S.E. Cupp is a phenomenal author, columnist and political commentator, and it seems as though she's everywhere these days. She's written for a number of publications, everything from the Washington Post to Sports Illustrated, on topics ranging from Sarah Palin to NASCAR. She's appeared on a number of television programs and radio shows, including regular spots on "Hannity," "Fox and Friends," and "Red Eye." According to her website, she is working on her second book (her first, Why You're Wrong About the Right, was published in June 2008). We had a chance to talk with Cupp about everything from what the GOP can do to attract more young people to what she likes to do when when she needs a break from the world of politics and news. Here's what she had to say:
1. How did you become interested in politics?
SEC: I was interested in everything when I was young. Politics, history, art, science, culture...I was always a really curious kid. When I was 10 I wanted to be "Ambassador of France" when I grew up...but more because Shirley Temple had become an ambassador. Then it was an astronomer. Later I considered going to Annapolis. Then I wanted to be a foreign service officer. Eventually I settled on a writing career, but I always knew I'd continue to be curious about the world around me. And that included politics.
2. What makes you a conservative? What issues are most important to you right now?
SEC: I'm a conservative because I find a few central tenets really compelling: strong national defense, fiscal responsibility, limited government and lowering taxes. These are things that affect my daily life. I believe conservatism has come up with the best answers for those issues. And I'm incredibly uncomfortable with the malleability of liberal philosophy, its moral relativism, its reliance on the zeitgeist as cause creator, its antipathy toward religion, and its inherent elitism.
3. You are often mentioned as a voice for young conservatives and the future of conservatism. What do you think the right can do to get more young people interested and involved?
SEC: The GOP needs to embrace young, new messengers that can deliver our message in more interesting, relevant, and creative ways. Sometimes the party clings to the old guard and the party's anointed patriarchs at the exclusion of everyone else...it's turf war, and it is what will make conservatism staid and stale for the younger generation. We need our veteran leadership -- but we also need fresh voices.
4. What about women? How do you think conservatism relates to women's issues?
SEC: Conservatism is better for women because conservatism is better for everyone. Conservatism is better for minorities and the youth, as well as middle aged white guys. Conservatism fosters ingenuity, self-reliance, innovation, independence, strong family values, and a sense of purpose. It creates jobs, boosts capitalism, defends freedom, and spreads democratic values to the rest of the world. When you start to use identity politics as a way to appeal to certain demographics, you become a cheap pander. Conservatism's benefits are self-evident -- my uterus has nothing to do with it.
5. Are there any women in politics (in or out of office) whom you admire?
SEC: I admire plenty of women, but certainly not because they're women. I admire Condoleeza Rice's intellect. I admire Laura Bush's quiet dignity. I admire Judith Sheindlin's decisiveness. And I admire Sarah Palin's tenacity. But those are all qualities I've also found in many of the men I admire.
6. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date?
SEC: Being someone my parents are proud of.
7. Do you plan to run for office in the future? If not, is there anyone you would like to see run for office?
SEC: Absolutely not. I enjoy my journalistic freedom to write and say what I want.
8. Finally, I know you're a big NASCAR fan - what else do you like to do when you need a break from the political world?
SEC: I love shooting. I own a .12 gauge shotgun, and am partial to skeet shooting. I enjoy fishing as well. I've recently taken up knitting, which is very relaxing. And I travel as much as I can. Day to day though, it's always a nice escape from news when I can squeeze in an hour of mindless television.
Thanks so much to S.E. Cupp for taking part in our interview. To learn more about her, you can visit her website: Red S.E. Cupp
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