Opposing Richard Spencer Hardly Excuses Congressman Zinke’s Record of Bigotry

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Let me preface what I am about to write with an acknowledgment that there are people I respect enormously doing righteous work to combat the ill-informed hatred of people like Richard Spencer and his band of largely imaginary Internet trolls who have threatened to come to Whitefish. I say this even though most of this troll army (if they exist) lack the intellect to comprehend modern air travel or the energy to leave their basements covered in replica Third Reich memorabilia if they did, and I seriously doubt Whitefish will see any kind of march from a mob of Internet Nazi wannabes.

Political leaders and the media have been rightly critical of Spencer, who looks more like a guy who roots for whatever team is currently most popular in European soccer than a member of Congress, but all the attention on his band of misfits gives a free pass to mainstream xenophobic politicians and policy proposals, many of which have been supported by the politicians using Spencer as cover.

Take Congressman Zinke, for instance. While he bravely (and belatedly) tweeted and signed off on a letter of his opposition to the white supremacists marching in the town he once called home, he had no problem during the last campaign with using vile, fear-mongering rhetoric about refugees, women and children he was terrified because of their Syrian background. A person can hardly be a champion of non-discrimination if he only stands for some groups while himself fueling hatred against another group.

It’s hardly a noble stand against bigotry as a matter of principle when Zinke himself has engaged in offensive, inaccurate rhetoric and signed on to be a cabinet member of a man who called Mexicans rapists, called for a ban on Muslims entering the country, and who made a fortune engaging in racist renting practices.

Unless I’ve missed it, the news coverage of Zinke’s opposition to Spencer and his views fails to mention that Zinke was the recipient of a $500 campaign donation from Spencer during his first run. While Congressman Zinke did eventually return the money and can’t be held accountable for the donations of another man, it’s telling that Spencer saw Zinke as a fellow traveler in white nationalist circles. Perhaps he found reason to support Zinke in the Congressman’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, or simply his association with other racist crackpots in the Flathead area. Perhaps it was Zinke’s decision to meet with and cosponsor legislation written by the hate group ProEnglish, whose executive director and founder are white nationalists.

Either way, you can be sure that Richard Spencer did not donate to Jon Tester or Steve Bullock, but did find something appealing about Mr. Zinke.

It’s awfully easy for politicians to take a stand against obvious, horrific bigots like Mr. Spencer and the media no doubt enjoys running feel good editorials and news pieces about a bipartisan opposition to a Nazi, but let’s not forget that some of those same politicians taking the easy, high road now took the low, bigoted road in their effort to win re-election.

Not being a bigot one time doesn’t make someone any less of a bigot. Doesn’t it seem that a critical press should ask Congressman Zinke why he chose to stand this time and lie down to bigots time and time again before?

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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.

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Pogo Possum
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Pogo Possum

Oh good grief. Now you are just spouting nonsense. You really need to get over your bromance fixation with Zinke.

LK
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LK

I really want to know. Just what are Slinky’s qualifications for being sec of interior? I mean, he lived in Montana for awhile and did a little hunting and fishing. If that’s his only qualification then damn near EVERY one in Montana is qualified! Including me! I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it. Slinky is a fraud, a liar, a venal opportunist and a moron who never had a real job in his life! AND, he’s a global warming denier. In other words, he’s highly qualified to be part of the Drumpf mafia, but he is totally unqualified to… Read more »

LK
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LK

p.s. Ya know, one of the things I really can’t understand is just why there wasn’t more reporting on Drumf’s ties to the mafia? I mean, Jeebus, the guy is a mobster. Always has been. How in the hell can that be good for America? He’s even in deep with the Russian mafia. If you want to meet some really nasty characters, the’re the guys! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3716125/How-Trump-Mob-offer-not-refuse-killing-building-skyscraper-Donald-s-shrewdest-investment-MAFIA.html But the good thing about Zinkenshizer being appointed is that he is SO stupid and incompetent, he just might be unqualified and lazy enough to accidentally do a good job! I mean, think about… Read more »

LK
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LK

I came across this letter and I think it’s something that the majority Americans can relate to. I came from a strong conservative Catholic family of eight kids. Dad was a coal miner who became a school teacher, so in our family, unions came first. And my dad never bough a Ford in his entire life because he hated Henry Ford. So, it was pretty unbelievable when at least two of my siblings became nazzis and trump supporters. They had made a yuuge amount of money in their careers, and then after that didn’t want anything further to do with… Read more »

LK
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LK

Every time I see the Zinkenshizer bragging about being a navy seal I want to puke. Why? Because Zinkenshizer IS a puke! I watched a great movie the other night called The Finest Hours. It was a fantastic movie, and all true. And I’m a lover of history, so I started researching the actual event which took place in 1952. The Coasties in the movie were still part of the greatest generation. Those are the guys I grew up with. They were REAL men. Humble, brave, courageous, and very patriotic, un LIKE Zinkenshizer who toots his horn every chance he… Read more »

LK
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LK

Oh my GOD! Slinky the Barking Seal musta spilled his seed BIG time, for he has been big time blessed by JAYZUS and the prosperity gospel! The Lawyard simply took a simple simpleton and simply turned him into the Sec. of Interior for spillin’ his seed! WAY TO GO, ZINKENSHIZER! See, you didn’t go blind after all for spillin’ your seed, just stupid!

Jesus, Scotty. Beam me up……………………..PLEASE!

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/florida-seed-faith-huckster-pastor-to-deliver-religious-invocation-at-trump-inaugural/

Americans, the dumbest mofo-ing delporables on the planet!

LK
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LK

WAY TO GO, Zinkenshizer! Wow! Drumpf don’t NEED no intelligence agencies in this country giving him intelligence. No sireee. He can get his intelligence ELSE where! Hmmm. Let me see. Who happens to have their own CIA? Eureka! That would be Slinky’s bald headed little moron buddy Neil Livingscam! By GOD Slinky created one job already! For his little folliclely challenged buddy! Sempre fi, Zlinke!

Jesus. This is turning into a farcical travesty of a joke!

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/ex-gop-lawmaker-trump-neednt-rely-on-us-intelligence-agencies-he-can-get-info-from-foreign-governments/

Bill
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Bill

Guys, food for thought, perhaps the dems need to rebuild on policies focused on mainstream ideology and not name calling, false claims based on unfounded / ridiculous internet threads claiming Mr. Zinke’s bigotry. Any voter with any common sense can see how this is totally unfounded political spin and extremely annoying. Where are the alternative policies and good justification. Financial competitive wind power with no subsidies justification or etc???? What are our other options? More jobs, our safety, peace in the middle east, health care? I am all ears. The dems have lost over a 1000 governorship seats and seats… Read more »

Pete Talbot
Admin

Bill, I’m thinking Amanda Curtis in the U.S. House would be a good start. Her main plank so far is to battle the GOP’s dismantling of Social Security and Medicare. Sounds to me like an appropriate campaign message.

Bill
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Bill

Pete, that would really get my attention if it evolves that the GOP jeopardizes SSI and Medicare. This is the direction the new dems need to approach.

LK
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LK

Bill, how long were in in that. Your coma that is?

LK
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LK

Here, Billy, if this doesn’t rouse the inbreds in this country to mutiny, NOTHING will. But I suspect that a lot of them are just too dumb to figure it out. Guess it’s patriotic to starve to death and go broke in your old age so that the Oligarchs can survive! FREEEEDUMB! http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/3407 BTW, I heard Flush Blimpaugh the other day say that oil is freedom. Yep, he said that. Oil is freedom. His listeners really ARE that stupid I guess to believe that crap. But that means that anyone who opposes big oil suddenly becomes a terrorist! It’s gonna… Read more »

LK
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LK

Bill, how are things out there in La La Land? What do you guys use for power out there? Bill, anyone with a SHRED of integrity and dignity would not take a part in the Drumpenfurher’s regime. And THAT is exactly why Zlinkenshizer joined up! He’s perfect! Slinky is using his navy seal concealment training to blend right in with those other shizer bags appointed by the Orange Julius. Ya can’t even see him! Ya see, Billo, there’s a REASON why Lord Cheetoh can’t get anyone to perform at his inaug ball. It’s because he’s dirt bag Mafioso! But hey,… Read more »

Bill
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Bill

lol, LK, your a hoot. So put my trust in Hillary and her appointees? Would Mr. Zinke have let, out of ignorance, our 4 people die in Benghazi thinking her Operation Zero Footprint would received bad press. Thanks for your advice and guidance.

LK
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Bob Williams
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Bob Williams

There’s more than bigotry at play. Consider consequences if Exxon CEO Exec takes over as Secretary of State. Especially consequences if somehow Rick Perry would takeover as head of the Department he wanted to eliminate. Especially since The Department of Defense, DOD-Army Corps of Engineers are responsible to OK places where ETP MLP DAPL would cross Easements held by Army Corps for Flood Control and Irrigation Projects. Very especially if somehow the new head of the Department of the Interior might be Ryan Zinke. In a debate with opponent Denise Junneau, Zinke stated that Keystone KXL “is the most smartest,… Read more »

LK
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LK

Great post, Bob! I suspect that once the American people wake up to shizerbags like Slinky the Barky Seal, it AIN’T gonna be so easy for the fascist bassturds! It’ll be the Watt effect. Remember James Watt? Well, the new battle cry will be Remember the Slinky! Slinky the barking seal will be the new james low wattage. And speaking of low wattage, ever hear the Zinkenshizer speak! Dumb, da dumb dumb, DUMB! Here’s what it’s gonna be for the next four years, Bob. Americans kick ass! And I kina like that.

LK
Guest
LK

These folks get it. No one with any integrity, dignity or self-respect wants to be associated with the p***Y grabber in chief, ex CEPT a dufus like slinky! Slinky just don’t care, for his reputation is already crap! (lying, fraud, etc.)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/petition-mormon-tabernacle-choir-trump-inauguration_us_5865b505e4b0de3a08f7ded4

LK
Guest
LK

Not to worry. Moron slinky has special seal training to kick global warming azz! Global warming, make his day! ‘Cause moron slinky is just so much smarter than smart people.

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/2/noam_chomsky_with_trump_election_we

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