QUOTE OF THE DAY…. I’m trying to decide which congressional observation is the dumbest thing I’ve read today. It’s a tough call.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), for example, are arguing that the tax policy agreement reached by the White House and their party’s leaders is a “tax increase” on those who have to pay the estate tax. That’s awfully dumb, given that the deal includes a cut in the estate tax and an increase in the exemption.

Then there’s Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) who told Sean Hannity that the Republican tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are expiring this year because of the “arcane rules in the Senate.” That’s strikingly dumb, too, since Republicans designed their tax policy like this on purpose. Blaming the rules doesn’t make sense.

But when picking the very dumbest quote, I’m inclined to go with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who offered this gem:

“I’d issue this challenge: anyone who thinks we oughta pay for tax cuts, oughta have to put up a list of programs that we oughta eliminate to pay for them.”

Coburn actually said this. It’s an exact quote. There’s video proof.

The “challenge” is so remarkable, I’m almost impressed by it. In Coburn’s mind, those who don’t want tax cuts for the wealthy, in part because the cuts would require more borrowing, should come up with spending cuts to offset the costs of the tax cuts they don’t want anyway.

That Coburn seemed so confident about this — as if he’d stumbled upon something clever — only adds to the extraordinary qualities of this level of dumbness.

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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.