Intelligent Discontent

Flip Flop Fever: A Ryan Zinke Checklist for the Debate


The third week of June means two things that share flip flops in common: the arrival of Montana summer and the first opportunity for Montana voters to witness State Senator Ryan Zinke debate a real opponent. In that spirit, I’ve created a primer for viewers headed into the debate.  My suggestion would be to make your picks in advance, to see if you can guess which Ryan Zinke will appear at Saturday’s debate in Butte.

A word of caution: I DO NOT recommend turning this into some kind of politico drinking game, given that Zinke flips more than a Chinese gymnast and flops more than a Brazilian soccer player. You’ve been warned.

On Abortion Rights

___ From 2009 through his primary campaign in 2014,  Zinke supported legal abortions during a woman’s first 20 weeks of pregnancy. He even received a 62% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Montana.

___ During the same primary campaign, Zinke asserted that he was the most pro-life Republican candidate running for the U.S. House.

On Gun Control

___ Zinke has a record and public statements that make him the most anti-gun candidate the Republican Party has run for statewide office in Montana for at least a generation. He expressed opposition to “assault” weapons, voted against guns in national parks, and was “undecided” on background checks, Montana gun laws, and background checks.

___ As a 2014 candidate in the Republican primary, Zinke took a hard line, doctrinaire interpretation of the Second Amendment.

On Energy Policy

___ Zinke said he is not against alternative energy, but added: “When it goes out of the laboratory into the field, then it has to compete on its own merits, unsubsidized.”

___ In 2011, he called for taxpayer subsidies for alternative energy, saying “our policy should be to improve efficiency, fund research, store nuclear fuel safely, and build new wind, solar, and biomass facilities.”

On Political Ideology

___ In 2013, Senator Zinke described himself as a moderate. He told the Portland Tribune ” He is writing a book titled, “The Rise of the Middle. I take the middle of the political spectrum,” Zinke says. “Middle America is us. ”

___ In 2014, Senator Zinke has decided to call himself “the right conservative for Montana” to win a Republican Party primary.

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Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a sixteen 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. 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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