GOP Honchos: Zinke is Slinky on Abortion

zinkeslinkyIt has not been a good week for Ryan Zinke, the former state legislator from Whitefish who is running for Congress.  He is in the midst of a nasty GOP primary and his fellow Republicans are ganging up on him and making life very tough.

It’s good drama, and it could bode well for Jon Lewis if he beats out Jon Driscoll, as I expect he should, for the Democratic primary in the House race.

This week, Zinke was (predictably) criticized by right-wingers, heavily, for having made several votes in favor of women’s medical privacy in his time as state senator. His votes would actually reduce the need for abortion, by improving access to birth control and prevent unintended pregnancy in the first place, but facts don’t matter to his opponents, who would probably outlaw birth control altogether. (He also made many anti-choice votes.)  The state newspapers had two separate articles over the weekend describing Zinke’s mixed abortion position and now, today, a third one has been published.

Yesterday’s piece reported that the Three Amigos–Rick Hill, Ken Miller and John Brenden, all former GOP state chairs–are slamming Zinke for being pro-choice and for having voted on occasion in favor of the environment. They say he is not a true conservative but rather (gasp) a moderate.  Thus in their view Zinke does not pass the conservative purity test that we have often seen applied in GOP primaries.

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To review, Zinke is in a race right now against Corey Stapleton, Matt Rosendale and Elsie Arntzen among a few others. These are all current or former state legislators.

Arntzen is said to have extraordinary personal wealth at her disposal, but if she does she clearly hasn’t spent much of it. She’s not really that visible, nor has she done or said anything to separate herself from the pack or establish a brand.

Stapleton and Rosendale each have put a fair amount of resources into the race although only one of them–Rosendale–seems to be speaking the language of the Republican base.  He has an ad on TV, in case you haven’t seen it, in which he shoots a drone down with a rifle. And, Rosendale tends to come across as a lunatic, some kind of cross between a white supremacist and an inmate at a maximum security prison.


Zinke’s TV ad, meanwhile, shows him walking in a field and talking about his grandmother (and he tweeted several times this week about his grandmother) but does not position him in any way on the GOP spectrum, and does not provide the viewer any memorable visual like Rosendale does.  And the narrator says Zinke is the right kind of conservative, which is a dangerous thing to say in this climate of rabid TEA Partiers when there is no elaboration. The implication of the TV ad is that Zinke is an old fashioned conservative, but that drone doesn’t fly these days among the Tea Party.  I believe it could be a misstep for Zinke to have spent so much money on so bland an ad, because he should have foreseen the concerted attacks on his conservative cred, and done something more along the lines of Rosendale–something to boldly brand himself as a wingnut is needed to win the GOP primary.

Zinke has misfired before with the statewide GOP electorate, notably in 2012 when he joined up with Neil Livingstone as his lieutenant governor candidate. That campaign was never much more than a whisper.

The strange part is that Zinke is rumored to have shot and killed dozens of Iraqi soldiers in the 1990s in the first Gulf War.  I would have thought that shooting and killing foreigners would earn an automatic victory in a gun-crazed GOP primary nowadays.  Isn’t that what every Tea Party voter dreams of? And yet Zinke seems like he might be stalled, floundering.

Then again, without any polling data it is tough to say who is leading this race.  Public Policy Polling or Rasmussen will no doubt soon publish some data and maybe then we’ll know where it all stands.

If I had to guess I’d say it’s now a three way heat between Zinke, Rosendale and Stapleton.  Stapleton is running statewide for the third time; Rosendale has spent a boatload on his TV ad; and Zinke has a strong following the Flathead but the attacks against him are probably wearing him down.

For some unknown and odd reason, Zinke and Artzen, though opponents, have the same campaign treasurer.

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One hilarious item in the Zinke coverage is that the top anti-choice activist in Montana, the president of the state’s Right To Life chapter, Greg Trude, is supporting Zinke.

Trude was asked how he can support a candidate who has taken pro-choice votes. Trude said Zinke has a 100% pro-life rating from his organization. The reporter asked to see the organization’s official candidate ratings. Trude said he doesn’t have any on paper, but that he keeps all candidates’ scores “in his head.”


42 Comments on "GOP Honchos: Zinke is Slinky on Abortion"

  1. It’s unfortunate we don’t have Republicans smart enough to know abortion isn’t an issue, it’s a detractor issue.

    How much money does abortion and contraception make up in our economy? So it’s a wedge issue that’s just great at keeping the two parties in power. Most people are stupid enough to get worked up about it. But then the propaganda wings of the two parties are so good that many believe abortion matters.

    What’s unfortunate with Zinke is that he’s changing his views. I’m not sure if that’s the out of state money that’s got its hooks in him or what he thinks he needs to do to win. Usually I only do things I don’t want to when people are paying me, you know, like work. So who’s Zinke working for here?

    What’s really sad is how much I’ve been reading about abortion in the state papers. Well, scratch that, I haven’t read a word of it. Because I’m smart and educated enough to know that abortion isn’t an issue – we just want it to be. We want an issue like this that will continue to divide us, allow us to yell at one another, and play blame and finger pointing games.

    This is what rich people do, and they love to spend their money to see poor people do the same thing. It’s like entertainment, a sporting event, watching those people with signs protesting. Nothing comes of it, it’s not supposed to. The issue is only there to keep the two parties alive.

    It’s amazing how much relevance things lose when you just stop paying attention to them. Most of the country has on abortion, Montana politicians should do the same thing.

    • There are people that are absolutely adamant about the issue. I wonder what sorts of personal experiences they have had with abortion to lead them to their rock solid and fervent position. Especially pro-lifers. Have their lives really been that affected by abortion that they need to push the issue so much?

  2. Mr. Zinke has been called ‘on the carpet’ by the Pentagon and US Navy for his unauthorized use of the Navy SEAL emblem in his campaign. We’ll see how soon the emblem’s off the bus!!!

  3. Ryan plays by his own rules.
    Notice his illegal campaign signs!
    No disclaimer of
    who is the Camaign Treasurer.

  4. Aware and Not stupid | May 6, 2014 11:53 PM at 11:53 PM |

    Well the MontanaGOP took direct aim at their own ballot box this time! The action of the 3 past Chairmen is classic temper tantrum. What’s got these 3 little boys all twisted up in the fact that they can’t CONTROL Zinke. He’s his own man and isn’t about to let the likes of a loser like Ken Miller and the Tea Party ilk do his thinking for him. Wonder what these political mental giants are going to do when Zinke pulls this off in June and again in November? I hope none of them are dumb enough to apply for jobs on his staff. Seal Team 6 is about to let the boys at the GOP know what the Eagle left on their heads in the upcoming flyover!

    • the name for seal team six was changed to DevGru in 1987. the only people who still call it seal team six are hollywood, the video game industry and true believers.

  5. It’s crazy that in American politics people treat TV advertising as reality. Such ads are psychological tools, done to manipulate people rather than inform us. They do not contain useful information.

    The only way to know a candidate is to analyze his finances. That is never done here. Who, for example, gave Jon Tester that big wad of cash that put him in the Senate with 48% of the vote? That was extremely sophisticated political maneuver done with advertising calculated to achieve exactly the effect it did for Tester. Yet we have never been privileged to know whose debt Tester is in.

    That’s nuts. American politics is nuts. We never talk about who these people are or who they really work for. It ain’t us. Who bought you, Tester? Who? Forget the stupid ad – who is buying Zinke? Who? That would be useful information.

  6. OT. Got my ballot in the mail today. Voted for Dirk Adams. He’s the only senatorial candidate who’s not in the pocket of Big Oil.

    • Why vote now when Election Day is almost a month in the future?

      • Why vote now? Because very few choices on ballot.

        For instance, listen to Steve Daines interview on KUFM!
        ESP listen to end and Castle doctrinaire !
        Finally America has three parties!
        Doctrinaire Ryan Republicans. Moderate Republicans. Democrats.
        Beware all who talk out of both sides of mouth, while thinking with one side of brains big or small.
        A few very good people on the ballot are easy to spot and vote for now. They are like heirlooms at a garage sale.

        • You are convinced, then, that you will learn nothing between now and Election Day that could change your vote?

          • Of course not!
            I just posted in support
            of those who vote early.
            Especially when there is good reason like very few good choices on the ballot.
            That is the issue I suggested.
            Your response ?

            • Early voters abdicate their civic duty to consider all the information before they vote. In my judgment, early voting is indefensible and irresponsible. I always vote in person on Election Day. So should everyone who is physically able to get to a polling place.

              • robert petersen | May 12, 2014 3:38 PM at 3:38 PM |

                sorry but I’m voting the Republican ballot early. I have things to do. Not that this is any indicator of how I will vote in the General Election…

          • Its not rocket science, Conner. Walsh is money’s guy, and is on a leash. During election campaigns, he’s allowed to sound like a liberal, even progressive, if it gets him votes. But he’s a cloaked right-winger. Money don’t like real pwoggies.

            Adams might be lying too, but that would simply reduce the election to the American standard, no real choice.

            Send in the ballot, go fishing.

            • Clean off your boots. Go silent.

              • What is so interesting about politics are you who claim expertise and know nothing! It is as if you are hypnotized, or at least trained not to look where it matters.

                • Tom Tancredo: call your orifice.

                  • Booted from Pogies, “Intelligent discontent”site again, it must be hard to be MARk and Tom Tancredo’s orifice.

                    Yea I got my Ballot, but I awaiting Dirk Adams and John Bolinger to wow me with the truth yet! See I am awaiting Dirk to come clean on his Bank Running fiascos, and the real reason Bolinger didn’t have the guts to continue running as a republican!

                    Figured Id give them time to change my mind about voting for Walsh. Waiting!

                    • You’re going to vote for Walsh, fer chrissakes. That order came down months ago.

                    • The Colorado perforation spends a lot of time huffing and puffing about an election he can’t vote in?

                      Garcon, Garcon I ordered a plate of Montana reality, Not that greasy serving of Ham.

                    • Seriously Mark go troll Colorado blogs, please.

                    • I lived in Montana 59 years, longer than you. I worked for Montana wild lands, ran for office, worked for other progressives. We still visit there, own property there. We still love the place even as its politics are so filthy corrupt that turkey vultures fly north during elections just to get out of the toxic air.

                      I am a progressive. The worst part of Montana politics are the Democrats. Party leaders are cloaked right wingers, disingenuous liars, manipulative and seedy. They make me wanna puke. So I spend my time having discussions with Democrats who are too dense to see this.

                      Oh, Hi Norma. How’s Pogie these days?

                    • Garcon, Can you please get me a cup of grizzley brew and not this Kool Aid they keep offering me from Colorado!

                    • That is called “deflection” Norma. Whenever faced with information you cannot comprehend, you go off on some goofy rant unrelated to anything. My advice: Try thinking better, or if you are unable to think too good, stop trying.

                    • Its you kind of reality Mark, Wacky! Still waiting for the links!

                    • Norma: “Comprehend” is the key word there. You cannot be reasoned with because you cannot comprehend things. When I say Democrats are corrupt, the word bounces off you, never penetrating your mind, because using “corrupt” in the same sentence as “Democrat” is, to you, an unfathomable concept, like saying “Green is yellow.”

                      People think your answers do not make sense, but they do in this light – you respond as you are able based on what you understand to be true. You just don’t comprehend enough to be sentient.

            • I was conversing with a young film student at MSU one time over coffee, and she was looking for scripts and mentioned one that talked about Armenia, which she said was the first massacre of the twentieth century. I said I thought that was wrong, that the US massacre in the Philippines shortly after the turn of the century was the first. She looked at me and her eyes flashed in non-comprehension. That look – the inability to comprehend things that you are taught to believe are not true, is what I saw on your face when I said that Montana politics are so corrupt. It’s not that you think I am wrong, as you cannot even think about it. It’s utterly outside the realm of possible for you. Consequently, when you hear things like that, you deflect, attack, say stupid stuff, like you have done here.

              This is the problem with American politics in general, that the level of comprehension is so low that political dialogues are stifled and reduced to taking shots at the other party, like Cowgirl does. There is no self-examination, introspection. Your leaders want it like that, they want you dumbed down. SO they encourage you, which is why the Montana Democratic Party runs this website. It keeps you in the stupid.

              Americans generally cannot think well, and are easy putty for politicians.

              Easy too fool – way too easy to fool. It’s hard to watch.

  7. 2011’s HB 198 is my litmus test. Zinke fails Rosenberg wins.

  8. By the way, Zinke STILL running TV ads with unauthorized use of Dept. of Defense, US Navy SEAL emblem! DOD says they’ve spoken with the Zinke campaign but seems like Zinke ‘slow’ to
    get ads fixed…….I wonder if SEALS were ever that slow in vital missions?

  9. Aware and Not stupid | May 11, 2014 4:02 PM at 4:02 PM |

    Spent a very entertaining evening with a democrat insider last night, what insight! So the D’s have written off Walsh, no money and not easy to raise more, so they’re already saying Daines takes that seat but feels confident that they have enuf’ stuff on Zinke for Lewis to take him out…..ok, we’ll see if he’s right, personally I think they underestimate Zinke. If Lewis sells himself to the voters as a Conservative Democrat, to the right of Zinke to get elected, he could become a one term Congressman when he gets to D.C. And has to start to vote the company line when Pelosi gets him by the zipper and he has to come back home and justify his lefty voting to the taxpayers. Interesting times ahead for sure, good to know that the D’s have figured out that Walsh is a short termer on the D.C. Cocktail circuit and he’ll be retiring his even shorter political career permanently in November and coming home to play full time Grampa.

    • Might want to rethink that handle there, buddy.

    • At this point, Lewis is likely to win the race regardless of the money involved. He already has a fundraising advantage and he is a solid candidate. The only things Skinky has going for him is that he has an “R” after his name and he can’t be pinned down on any one issue (he flip flops better than a Californian at a Tofu market).

      You are probably right about Walsh – at least to the extent that Walsh is not likely to win his race. Daines has a comfortable lead, and unless something changes – A LOT – Daines is likely to win. I do disagree with the idea that Walsh is being abandoned, though. There is still a LOT of financial support coming Walsh’s way. The only question is how much of a difference it is going to make. Walsh is a good candidate, but the timing might not work out for him and Daines has solid support – both in Montana and out.

  10. Some insider????? LOL where do people get this crap????

  11. Are we equivalency testing again Gop schlepping and Buffoonery vrs Democrats? So I am supposed to believe you? Really? not my Party? LOL

    Look, I think our senator Walsh is on pretty firm terra firma compared to the others…. And then just because you say so? Bwahahahahaha

    • Aware and Not stupid | May 13, 2014 7:34 PM at 7:34 PM |

      Time will tell Norma, the voters will decide, I suspect the ‘dark money’ will flow into this state like water out of a gushing firehose in both campaigns, I’m no Vegas style gambler, but I’m putting what little money I have on Daines. BTW, in the Zinke article Cowpie notices that both Zinke and Arntzen have the same campaign treasurer. That’s former Gov. Tim Babcock’s daughter, Lorna Kuney. She has a business and does campaign treasury work for Republican candidates who hire her. She’s one of the most proficient, accurate Treasurer’s in the state, there has yet to be a Commissioner of Political Practices that has EVER questioned her work. Her reputation is completely untarnished. She’s got more personal integrity than a number of the former COPP’s have had. It’s a business to her and her personal committment to keep Republican candidates financial records above reproach.

      • Hey, thanks, Aware, I was wondering who Kuney was. Now I don’t need a google fu.

      • what does treasury work for campaigns have to do with the issues which you glam over because– well— lets face it Daines hasn’t got a clue unless he is told by the Koch brothers what to say. In fact where is this smart alec stevie boy? Where’s this teabagger, who cant debate with his peers… and why are the MTGOP letting him hide under their bedsheets with holes cut in them?????

        Lets face it Steve is dead meat. he can’t face his partybase! there is so much baggage on this guy, he wont be able to beat the war veteran in this state. I’m telling you they will take Walsh over a guy who sends jobs to china and wont advance medicaid

        • Aware and Not stupid | May 16, 2014 12:13 AM at 12:13 AM |

          Ask Cowpie Norma, he’s the one who brought up the question about Zinke and Arntzen having the same treasurer. Your optimism for Walsh is admirable to be sure, but you better learn to like the words Senator Steve Daines, 6 years is a long time to keep yer’ britches in a bunch!

  12. The fact that he voted against medicare, Medicaide, swallowed Ryan’s budget whole, still whines about Obamacare tried to cut off food stamps, meals on wheels…. Sent jobs to China, Cosponsored stealing water rights in Montana for corporations, and selling off public land… that won’t make a dent in his campaign?????? I beg to differ!

    What’s more,the debacle of not debating on the issues? Really?

    Naw, Its not helping republicans anywhere else in the country. Fact is your gonna see the senate become just a bit Bluer!

    • The man also tried to kill tourism in the state when he gleefully sign to shut down the Government. Montana lost 400 million in revenue, because of Steve Daines. LOL part of the lowest approval ratings for the congress??Ever? A cockroach has a better approval rating than his sorry Report card from Congress!

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