Ryan Zinke Just Can’t Stop Breaking Department of Defense Policy

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It’s like he just can’t help himself: despite being called out for illegally using the Navy SEAL insignia during his first campaign for Congress and while he ran the Super PAC that he led until days before announcing for his bid, Congressman Zinke is back at it, promoting his candidacy for re-election with Facebook ads that show him in uniform, in ads that do not contain the standard disclaimer required by the Department of Defense.

From my Facebook feed today:

That Zinke can’t seem to follow the DOD policy makes sense, as his entire justification for re-election is that he once served as a SEAL. On his official Congressional page, he offers press releases with headlines like “Navy SEAL Commander-Turned-Congressman Ryan Zinke Slams Obama For Plan To Bring Terrorists To America” and occasionally even brags about the specific number of people he killed while in service. His seemingly limitless capacity for self-aggrandizement is somewhere between parodic and repulsive, and reflects a cultivated effort to obscure the truth about his service in Congress: that he has failed to make any meaningful impact and has done little for the people of Montana.

What’s more, he needs to distract his conservative base by reminding them of his military service. They never really trusted him given his position on guns, abortion, and the environment, and he’s betrayed them by voting for Speaker Boehner, for the omnibus spending bill, and for what they see as programs that will allow refugees to settle in the United States. Immediately after those votes, his Facebook page was filled with bitter denunciations of people who felt Zinke had talked a conservative game but voted with the Washington establishment. Since then, it’s all SEALS all the time, with the occasional foray into xenophobic attacks on refugees.

Perhaps having been a SEAL was a reason for the people of Montana to have elected Congressman Zinke once, but it’s not a reason to re-elect him, no matter how often and how pathetically he reminds us of those days. His job now is to represent his constituents, not rest on past achievements. His inability to move past those experiences reminds this English teacher of the way F. Scott Fitzgerald described Tom Buchannan, a man whose life was never as a exciting as when he played football as a young man: “One of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax.”

Everyone in Montana knows you were a SEAL, Congressman. It’s time to run a campaign on what you’ve done for Montana as its Representative in the House. And it’s time to respect the military you talk about so often, and start following their important guidelines about partisan campaigning. It’s hard to imagine respecting your campaign when you can’t respect that basic set of guidelines.

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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.

5 Comments

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  • I would be curious if he got the go-ahead from the other folks pictured in this photo. He just openly published the faces of a bunch of operators who prefer to remain in the shadows. Quite the battle buddy.

  • So, I suppose this means you’re not going to buy his book. Sad, sorry excuse for Montana’s representative. It’s definitely all he has going for him

  • Here’s a guy who commanded and admired Chris Kyle, a brainwashed, brain dead authoritarian, empty shell filled with putrefying Narcissism ~
    Zinke thought the Hollywood bloody popcorn flick, was a good adaptation; IE the skewed version also ‘had to be told’ by Clint ‘make my day’ shamless prurient bloodlust Eastwood (i was in a Clint Eastwood movie) ~ typical dbl speak from a anti-war warrior from the Warrior Culture, whose whole family would be without a job if it weren’t for finding and slaying that ‘Islamic terrorist organization.’ ~ by golly.
    Zinke is definitely not a bright man… A lifer on the gubmints teat and now scrambling to find his ass, where a plan might be hidden…still on the taxpayers teat… Who and what is the ‘Islamic Terrorist’?
    Zinke would like to ‘splain to us what a Wahbbist is, where they come from, who flew planes into the Twin Towers ??? and why oh why was he fighting in dozens of countries that we and Congress know nothing about… what kind of transparency is that Mr. Zinke?
    It’s pretty clear that Montana isn’t as sophisticated politically as the Rah Rah Montana librul types would have us believe. Zinke won. And it’s probably due to the MT Dem Pty ~ i can see Zinke winning as much as the affluent Librul class in Helena saddles us with luzers.
    The young working class is throwing money at Bernie / it should be a mirror act essentially here in MT to ship this Lifer off the ‘REVOLVING Doors of Gubmint and off site
    ps: that F Scott Fitzgerald football thingy is all wrapped up with Al Bundy on Married With Children

  • Oh no, not the Seal insignia controversy.

    Good thing he didn’t have top secret documents on some unprotected private server.

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