Culture Montana Politics Ryan Zinke

Ryan Zinke: Less Leadership, More Cowardice

It’s certainly interesting to see a candidate like Ryan Zinke, whose only discernible qualification for Congress seems to be his military service, lacking the courage to debate the issues for Montana voters to decide candidate best represents them.

According to the Billings Gazette, Zinke backed out of a debate with what would probably be the largest statewide television audience in Montana’s largest city, despite picking the debate, demanding that one candidate be excluded, and pre-screening the questions to fit his seven talking points. From the Gazette:

Three hours after agreeing to the debate, Zinke’s campaign emailed The Gazette again, stating that the campaign had scheduled over the event. Zinke’s campaign then proposed rescheduling the event to 1 p.m.

Friday, Zinke spokeswoman Shelby DeMars issued a statement blaming John Lewis for debate cancellation. She would not say how Zinke would be spending his evening Sept. 29.

In case you’re inclined to believe the terrible political spin from the Zinke camp, the Gazette’s editor made it even clearer in a tweet this evening:


It’s understandable why Zinke would want to minimize his exposure in debates. He can’t phone a friend and have his personal Super PAC attack his opponent there, he can’t spew slogans for a full 90 minutes at one , and he can’t help but contradict himself and flip flop his way through them. By the end of one more debate, Zinke might be arguing with himself about abortion rights, gun control, the environment, and almost every other issue of importance to Montanans.

Given his total lack of conviction and even more glaring lack of qualification for the House seat, Zinke wants Montana voters to think this race is a question of character. Given his unwillingness to debate the issues, his entirely disingenuous statements about his involvement with a Super PAC built to support his candidacy, his dishonesty about his military records, and total inability to stay consistent on a single issue, one has to wonder why Zinke would think character is a winning issue for him: he’s an empty suit with a bankrupt ideology built around Zinke–and no one else.

His unwillingness to let the voters see the differences between the candidates is just the latest evidence that Zinke is unfit for the serious challenge of representing Montana in Congress.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.


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  • Well, I guess our hero isn’t so brave when forced to be in a less than friendly environment with the only weapons at his disposal being his thoughts and ideas now is he? He has time for John Boehner. He has time for Tom Foley and Fidelity National. He has time for Karl Rove. He has time for the Koch brothers. He has time for his people in California, New York and Texas. He just doesn’t have time for us, the people of Montana, ALL the people of Montana, not just his supporters. I guess it’s asking to much of him to go up against a formidable opponent, in front of everyone, without a gun in his hand.

  • Did he run away in the Seals? I don’t like “leaders” that run, but I guess Ryan Zinke is exactly that kind of person – scared, childish, and spoiled, expecting to get everything they want but then yelling to the heavens that its not good enough when they do get it.

    Montana can’t afford a 3-year-old in Washington.

  • Zinke refused to debate the Libertarian because Zinke turns into a liberal on the issues. Zinke would have more in common with Lewis then with Fellows. We don’t need more wafflers and John Mccains in Washington.

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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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