BROUN EQUATES HEALTH REFORM WITH ‘YANKEE AGGRESSION’…. When looking for members of Congress who are likely to make unhinged, borderline-disturbed remarks, we tend to rely on folks like Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). But pound for pound, word for word, Rep. Paul Broun (R) of Georgia has to be considered a #1 seed in this competition.

It was Broun, for example, who said not long ago that President Obama reminds him of Hitler and that the Democratic president might establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship on Americans. More recently he insisted that if health care reform became law, the government would dictate what kind of car Americans could drive.

Last night, Broun was in rare form, appearing on the House floor and talking about health care reform in the context of the Civil War: “If ObamaCare passes, that free insurance card that’s in people’s pockets is gonna be as worthless as a Confederate dollar after the War Between The States — the Great War of Yankee Aggression.”

Now, as far as I can tell, Broun is pretty deranged, so there’s probably not much point in dwelling on his “arguments,” such as they are. But in case there are any lingering doubts about the specifics of the legislation, there’s no provision mandating a “free insurance card.”

But it’s the Civil War reference that rankles here. References to “Yankee Aggression” in the 21st century are awkward enough, but using this language in the context of the health care debate is especially problematic.

As Lee Fang noted, “Rather than simply distort the legislation by lying about how much it costs or how it will affect people, the right has tried to build opposition to health reform using racial, militant rhetoric…. Broun’s analogy between health reform and a ‘Great War of Yankee Aggression’ might take the cake for its coded racism, historical revisionism, and outright level of detachment from reality.”

As an aside, let’s also note that if Republicans reclaim the House majority next year, Paul Broun and his creative intellect will be the chairman of the House Science Committee’s panel on investigations and oversight. Just thought I’d mention it.

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.