The $15 billion budget deficit facing the state of Illinois is unquestionably serious business, and elected officials and academics from across the state have weighed in on how best to address the crisis without sacrificing vital human services.
But it would be hard to imagine the debate getting any more absurd than this: state Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, a Republican from Chicago's outlying suburbs, turning to budgetary advice from rapper Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan fame.
Raekwon the Chef was in Springfield Tuesday night for a show, and apparently had some words of wisdom for the General Assembly on the budget crisis. Radogno repeated those words in a point of personal privilege during debate Wednesday, captured in a video posted on the Capitol Fax blog.
"The most precious thing in the world is the financial security and wellbeing of your family," the Senate Republican said, reportedly reading a letter from Raekwon. "You want to send your little ones to the best school and in the end you want to know you left them with peace of mind. Nowadays, we all know that cash rules everything around us. C.R.E.A.M. Get the money. Dolla dolla bill, y'all."
If inviting a rapper to the White House for a poetry reading is bad, imagine the outcry over soliciting budgetary advice from a song about drug dealing. Time to fire up the selective outrage machine.
And for those readers who don't know the reference, here's the Wu-Tang song where those final lines come from: