Representative Zinke Supports a Racist Birther Bill

Ryan Zinke

For a long time, I’ve just assumed that Representative Ryan Zinke was little more than a self-aggrandizing opportunist, willing to switch almost every political position he’s taken for the sake of winning a GOP primary and getting himself on Fox News. The more I look into his record, though, the less I can understand his support for some of the most ill-conceived, idiotic, and downright racist proposals from the bowels of the crazy wing of the Republican Party.

Today, I noticed that Zinke was one of a dozen Republican co-sponsors of a particularly odious piece of legislation called the Stop Birth Tourism Act, which is ostensibly designed to combat the “flood” of immigrants who come to America on tourist visas to have their children. The bill’s sponsors are a veritable who’s who list of bigots and demagogues, from Iowa’s Steve King to Representative Zinke’s good friend Louie Gohmert of Texas.

The law comes right out of the paranoid, anti-woman fantasies of the Montana GOP, empowering consular officers to turn away visitors to the US “if the officer determines she is likely to give birth in the U.S. if admitted.”

Steve King, one of the co-sponsors Zinke followed into supporting this racist bill, is known for his extremist, nativist views. At a hearing before a House Judiciary subcommittee in April, Republican proponents of the bill struggled so mightily to find people in support of it that they had to bring in an 80+ year old professor from the University of Texas, who had previously written some problematic statements:

This would be the Lino Graglia who caused a furor in 1997 when he said that Latinos and African Americans are “not academically competitive with whites” and come from a “culture that seems not to encourage achievement.” He also said at the time that “I don’t know that it’s good for whites to be with the lower classes.” This is also the same Lino Graglia who said in a 2012 interview that black and Hispanic children are less “academically competent” than white children, and he attributed the academic gap to the “deleterious experience” of being reared by single mothers.

And, of course, Zinke’s friend Louie Gohmert, who came and spoke to Montana Republicans without any real coverage from the press, is terrified of immigrants having children because their children will become BABY TERRORISTS:

I suppose it’s not surprising that Representative Zinke, a man who called for the invasion of Mexico, would associate himself with this pack of racists and idiots, but I wonder what the Ryan Zinke of 2011 would say about him.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a 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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