Can Someone Tell Ryan Zinke The Senate Race Isn’t Until 2018?

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It seems that the limitless ambition of newly-elected representative Ryan Zinke is perhaps pushing him into starting a political campaign for the US Senate just a little bit early. He’s a non-stop fixture in extremist right-wing media since being elected, and took the opportunity today to go to back to Breitbart “News” to launch a specious attack on Senator Tester on a procedural vote in the Senate over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tester, who has consistently voted for and publicly supported the construction of the pipeline, voted against a procedural measure to limit debate in the Senate, but certainly didn’t oppose the pipeline.

[pullquote]So the Congressman who’s positioning himself as the darling of the conservative media establishment and who started a PAC in his first month in office, the candidate who created a Super PAC to promote his candidacy for office and then appointed its treasurer his chief of staff, wants us to believe he’s above the special interest money game? Please. [/pullquote]

That fact certainly didn’t stop Representative Zinke from launching another attack, and he  told the least legitimate news agency in the US that:

“Montanans expect their lawmakers to do what they say, and say what they do,” Zinke said in a statement to Breitbart News. “To me, a vote against the Keystone is a vote against Montana. I’m a proud co-sponsor of the House bill to build the Keystone XL Pipeline because it is proven to be safe and in the best interest of Montana.

Let’s put aside for just a moment that Representative Zinke has flip flopped on every issue from gun control to global warming. He’s taken more positions on climate change than times he’s told people he was a Navy SEAL. For Zinke to suggest that Senator Tester—a man who has been remarkably consistent in his term in Washington, even when it meant casting votes that hurt him politically— lacks consistency has to be the least self-aware statement by a Montana politician since Denny Rehberg talked about being poor.

And of course Senator Tester is going to vote for the Keystone XL pipeline. Though I disagree with him on this position, he’s consistently advocated for its construction and approval. Unlike Representative Zinke and the Senate Republicans, however, Senator Tester also believes in the democratic process. Rather than an open debate with full consideration of amendments, the Republican leadership, more interested in scoring political points than actually passing the bill, attempted to ram it through the Senate without amendments. Senator Tester’s vote was not a vote against the pipeline, but against a bad way of making policy.

Zinke closed off his remarks with another shot at Senator Tester, one that managed the rare feat of both not making any sense and failing to recognize profound irony:

 I will always put Montana before raising money from special interests in Washington, D.C.”

That’s funny, because The Hill reports TODAY that Representative Zinke has launched his own PAC in Washington. So the Congressman who’s positioning himself as the darling of the conservative media establishment and who started a PAC in his first month in office, the candidate who created a Super PAC to promote his candidacy for office and then appointed its treasurer his chief of staff, wants us to believe he’s above the special interest money game?

Please.

Actually putting Montana first would mean not trying to demagogue every issue in Washington for personal gain and attacking the rest of the delegation needlessly. Despite political differences, members of the Montana delegation do need to be able to work together to protect the interests of the state. The only interest that seems to drive Representative Zinke is his own ambition to get his name in the press and launch attacks not worthy of a congressional PR flack.

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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.

2 Comments

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  • 2018? I think the Zinkster would make the ideal running mate for presidential candidate Palin in 2016. Talk about entertainment . . .

  • I wish someone would tell Mr. Zinke and his friend Mr. Daines to please pick up all his campaign signs. They are (still!!) littering the landscape. Ugh!

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