Ryan Zinke Continues His Association with Retired General Who Called for a Coup

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It seems that recent conservative and former moderate Ryan Zinke has managed to retain a connection with a retired general who is active in anti-government calls for revolution against the American government.

At a Montana Family Foundation event headlined by Oliver North in Whitefish last Thursday, House candidate Ryan Zinke had the opportunity to spend more time with retired General Paul Vallely, someone who, despite having called for a violent revolution against the American government, is somewhat of a darling among some Montana Republicans.

It’s a troubling association, as Vallely is a fringe extremist who has gone beyond run of the mill right wing birtherism to actually advocate (and offer to lead!) a coup against the United States:

Tea Party leader, retired Army general and former Fox News contributor Paul Vallely in a recently published video told a Tea Party group that, if given the troops, he would lead a coup against the U.S. government.

Vallely has called made his comments in a discussion with an Arizona-based Tea Party group last December, a recording of which the website Right Wing Watch recently acquired. “I had a call this afternoon from Idaho, the gentleman said, ‘If I give you 250,000 Marines to go to Washington, will you lead them?’” Vallely, who was Fox News’ senior military analyst during the Iraq War, told the group. “I said, ‘Yes, I will, I’ll surround the White House and I’ll surround the Capitol building, but it’s going to take physical presence to do things.”

Vallely is, at best a deluded crank, and at worst, a wannabe traitor. In just the past few years, he’s called for an Operation American Spring, which yielded tens of protestors this past week, the arrest of the President and almost every member of Congress, and a second American revolution.

Some might argue that it’s unfair to criticize Zinke for meeting Vallely at a political banquet, but the association between the two men runs much deeper than that, and as usual with Zinke, the the thread runs right back to his SuperPAC. Vallely was one of the first board members of Zinke’s Special Operations for America organization, as Media Matters for America reports:

SOFA does not list any information about its advisory board on its website as of this posting, but its Twitter account states that Paul E. Vallely is a SOFA board member.

Zinke has also accepted Vallely’s endorsement and while he was chairman of Special Operations for America, entered into a strategic “partnership” with Valley’s Stand Up America.

While a self-described moderate as recently as one year ago, Zinke has aggressively reached out to the people Vallely counts as his supporters, as this entirely irrational campaign letter demonstrates. It appears on a site called Last Trump Gathering, which appears to combine rapture theology with reactionary politics.  An excerpt shows just how close Zinke is to endorsing the worldview of these fanatics:

Under Barack Obama’s failed leadership, we are witnessing what a big, centralized authoritarian government looks like. Our Founding Fathers warned us this was a recipe for disaster….

The catastrophic effect Obamacare is having on both our free-market economy and the individual lives of millions of our fellow Americans is just the latest example of why liberalism must be confronted — and soundly defeated!

As a former Navy SEAL I’ve travelled all over the world. I’ve seen what corrupt and unaccountable governments do to people. Never in my life did I think America could ever be compared to any of these Third World nations.
But with over 25 million Americans looking for work, over 80 million given up hope of ever finding a job, and a growing percentage of our population looking to government for handouts, we are very much on the road to a bad place. A dramatic course correction must happen immediately.

Zinke has always had a bizarre affinity for the anti-government crowd. When he was running for Lt. Governor in 2012, he signed a document called the Montana Constitutional Pledge, which among other claims, asserted that the American government was headed to the “dust-bin of history” and that International Baccalaureate programs were a UN conspiracy to destroy the country.

The one thing that is increasingly clear is that there’s nothing more unclear than where Ryan Zinke stands on the issues. One day, he’s pro-choice and the next he is pro-life. One day, he’s a moderate who favors sensible gun regulations and the next, he’s handing out .50 cal ammunition.

All of that waffling and dissembling, though, pales in the face of his association with people like General Vallely. There can be no defense of a candidate who associates himself with the worst, most extreme wing of the Republican Party, a wing calling for an actual armed revolution against the democratically elected President and Congress.

Mr. Zinke, that’s not America. I’m pretty sure your grandmother would agree.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

3 Comments

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  • Ballad of the Right Follower

    From Paul Valley they say you are going,
    You won’t miss his bright eyes and crazed smile,
    For, his views, shall we say, are revolting,
    His cracked pot does no longer beguile.

    Once you stood at his side with your musket,
    Once you loved every word that he spoke,
    Once you swore to old Paul your allegiance,
    Then his spell on you finally broke.

    You were looking for someone to lead you,
    How you ached for a man with a cause,
    You’re a sap for a fool with a mission,
    Common sense never gave you great pause.

    Now to Zinke they say you are turning,
    He’s a man who’s astride a horse white,
    Like Paul Valley to some he’s revolting,
    But to you he’s the fellow who’s right.

  • I will never ever ever understand why on earth Oliver North is considered a coup for Repubs for an endorsement.  (well there are SO many things I will never understand about R primary voters.)  But this is one of those closer to the top of scratching my head list.

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