Friday, November 14, 2008

Dunbar Digs Deeper

Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, whose comments about Barack Obama have gained her some amount of notoriety, is defending herself by not really backing down from what she said:

"When I wrote this article, I wrote it as a private citizen," Dunbar said Wednesday. "I did not use it as a bully pulpit."

The column has sparked Internet debate and prompted phone calls and e-mails to other state board members, with many people asking for a public rebuke or even Dunbar’s resignation. Critics of the column question whether a state official who helps choose school textbooks and shape the state curriculum should express such political views.

On Wednesday, Dunbar told the Star-Telegram that her comments about Obama and a possible terrorist attack had been "misconstrued through repetition."She said she didn’t intend to imply that Obama was actually plotting with terrorists, as the headline said.

"My concern is that there are associations that would feel more comfortable and more safe to attack with Obama as president," she said.

She said her comments were based on Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s statement that Obama would be tested by terrorists within the first six months of his administration.

"My point was, I’m not saying that Obama would not respond to an attack, I just think the apprehension of not doing an attack would have been greater with McCain as president," Dunbar said.

Really? Now, what did she actually write in her original column? Oh yeah, this:

"I sincerely believe that an Obama Administration would ultimately mean one thing - the end of America as we know her."

So her qualifications are a little hard to buy. And, as she told the AP in an earlier story, "I don't have anything in there that would be retractable." So if she said America is ending, then America is ending! And if she's trying to end the controversy, it probably would help not to say things like this:

She remains unconvinced that Obama is a legal U.S. citizen, she said Thursday. The president-elect was born in Hawaii but lived in Indonesia as a young child. His mother is U.S.-born; his father was Kenyan.

His campaign posted an image of Obama’s birth certificate online and state officials attested to its authenticity, but theories that he is not a citizen persist.

"Yes, I’ve seen the birth certificate posted online. I’ve read all the articles," Dunbar said. "What concerns me is the time he spent in Indonesia. His time in Indonesia would be a substantive issue, and I really don’t know why it hasn’t been examined more closely."

A suit questioning Obama’s citizenship was thrown out of court early in the presidential campaign.

"The birth certificate does not address all the citizenship concerns raised in this suit," Dunbar said in a follow up e-mail.

I'm not sure why Ms. Dunbar would care to bother with so lowly an office as the State Board of Education, when she's clearly more suited for local right-wing radio talk show host or right-wing blogger.

And yes, she has the right to say whatever she wants. It's not that I think that as a state official, she suddenly loses the right to express an opinion about a critical election. It's more the quality of the opinion that she expresses. I'm writing about this because I think it's important to ask, if she's really this prone to believing paranoid fantasies and conspiracy theories, do we really want her deciding what Texas kids are supposed to be reading in their textbooks? And also, I just like giving right-wingers a hard time.

UPDATE: From comments, blane provides with a link to the original article. It's been scrubbed from the "Christian" Worldview Network's website, but if you'd like to see what all the fuss is about, click here

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