Missouri's freshman congressman Billy Long (R - Springfield) stirred up a hornet's nest (or, in this case, a beehive) yesterday when he opined on the death of singer Amy Winehouse.
Winehouse had battled drug addictions, though it remains unclear what caused her death Saturday in London. Congressman Long, however, believes he knows the answer. In a tweet yesterday, Long opined that Winehouse's addictions killed her -- and the same could happen to the U.S. federal government.
As you might imagine, Long's comment enraged Winehouse's fans, who responded in kind on Twitter. Meanwhile, London's Daily Mail asked yesterday if Long's comment was "The height of bad taste?" and noted that the 55-year-old congressman has been accused of racism, homophobia and lewd behavior in the past. (Nearly all those allegations come from a letter a Springfield waitress released during Long's 2010 campaign, in which she claimed that he refused to be waited on by blacks and gays -- whom he called "swishers" -- and caroused with strippers and people of "low moral character.")
But, one wonders, what exactly is Billy Long doing to stop the U.S. from following Winehouse to the grave? He's introducing important legislature, like asking Congress to establish a day to officially recognize his profession of auctioneering. Thus the @auctnr1 Twitter handle. (Skip to the end of the following YouTube clip to hear Long auctioning off the federal debt.)
"Although I do believe spending 42 percent more than we take in is an addiction, I certainly meant no disrespect to Amy, her family or her fans. She was one of the few true artists to come along in a long time. What happened to her was a senseless tragedy and drawing an analogy wasn't meant to minimize the loss of life. If anyone took offense, I sincerely apologize."