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All Hat, No Cattle


I don’t usually look to Outside magazine for my political commentary, but there is one exception. That’s when they discuss the odious Ryan Zinke, who as you can see in the picture above is trying way too hard to be the Marlboro Man when he is not eviscerating our national monuments. This profile of Zinke just brutalizes him. Turns out that early in his political career, which only goes back around a decade, he was quite moderate on environmental issues, to the point of irritating his fellow Republicans. Then he realized his ticket to power was as a right-wing extremist on land issues, except for his native Montana where he wanted to remain electable. The sheer ambition and the utter lack of principles come through loud and clear. But the best part is the end, one of the best endings to a savaging piece of journalism I’ve ever read.

I wondered what Teddy Roosevelt would think of that. The Old Lion was a man who risked his political career to go to war with his own party over his efforts to regulate the timber and railroad trusts, who used his “big stick” not to facilitate private hoarding of public wealth but to bust megaliths like Standard Oil, who counted muckraking journalists among his best friends and relied on them to expose the abuses of the powerful against the weak. I have to guess he would be extremely disappointed.

As Zinke and I casted over the ice-cold water, I noticed something funny about his setup. He kept struggling to strip line out of the bottom of the reel. For a while, I thought he was simply having trouble concentrating on our conversation while casting. No, there was something wrong, and when I asked him to stand for a portrait, I finally saw what the problem was. He had rigged his reel backward, so that the line was coming out of the top of the reel. Every so often when he went to strip line out, he would grasp air where the line should’ve been.

Seems like an inconsequential thing, but in Montana, it’s everything.

LOL. A total poseur. He will probably take the fact that for all his dress up and posing he can’t rig a reel correctly by calling for the end of 3 more national monuments, whichever ones the author likes the most.

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