I met Ryan Zinke in 2008 when he asked me to support his campaign for state Senate and help him secure the endorsement of Montana Conservation Voters. Skeptical, I told him I’d seen green Republicans chewed up and spit out by extremists in the party. Not me, he thumped. I’m a Navy Seal and I don’t back down from doing the right thing. “I’m a Teddy Roosevelt Republican,” he said.
MCV co-endorsed Zinke, and he was elected. I was proud when he emerged as the Legislature’s most informed, responsible Republican on energy and climate. He was eager to tell me about bringing top military brass to Helena to explain that climate change is a national security issue. He co-signed a letter asking President Barack Obama and Congress to pass strong climate change legislation.
If Ryan Zinke was running for Congress in 2010, he’d have my support. Because in 2010 he was unafraid to put leadership before politics. Sadly, the opposite is now true. I now regard Zinke to be an unprincipled, self-glorifying, dangerously cynical phony.
Zinke now denies the clear scientific evidence that climate change is happening and is caused by burning fossil fuels. He says we should do nothing to address this enormous threat to our state and nation. Instead, he champions Big Coal and its agenda to export Montana coal to China.
At one time, Zinke was principled and brave. Now he’s more politics, less leadership.