Remember when Ryan Zinke thought that he was qualified, after a few months in the Congress, to become the Speaker of the House? As laughable as that was then, it became even more absurd yesterday when Zinke and Congressman Duncan Hunter were embarrassed by a House Committee vote that moved their protest amendment closer to passage.
Angry that the Pentagon had decided to open all combat roles to qualified women, Representative Zinke introduced legislation to a bill that would have required all women to register for Selective Service. Zinke, who previously claimed that women in combat would cost lives, pressed for the amendment as a protest measure to mock the idea of women serving in jobs he doesn’t think they’re qualified for. The bill’s title, the Draft America’s Daughters Act, was a sign so clear that even a member of the Bundy Militia could tell Zinke was mocking the idea of women serving.
One little catch. Yesterday, the Republican-controlled Armed Services Committee adopted the measure on a 32-30 vote, with Zinke and Hunter forced to vote against their own amendment. While Zinke has displayed a masterful ability to flip flop on almost every issue, it’s rare for a member of Congress to vote against his own amendment.
To summarize: Representative Zinke is responsible for the introduction of an amendment that would, in his view, lead to the deaths of American soldiers.
Democratic Representative Jackie Speier of California succinctly explained how the Zinke-Hunter proposal both was an embarrassing political stunt and an insult to women who serve in the military. From The Week:
“While you may be offering this as a gotcha amendment,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, Hunter’s Democratic colleague from California, “I would suggest that there’s great merit in recognizing that each of us have an obligation to be willing to serve our country in a time of war.”
The Montana press, from Kalispell to Billings fell all over itself to cover Zinke’s press-ready stunt when he introduced the bill. It would seem equally important to write a story about his amateurish error and the passage of an amendment he introduced—and then had to vote against.
Being a member of Congress includes tasks that are more challenging than bloviating on Fox News and writing op-eds. If Montana only has one member in the House, shouldn’t it be someone who takes the job more seriously than as a platform for political gain?