CRAZY LIKE A FOXX…. Rep. Virginia Foxx’s (R-N.C.) reputation for over-the-top rhetoric is well deserved. She’s a deather, a tenther, and she recently boasted, “There are no Americans who don’t have healthcare.”

But today’s gem is a must-have for Foxx’s greatest-hits package.

During a floor speech today, Foxx bluntly declared that the Affordable Health Care for America Act, which House Democrats unveiled last week, is a greater threat than any terrorist in the world:

“…I believe that the greatest fear that we all should have to our freedom comes from this room — this very room — and what may happen later this week in terms of a tax increase bill masquerading as a health care bill. I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.”

As a substantive matter, this is obviously insane. Reforming a broken health care system, extending coverage to families that need it, and offering stronger consumer protections to those who already have insurance is not dangerous. Even for the most delusional conservatives, it’s certainly not scarier than a terrorist attack.

But in the bigger picture, I’m fascinated by the right’s willingness to downplay the significance of the terrorist threat in general. TV preacher Pat Robertson told George Stephanopoulos a while back that the Sept. 11 monsters were just “a few bearded-terrorists who fly into buildings” and that federal judges who fail to share his worldview are a greater threat to the fabric of America than terrorism today, Nazis during WWII, and the Civil War in the 19th century.

Last week, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) said that the reform debate is more import than the 9/11 attacks. Today, Virginia Foxx thinks reform is scarier than terrorism.

It wasn’t too long ago that the right considered al Qaeda and other terrorists the single most serious threat imaginable. It was, they said, the existential threat of the 21st century.

I guess conservatives’ priorities have changed?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.