QUOTE OF THE DAY…. When I’m filling out my March-Madness-style bracket for the Most Ridiculous Member of the U.S. House, I’m giving #1 seeds to Steve King and Michele Bachmann without a second thought. Louie Gohmert has clearly earned one, too.

But the other #1 seed has to go to Rep. Paul Broun (R) of Georgia, thanks to comments like these:

“I tell ya, we’ve got some new problems in Washington. Big problems. Just today, Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said people in America are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. They want to give all the power to the federal government to force you to eat more fruits and vegetables. This is what the federal, CDC, they gonna be calling you to make sure you eat fruits and vegetables, every day. This is socialism of the highest order!”

It’s hard to know where to start with something like this. I suppose it’s worth noting that CDC officials has launched a public-service campaign on the benefits of a healthy diet. This includes recipes people can try that incorporate fruits and vegetables — but it does not include federal officials calling your home to check up on what you’re eating.

It’s also probably worth taking a moment to pause and note that “socialism” is an economic model in which there’s public ownership of wealth and the means of production. The right is getting lazy about this, using the “s” word to describe everything they don’t like, but there’s nothing especially “socialistic” about the ridiculous idea of authoritarian government contacting individuals to see if they’re eating healthily.

Public health officials encouraging people to eat better foods is not a step towards dictatorship. It may not work — we are the country that invented the Double Down, for goodness sake — but there’s nothing wrong or abusive about a public-service campaign.

Broun may or may not realize this. To his mind, promoting a healthy diet might as well be Soviet-style tyranny. But his opinion, while twisted, is irrelevant — when a member of Congress runs around repeating dishonest nonsense, he makes the discourse that much worse. Indeed, Broun’s foolish backers very likely have no idea that he’s full of it, and might actually believe his lies.

And that’s a shame, because if anyone’s discredited himself, it’s the hysterical right-wing congressman from Georgia’s 10th. It was, after all, Paul Broun who said cap-and-trade would kill people; the Affordable Care Act will dictate what kind of car Americans can drive; the health care reform effort reminds him of “Northern Aggression“; and that he considers President Obama to be a Hitler-like figure intent on establishing a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship on Americans.

He’s quite a congressman.

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.