Representative Commander Ryan Zinke, R-Montana, a career

Ryan Zinke accidentally wanders in front of a flag while wearing a cowboy hat.

Montana sends only one delegate to the United States House of Representatives, and for the last two years it was Republican and former Navy SEAL Commander Ryan Zinke. Zinke won re-election in November, but he vacated his seat last week after the Senate confirmed him as President Trump’s Secretary of the Interior. Until we pick a new one via special election in May, Montana will go without representation in the House. This situation turns out to be not so different from the one we enjoyed already.

Zinke ends his career as a congressman having sponsored no bills that actually became law. That’s not so unusual for a freshman representative. What set him apart was his flair for the dramatic—his ability to present a wild caricature of Montana values while, again, not actually expressing those values in the form of legislation. But who cares about influencing the US government when your representative used to be a Navy SEAL? Sure, he missed 80 of 99 House votes after he was nominated for Interior. But he also gave us this photograph:

God, I’m going to miss that. Remember when he said President Obama shouldn’t have attended the Paris Climate Summit because it did nothing to stop ISIS? And then a few weeks later opposed background checks at gun shows, also because it wouldn’t stop ISIS? Communications from his office consistently referred to him as Commander Zinke instead of Representative Zinke—part of a relentless branding strategy that even extended to his duties as a rep. He co-sponsored the Draft American Daughters Act, a satirical bill to register women for the draft that expressed his opposition to letting them take combat specializations. This bill also did not pass. Again, nothing Commander Zinke proposed to the House ever passed. But what fun we had!

Now he runs the Department of the Interior, a position that will make his gung-ho performance art more difficult. It’s hard to connect the Interior to foreign terrorism. I believe Commander Zinke can keep making politics more like pro wrestling, though. It was a heartening sign when he rode a horse to his first day of work last week. Seriously—you can read all about it in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. Montana has not lost much of a legislator, but we must bid farewell to one hell of a showman. I can’t say I agreed with his politics too often. But I love a character, and Commander Zinke has certainly been that. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!

Friday links! Humans against humanism edition

A recondite calculus

An abstruse calculus

The woman pictured above opposes the Hungarian Femen movement, which is either a civil rights thing or a “satanists-run prostitutes’ abuse of women’s dignity and grace,” depending on whether you are an editor at Hungarian Ambience. To Hungarian Ambience I say kudos for mastering the English possessive. Also, you guys are fascists. Maybe it’s just my internet, but it seems like fascism is blowing up in geopolitics right now. Humanism ruled and totalitarian systems drooled for so long that I didn’t notice when everybody stopped reading and started wearing shirts about church. Now we’ve overrun with patriots proudly waiving their rights. Today is Friday, and the humans have turned against humanism. Won’t you flee to a high tower with me?

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Regarding Ann Romney, Olympic horse owner

John Carlos and Tommie Smith give the black power salute at the 1968 Olympics, humiliating their owners.

Michelle Obama has those arms, but Ann Romney is kind of an Olympian. She owns a dressage horse, Rafalca, who will compete in the 2012 Summer Games in London alongside trainer Jan Ebeling. Over at the New Yorker, Amy Davidson asks whether that means we have to cheer for Ann Romney at the Olympics. We definitely have to cheer Rafalca, because what—am I to root for some Russian horse instead? But the question of whether that equals cheering for Ann Romney is less clear. Eberling is the one who actually rides Rafalca, putting Romney at another degree of remove from even being the person who sits on top of the actual competitor. It’s a tricky way to be an Olympian, as Mitt Romney has acknowledged. “She’s the athlete,” he told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation. “But in this case, it’s not her personally.” Oh.

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