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Beyoncégate 2015: Whose narrative is it anyway?

Beyoncégate 2015: Whose narrative is it anyway?

The culture optic matters. Don’t kill it.

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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Henry Hawkins | January 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm

The idea that Mike Huckabee speaks for conservatives is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever read on Legal Insurrection.

Please list some ways ‘conservatives’ were supposed to control what Mike Huckabee writes in a book.

Holy crap, this is stupid.

Unless he is speaking of general principles, then his comments are not representative of a class.

For example, liberals are pro-choice on principle. They support and promote premeditated murder of wholly innocent human lives when they are uniquely vulnerable. Ironically, they use the same methods as the Islamic State to terminate unwanted human life: decapitation and dismemberment. The only difference is that they exercise their rights in the privacy of a clinic, while Islamic terrorists carry them out in public. The repulsion they expressed did not originate with moral apprehension, but was due to exposure of their Church’s rites in public, as when Gosnell betrayed them and exposed the barbarity of their practices.

So, does this mean we are not all Charlie? Predictable. The Liberal Church is historically intolerant. This reminds me of the popular liberal message that some lives matter… and survivors will be taxed to fund Obamacare.

I wish Huckabee would just go away. He does not represent me. I’m a conservative Catholic Republican and I want to see less smiley bass-playin populism and more substance

    JimMtnViewCaUSA in reply to Frank G. | January 13, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Huck doesn’t speak for me but I won’t stand by and let the Left smear people and try to divide us. They do this whole “so-and-so is not one of the cool kids, surely you don’t consider him valid”.

    That’s how the Libs get RINOs to denounce Tea Party types. I won’t buy into that game.

Henry Hawkins | January 13, 2015 at 8:51 pm

“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.”

This is absolute nonsense, literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen on Legal Insurrection. Why does Ms. Miller go out of her way to stick it to conservatives here? This article reads like one of those Daily Beast pieces where they have to make pretzels to make it fit the goal, in this case, to once again take a gratuitous poke at conservatives, for what purpose, who knows, on a website that purports to be conservative.

Hint: if you’re drawing inspiration from Gabe Malor, you’re not a conservative, you’re just looking for attention.

I don’t like Huckabee, but, if anything, his comment was too generous to Obamas. It’s not just that Os allow their daughters to listen to that drivel, they actively pimp it, inviting Beyonce and what’s his face to the White House, which is not just bad parenting, it’s bad citizenship, bad presidency. They should be promoting outstanding, uplifting artists, not that waste of talent that is Beyonce.

Ummmmm … So you’re saying there’s something wrong with pointing out that Beyonce’s crap is crap? Or is it something else? Are you claiming only one conservative should ever be allowed to speak? Or do you just want to have prior approval on anything anyone says? Or is it just anything they say about pop music?

Really not understanding your point here. Are you sure you have one?

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

Well, you’ve certainly lost me. WTF are you in a tizzy about now?

And what’s this guff with Beyoncé? Is this someone I should be following? Personally, I find it hard to get supercharged over trivia like song lyrics, particularly when the’re just to make money (and we non-Marxists agree there’s nothing particularly wrong with making money). It’s not like we’re dealing with the Horst Wessel Lied here.

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | January 13, 2015 at 11:29 pm

While I don’t like Huckabee as a presidential candidate, his comments about Beyonce are fine with me. If that’s wrong, so be it! Tough coconuts, y’all. Uff da!

Good grief Huckabee… you were never presidential material to begin with but now you’ve just made a joke of yourself. This is pathetic flailing like a seven year old. I almost feel sorry for you.

David R. Graham | January 14, 2015 at 1:00 am

Although no Huckabee-For-President proponent, I am glad he speaks his mind. And on this particular, he does in fact speak for the great majority of humanity, not just Americans.

No one likes ego, self-promotion or lying and Beyonce embodies all three activities. And no one should.

I invite attention to Amy’s use of the words “our” and “we.” There is presumption in that usage, presumption that is both jejune and off-putting. Volume cranked beyond 10, the same presumption blasts daily from Occupy White House. It cannot win long-term.

I suggest one interested in politics — which is everyone — attend the fundamentals: protect the wife and children, love the children, make a home that is at rest, volunteer to protect and defend the US Constitution, the neighborhood, the community, the state and the country, build/make things useful in ordinary life, study unceasingly and repeat the name of God, whichever one one most likes. The politics will take care of themselves.

And regarding those who engage on the field of politics, let them to it, do not criticize, listen to them, appreciate them so far as they are found deserving, then make up one’s mind and express reasons for doing so. But do not, under any circumstances, attempt to deny engagement on that field to anyone who wishes to enter it. Or ridicule or mock them. Let them be their own spokesperson, which only they can be in any case.

Let the wind blow and do not try to channel or, especially, reverse it. One who tries to channel or reverse the wind will be blown over and out by it.

    Although no Huckabee-For-President proponent … on this particular, he does in fact speak for the great majority of humanity, not just Americans.

    With all due respect, I don’t agree. I don’t think the great majority of humanity, or even the great majority of Americans, even care what pop music the President’s teenaged kids listen to.

    It’s certainly not in my list of “Top 10 Concerns”.

    But for a blogger to imply that it’s GAME OVAH!!!! for Republicans because the socially conservative dude who came in third in the 2008 Republican primaries wrote something socially conservative in a book is pretty weird.

      David R. Graham in reply to Amy in FL. | January 14, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      “I don’t think the great majority of humanity, or even the great majority of Americans, even care what pop music the President’s teenaged kids listen to.”

      Neither do I. But that was not Huckabee’s point in this particular, or my expansion of it to the universal. Humanity recoils at ego, self-promotion and lying and Beyonce embodies all three phenomena. Humanity dotes not on her exactly because she embodies so. That is Huckabee’s point, and mine.

      And I submit this is not a conservative point emanating from a conservative value. It is above and beyond the field of political strife.

      Calm impartiality is where humanity wishes to live. Strife is useful and necessary to redress partiality, especially when juiced to fanaticism, and for this reason we have politics and universal interest in it. When the strife has worked its mission — and it better had — it is set aside for the more natural and certainly desirable modes of quiet and laughter, and dancing and making of beautiful, inspiring things. Humanity does not wish to live in perpetual political conflict or entertainment frenzy. Beyonce’s income depends on humanity’s doing so. Therefore she is an affront to humanity and culture besides.

Huckabee is an idiot whose appeal is very limited. Only devout evangelical Christians are even tempted, and the wiser of those reject him out of hand.

Conservatives can demonstrate Huck doesn’t speak for us by sending him back to the obscurity he so richly deserves.

As Governor, he raised taxes and spending in every one of his six two-year terms, and pardoned dozens of violent criminals who re-offended within 18 months of release – apparently with the sole reason for pardoning them being that they had “found Jesus.” And he was reportedly delighted that after he pardoned the first, prisoners began just a-flockin’ to Jesus! Who could have expected that?

If you are stupid enough to support Huckabee for anything but Dunking Cage Clown at the county fair, please don’t vote.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Estragon. | January 14, 2015 at 10:25 am

    “Conservatives can demonstrate Huck doesn’t speak for us by sending him back to the obscurity he so richly deserves.”

    no. No. NO.

    Conservatives do NOT need to demonstrate that Huckabee doesn’t speak for us because only two people on planet think he does: Gabe Malor and Amy Miller.

    Malor has long tried to drive a wedge between conservative groups. Now one of LI’s primary contributors is trying the same, linking it all back to Malor in the process.

    I’ve been a faithful commenter here for a long time and I’d like to hear why LI is targeting conservatives with Daily Beast-style bullshit hit pieces.

    David R. Graham in reply to Estragon. | January 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Hawkins reviews the main aspect of this comment and I wish to review a minor aspect: “devout evangelical Christians.”

    There are as many of those as there are “moderate Muslims.” The category “devout evangelical Christian” or some variation thereof is an artifact of Christianity-haters, left and right, for their private political purposes (divide and conquer). No Theologian uses that category to identify a Christian or Christianity. Ditto the term “fundamentalist Christian.”

    First, Christians are not religious (“devout”). Second, Christians are not political (“evangelical”). Third, Christians are not moral (“Christians”).

    That is my review of a minor aspect of this comment. Hawkins already covered the major aspect.

9thDistrictNeighbor | January 14, 2015 at 10:20 am

This is just the old “stay-away-from-the-culture” trope that Mittens was so clever in exploiting. Don’t upset the Starbucks-swilling, yoga-practicing, Rover-driving, abortion-supporting suburban lacrosse moms with the money to fund a national campaign. What’s going to defeat Huckabee is his concrete record of revolving-door rapist release and other stupid Arkansas achievements.

We do need to have a serious discussion of our rotting culture. The discussion must take place on our terms, not on the terms of the left, which begins at accepting their argument and gently brushing around the edges until we’re swayed away like gnats.

    “We do need to have a serious discussion of our rotting culture.”

    I agree, 9thDistrictNeighbor. I hope that one of the grown-ups at LI will initiate such a discussion, as it would likely be most edifying. I don’t think this post qualifies.

While it is bad politics to target popular individuals or politically protected people in a presidential campaign, I disagree with anyone saying that this negatively impacts Huckleberry’s electoral prospects. He couldn’t possibly damage his electoral prospects.

Also, he doesn’t speak for Christians.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Immolate. | January 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Heh. Funny. Huckabee has no prospects, then or now. He’s never gotten anywhere close to serious consideration for GOP nominee. He’s the yin to Santorum’s yang, the ding to Santorum’s dong. Er, wait a minute…. Ya’ll know what I meant.

    75% of the face time either gets on cable news as candidates is a result of lib journalsists trying to get them to say something stupid, never as the natural result of any rising campaign status. Good men? Sure, but the rest fails to capture.

I find it hard to believe that Huckabee is serious about a presidential campaign. Maybe he’s just tired of the Fox gig and hopes to sell some more books. I feel about him much the way I did when he first ran. Nice enough guy, but not a very conservative governor, and the presidency is not a pastorate-in-chief, so Huckabee isn’t someone qualified for the job.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to tarheelkate. | January 14, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    For all we know Fox was about to cancel his show and pretending he quit for ethical reasons due to a possible run was a way to get him out gracefully. In other words, a way to quit before getting fired. (Ironically, except for the Simpsons, every TV show gets cancelled eventually, so no humiliation necessary, but maybe Huck’s senstive).