RAND PAUL’S LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF THE BUDGET…. For an issue he claims to care deeply about, Rand Paul (R) doesn’t understand the federal budget especially well.

For some in the Tea Party movement, the standard they plan to judge the party’s progress by is sky high. A spokesman for Rand Paul, the Tea Party-backed Senate candidate in Kentucky, said Paul “will vote against and filibuster any unbalanced budget proposal in the Senate.”

At face value, this is a pretty absurd position to take. Putting aside the fact that there are plenty of circumstances in which running deficits is the smart, responsible thing to do, there’s the small matter of the trillion-dollar deficit Republicans left for Democrats to clean up. This year, the deficit will be about $1.3 trillion — almost exactly the size of the budget shortfall George W. Bush bequeathed to the Obama administration.

In order for Paul’s pledge to make sense, the right-wing ophthalmologist would have to believe Congress can, as early as 2011, close a $1.3 trillion budget gap in one year. And since that couldn’t possibly include tax increases, Rand Paul would like to see a budget next year that cuts $1.3 trillion all at once.

And then there’s the other problem with his bold vow: the budget isn’t subject to filibusters.

This is the kind of nonsense that makes it impossible to take Rand Paul seriously. His radical ideology puts him on the fringe, but it’s the fact that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about that really rankles.

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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.