Former Governor and possible presidential candidate Mike Huckabee had some strong words for the Obama family in defense of traditional values and responsible parenting—and of course, they’re making waves all over the media.

From AP:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has accused President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, of double standards in parenting, saying in an interview published Tuesday that the first family shelters its daughters from some things but allows them to listen to the music of Beyoncé.

While promoting his new book, the former Baptist pastor told People magazine, “I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything – how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school … and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable” in Beyoncé’s lyrics. He also said Beyoncé’s choreography is “best left for the privacy of her bedroom.”

In his book, Huckabee describes the Grammy Award-winning Beyoncé’s lyrics as “obnoxious and toxic mental poison.” He also accuses Beyoncé’s husband, rapper Jay-Z, of “exploiting his wife” like a “pimp.”

The problem with what just happened here has less to do with whether or not Beyoncé is a good role model, and more to do with what we allow to become part of the narrative in the run up to the next election cycle.

(And yes, I realize we’re always considering the next election cycle. That’s how you win elections.)

There is an important difference between Huckabee’s narrative, and the narrative of the conservative movement at large; this difference requires all those who aspire to positions of leadership in the movement—or in the country—to make an important decision the minute they decide to throw their hat in the ring.

Whose narrative is more important—mine, or the the people’s?

Huckabee’s book-based attack on Beyoncé is, of course, his right. His values are the backbone of his personal messaging machine, and there are many out there who agree with him wholeheartedly about the content of modern day lyrics. (Even I admit to “mom moments” when I’m in the car, hear something on the radio, and drop an “excuse me?! Your WHAT, now?” for no one in particular.)

But Huckabee’s comments aren’t part of his personal messaging machine—they’re part of an attack on Obama and his entire family, which for all intents and purposes isn’t helping in our efforts to take back the culture. Right now, Obama is a lame duck president whose only recourse against an ambivalent country is to lash out against a Republican Congressional majority. Someone like Huckabee criticizing his parenting in the context of his pre-presidential book tour is more of a catharsis than a productive messaging tool.

The culture war is a tricky medium for primary politics; an even tricker one for those who go against even the mainstream conservative flow. (Don’t believe me? Pick 200 random conservatives out of a lineup and follow their activity on Spotify or Pandora. You’ll find Beyoncé.) It’s an unassailable reality that Mike Huckabee is considering another presidential run; he left a comfortable contract at Fox, he’s promoting a new book…what more do we need? He’s “gauging support,” which means that everything he says now becomes not part of the Mike Huckabee Narrative, but part of the Republican 2016 Narrative.

What you just saw here, as Gabriel Malor put it, is a lost opportunity for conservatives to show the world that they’re capable of being part of a national conversation about anything:

Kiss it goodbye, everyone. Mike Huckabee just spoke for you, whether you like it or not.

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