It makes sense that a candidate for the US House running in the current climate of the Montana Republican Party would have to burnish his conservative credentials, especially if that candidate has a track record as a pro-choice gun control advocate who previously bragged about being a moderate. It’s hard to criticize a candidate for playing to his base in a primary, especially a primary likely to be split evenly between those who believe in Supremacy Clause and those who don’t.
But there should be limits to the discourse in politics, especially in a country riven by deep political divides that seem insurmountable. Former State Senator and current House candidate Ryan Zinke crossed that line the other day, when he decided, at a public event, to refer to former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as “the anti-Christ.”
The Bigfork Eagle reports that Zinke made his remark to a group of Republican supporters:
“We need to focus on the real enemy,” he said, referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he called the “anti-Christ.”
Ironically, Zinke made the remarks about Senator Clinton at the same event where he said how important it is to have honor and decency.
Zinke said he wants to restore truth, grace, honor and decency, which he called “our moral compass. It’s always been Judeo-Christian,” he said.
While that kind of rhetoric might be appropriate on a Montana militia message board, it’s unconscionable for a federal candidate to speak like that, no matter how pathetically desperate he is to give the impression he’s a “real conservative.”
We can—and must—passionately disagree with one another on questions of policy in this country. We can certainly do that without this kind of reactionary hate-filled nonsense.
I’d like to say Mr. Zinke can do better. I’m just not sure that’s true.