known to be left leaning. I didn’t like what I heard coming out of her mouth.