Back in 2012, when his personal SuperPAC was just a gleam in his eye, Ryan Zinke was OUTRAGED that anyone would think to use the term “war” for political purposes. You can practically hear the pious indignation in this press release:
Montana State Senator and Former Commander at Seal Team 6 Ryan Zinke joined US Senate Candidate Wendy Long calling on President Obama and Kirsten Gillibrand to honor our veterans this Memorial Day by ending the sad rhetoric and politicization of “war.”
Zinke said, “The brave men and women of our military have been in sustained combat for over ten years. They’re worn pretty thin and for elected officials to politicize the heroic work of Seal Team Six or to compare real war to some campaign punch line is just inappropriate and I believe it should stop.”
Apparently, though, Zinke is only concerned about politicizing the idea of war when it comes to attacks against women from the Republican Party. When it’s the poor, embattled coal industry, Zinke thinks it’s perfectly appropriate to use the term. From his energy “plan”:
The War on Coal being waged by the Obama Administration has serious consequences for Montana’s economy…
From the press release when he filed for Congress:
Work on making the country energy independent, stop the war on fossil fuels…
From the speech when we didn’t lose the Republican primary:
He criticized the Obama administration for “it’s (sic)war on fossil fuels.”
Has Montana ever had a more inconsistent, opportunistic political candidate? In the context of his sudden flip-flops on abortion rights, gun control, and energy, this may be a relatively minor issue, but it’s illustrative of the simple fact that Zinke will say whatever he thinks will boost his popularity for a moment, no matter how inconsistent that statement might be with his beliefs.
Or maybe the answer is even simpler: Zinke doesn’t believe in anything other than Zinke. He certainly doesn’t represent Montana.