You have to give credit to Mary Lou Bruner, the probable newest member of the Texas State Board of Education come November: Her far-right-fringe worldview is nothing if not coherent. In an election season where front-runners can’t decide whether they’re for or against immigration or the Trans-Pacific Partnership or a higher minimum wage, Bruner’s convictions never waver despite the seldom-flattering national attention she continues to receive.
Bruner—a Republican candidate for the District 9 seat on the Texas State Board of Education, who came in just shy of the 50 percent she needed to bag the nomination on Super Tuesday—has yet to walk back her claims that President Barack Obama worked as a gay prostitute in his 20s, or that humans cohabited the earth with dinosaurs, or that sex-education classes “stimulate children to experiment with sex,” or that Islam “is not a real religion.” Bruner, bless her, has also suggested that Paul Ryan’s manly beard makes him look “like a terrorist” and that opposing the Common Core is right up there with objecting to National Socialism. (I could go on.)
Bruner’s latest target is federally subsidized Pre-K programs, which Obama has repeatedly proposed expanding and which several erstwhile (like Jeb Bush) and current (John Kasich) GOP candidates have also supported at one point or another. According to a Gallup poll, 70 percent of Americans are for using federal money to expand Pre-K access.
But Bruner has never been one to be swayed by popular opinion. In a Facebook prose-poem broadcast on Twitter by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith, the favored candidate for the District 9 state board of education seat sets us straight: Federally funded Pre-K is, in fact, just another front in the great liberal conspiracy against God-fearing Christians, handcrafted to indoctrinate the youth of America with a pro-gay agenda.
Bruner starts her post with characteristic aplomb, stating outright that the “GLBTQ agenda is one of the big reasons liberals want 3-year-old and 4-year-old children to attend public school Pre-K programs”:
I mean, isn’t it obvious? The ultimate goal of expanding Pre-K is to dupe “little children” into believing that a “homosexual marriage is just as good as a marriage with a father and a mother” and persuade them that “their parents are bigoted because they do not accept Islam and gay marriage.” (Note: There’s no other mention of Islam in the post, but Bruner usually isn’t one to resist an opportunity to diss Muslims.)
Anyway, totally. Expanding Pre-K has nothing to do with the extortionate cost of child care in this country, or the numerous studies that suggest varied longterm benefits—not only to kids but to whole communities—of quality programs. It’s all about the gays.
So why are this woman’s rants so newsworthy? Well, there are 5 million kids in Texas schools, and many others who are assigned textbooks made-to-order for Texas. If Bruner wins her special election for the Republican nomination on May 24 (likely, since on primary day she came in just shy of the 50 percent threshold to avoid a run-off) and then wins the school board seat in November, we might all be hearing a lot more about her wacky-but-deeply held beliefs about how the world really works.