Why S. E. Cupp is Wrong about Rush

Conservative writer/commentator S. E. Cupp made a big splash this week, when she spoke out in the New York Times Magazine about Rush Limbaugh.

“And we can’t be afraid to call out Rush Limbaugh,” said Goodwin’s fiancée, S. E. Cupp, a New York Daily News columnist and a co-host of ”The Cycle” on MSNBC. “If we can get three Republicans on three different networks saying, ‘What Rush Limbaugh said is crazy and stupid and dangerous,’ maybe that’ll give other Republicans cover” to denounce the talk-show host as well.

To me, what she said didn’t actually sound that bad. What it sounded like to me is that the NYT took her extremely out of context. The whole second half of the quote sounds like Cupp was talking about what the media already does; not necessarily endorsing it. I was unimpressed, and attributed the furor to the cannibalistic wing of the conservative blogosphere.

Then Cupp responded, and I had to eat crow.

Okay. Let’s talk about this seriously.

Cupp stated in the NYT Magazine that Limbaugh is “crazy and stupid and dangerous.” Last time I checked, that was fairly fiery rhetoric. Innocuous is saying that you thought Marco Rubio’s water bottle moment was a mistake. Innocuous is saying that the right can’t forget how much it needs to win Florida.

A comment that is innocuous, by definition, doesn’t kick up a fuss.

While Rush occasionally goes too far, he is still an excellent broadcaster and an effective spokesman for conservative values. Comparing Rush to Todd Akin, which the interviewer does directly after Cupp’s remarks, is insulting. Implying that the majority of conservatives LIKED or AGREED with Todd Akin is asinine. Claire McCaskill, one of the politicians in America most reviled and disliked by her constituents…WON, because of conservative dislike of Todd Akin.

Just FYI, Obama lost Missouri by 9 points. McCaskill won by 15. So in a state where the vote for President went nearly 54% for Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for Senate lost by 15 points. That doesn’t exactly show a Republican party that embraces the Todd Akins of the world.

(If anything, we’re too harsh. While Todd Akin clearly has no understanding of how the conception process works, Claire McCaskill is a rubber-stamp vote for Barack Obama’s agenda, and the state of Missouri had clearly had enough of that.)

The problem for Ms. Cupp is that her inability to discern how the New York Times Magazine was going to run with her comments worked directly into their narrative. Instead of defending her remarks, she should have apologized; and stated what she actually meant.

It is 100% okay to disagree with Rush and still be a conservative. You can even be a prominent conservative. Our movement doesn’t have thought-leaders that you cannot defy upon pain of expulsion.

What is NOT okay is saying that people you disagree with are “crazy and stupid and dangerous”, especially without context. If you disagree with Rush, and you want to be that dramatic about it, give examples of things Rush has said that legitimately elicit a response of “That’s dangerous”. Obviously, the NYT wouldn’t keep that in the article; but when confronted on it, tell us why you feel that way.

It’s not like Rush Limbaugh really needs defending. He is more than capable of defending himself against any and all comers, but I’ve liked a lot of what Ms. Cupp has said in the past. If you’ve ever watched Real News on The Blaze TV (where Cupp is a panelist), there are clearly many issues that S.E. and Rush agree on whole-heartedly.

What they don’t agree on is Reagan’s 11th Commandment. It is fine to disagree, dislike, and even hate people who are generally on your side. But don’t go talk to the New York Times or MSNBC about how “crazy and stupid and dangerous” they are. Here’s a harsh truth that Ms. Cupp needs to learn. To the New York Times, there is literally no difference between you and Rush Limbaugh. Compared to the New York Times, you are both way out there in right-wing country. Because you are bashing Rush, they call your stance “kind” and “gentle”; but the second you disagree with Touré, you become a racist hater who rooted for Leonardo Dicaprio in Django Unchained.

Ms. Cupp, you need to learn the lessons of John McCain and Mitt Romney. Until they won the primary, the media trumpeted them as the only possible choice. The media called them leaders with kind hearts and a sense of moral fiber. Then they won the primary, and were all that stood between Barack Obama and the Presidency. Then the very same media destroyed them.

Luke Stibbs | The University of Fraser Valley | @LukeStibbs

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13 Responses

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  1. Gustmann52
    Jun 08, 2013 - 10:03 AM

    1) Rush limbaush *is* a crazy out of touch ranting lunatic (and boring as well.. I don’t know how people listen to him for 3 hours a day). There are plenty of more ideological and entertaining radio hosts, that aren’t as bigoted and crude. His arrogance can be funny, but that’s probably his only redeeming quality as an entertainer.

    2) The author’s last statement that it was the ‘media’ that destroyed the chances of John McCain or Mitt Romney of winning the presidency is laughable. McCain is an old out of touch warmonger and Romney is a rich man’s oligarch. Neither one of them had any great ideas that resonated with the American public. Obama had some good ideas, he just lied about them and never implemented them (which most politicians are guilty of doing by the way). If the GOP wants to win an election it will have to stop loving war and killing so much, stop revelling in the destruction of our civil liberties and privacy rights, come up with some GOOD and POSITIVE ideas for our country, and nominate a candidate like Chris Christie, Rudolph Giuliani, Rand Paul, or my pick, Michael Bloomberg. You may not like some things about all these men, but they are all effective leaders who get things done and govern well. And at the end of the day, that’s what the people want.

  2. Jim Prokop
    Feb 20, 2013 - 11:08 PM

    Aren’t a one of ya who would make a pimple on Reagan’s ass! Sorry!

  3. Christopher Rushlau
    Feb 19, 2013 - 02:44 AM

    Distinguishing agitation from incitement, most of this essay and the comments can be overlooked. Apparently the NYT and/or Cupp’s thesis is that, because Linbaugh has said “crazy,” etc., things, he should now be overlooked. But “especially without context” apparently means that no examples of such things were provided.
    Even assuming it is ever right to “ban” someone, as the former South African government used to do to people, there should be due process, such as citing examples of the language which is sought to be stopped.
    When journalists and politicians advocate for “banning orders” they are trying to work both themselves and democracy under law (“a system of ordered liberty”) out of a job. As JS Mill urged, speech is the disinfectant, like fresh air, that eliminates musty, stale, or foul political ideas.
    That fresh air analogy was also Pope John XXIII’s in calling for the Second Vatican Council: “opening the windows of the church to let in some fresh air” or words to that effect.
    It is never right to hate someone. Hatred is a willful blindness. To despise is literally to look down upon if not even to look away from.
    It is a visual metaphor for denial: willful ignorance. It is shutting your eyes and pretending that you thus make yourselves invisible and invulnerable. If someone is behaving badly, you need to keep an eye on them. Hatred is pretending they are not there in the full sense. This may make it easier to murder them, but then your own troubles really begin.

  4. Dr. Tesla
    Feb 18, 2013 - 10:11 PM

    Cupp isn’t a committed conservative, she’d be willing to say anything as long as it guarantees her a cushy job on television.

    there are a lot of intelligent pundits out there with economics degrees and yet she gets hired despite only having an arts history degree.

  5. Dr. Tesla
    Feb 18, 2013 - 10:07 PM

    What is funny about this is she gets paid by Glenn Beck and Beck is fairly easy to characterize as crazy. She doesn’t mention Beck but goes after Rush, and then her fans talk about how brave she is.

    the moral of this story is if you pay Cupp, she won’t criticize you.

  6. Renatius Barton
    Feb 18, 2013 - 08:56 PM

    What S. E. Cupp said is crazy, stupid and dangerous. She’s just a stupid MSM RINO hack.

  7. Trilby
    Feb 18, 2013 - 08:51 PM

    I agree with Daniel. You are misrepresenting what she said in very significant way. We all say things that can be considered crazy, dangerous, or stupid- we’re human beings who are fallible- but it’s another thing to call a human being crazy, dangerous, and stupid.

    • Matthew
      Feb 18, 2013 - 10:43 PM

      I agree: Trilby is crazy and stupid. Maybe not dangerous, but that’s because she hasn’t figured out the fundamentals of mathematics yet.

      Fuck you Trilby, and go away.

      • Trilby
        Feb 19, 2013 - 01:17 AM

        I apologize everyone- I forgot to introduce my good friend Matthew! He describes himself as a bleeding-heart liberal who knows government is the best way to fix society’s ills. He initially supported Hillary Clinton and Kucinich in 2008, but he’s come around as an Obama supporter. His big issues are solving climate change and getting guns off the street.

        In his spare time, he likes to try to bully people who disagree with him on internet forums. He also enjoys yoga, vegan restaurants, and reading Ms. Magazine.

      • Matthew
        Feb 19, 2013 - 02:53 AM

        You don’t apologize to anyone, fucking dipshit. You don’t even know me.

        I do know you come here to let everyone know you have no idea what you are talking about. I guess you can add slander to the mix.

        You need to heed my words, Trilby.

        Fuck you and go away.

      • Renatius Barton
        Feb 19, 2013 - 01:47 PM

        Matthew, please, watch your language. In my humble opinion you know not of what you speak.

      • Jim Prokop
        Feb 20, 2013 - 11:06 PM

        Matthew: Well, I see you are back with your smart ignorant mouth. The whole lot of you are ignorant not just poor old chicken-hawk Rush, but the whole lot of Radio hate-mongers as well as those of you who defend them. The world would be a better place if ALL the radio shock-jocks from right to left were gone. Let’s get back to some real discussion a civility. All you little radical punks might actually have to do some reading and stop listening to the hate and discontent crowed as well as formulate some of your own positive ideas. Nice thought,huh?

  8. Daniel Tellez
    Feb 18, 2013 - 08:09 PM

    Really dishonest to state that Cupp called Rush “crazy and stupid and dangerous,” when she clearly (as even you posted) said that what he “said is crazy and stupid and dangerous.” Big difference. Especially when it’s the central point of your article. That’s besides the point that she’s absolutely right.


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