Former Arkansas governor and potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee isn’t mad about Barack and Michelle Obama allowing Sasha and Malia to listen to Beyoncé. He’s just confused.
“I don’t understand how on one hand [the Obamas] can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything—how much broccoli [their kids] eat and where they go to school and making sure they’re kind of sheltered and shielded from so many things—and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable for either a preteen or a teen in some of the lyrical content and choreography of Beyoncé,” Huckabee told People, expanding on the accusation, set forth in his new book God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, that the singer’s lyrics are “obnoxious and toxic mental poison.”
Set aside the question of whether lyrics and dance moves actually influence fans’ behavior, and of whether it’s proper to publicly criticize others’ parenting choices. Ignore the suspicion that Huckabee’s speaking less out of earnest concern for the first daughters than out of a desire to publicize the fact that he has a book out. Even taken at face value, Huckabee’s bewilderment—and that of conservative pundits before him—need to be addressed, for the children’s sake. If you’re looking for a cultural bogeywoman spreading the gospel of sexual promiscuity and drug use, Beyoncé in 2015 should be the last pop star you turn to. No one else makes traditional marriage and hard work look so attractive.