THE REASONING BEHIND THE FOOLISH FDR BASHING…. I’ve long marveled at just how nutty Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) can be, but somehow, the guy manages to keep pushing the envelope even further. This week, for example, Broun alleged that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a communist sympathizer who tried to emulate Stalin. Seriously, that’s what he said.

“Original intent was the general welfare, the general welfare of the nation, not welfare of individuals. We’ve developed this big welfare system in this country.

“It all started, in earnest, with President Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt just exploded the size and scope of the government with his New Deal. Both progressives. Both had socialist beliefs. In fact, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his advisors, his close friends, his cabinet people to go visit with Stalin in communist Russia to study what he was doing, what Stalin was doing there so that FDR could replicate it here in the United States. And he did everything he possibly could to do so.”

This wasn’t on Glenn Beck’s show, by the way, Broun was speaking on the House floor.

FDR bashing from congressional Republicans comes up from time to time, and it’s always bizarre. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) blamed Roosevelt for “prolonging the Depression” and “hating the rich.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said FDR passed “the Hoot-Smalley Act” and that “took a recession and blew it into a full-scale depression.” (That’s wrong on so many levels, it’s genuinely amusing.)

Clearly, Broun’s lunacy takes this to a more farcical level, but it’s part of a larger truth. The New Deal agenda became the American political norm for much of the 20th century, but the right can no longer tolerate the notion of a Democratic president rescuing the economy through public investments and Keynesian economics. That’s what happened, but contemporary Republican thought simply can’t accept the reality — so it’s left to bash Roosevelt with laughable nonsense.

As for this specific quote, it immediately goes into the Paul Broun Greatest Hits collection. This is, of course, the same hysterical right-wing lawmaker 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.

Last fall, in the midst of the midterm elections, the Centers for Disease Control launched a public-service campaign on the benefits of a healthy diet, which included recipes people can try that incorporate fruits and vegetables. Broun responded that the CDC intended to “give all the power to the federal government to force you” to eat healthier foods. He added, “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!”

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.