BACHMANN DRAWS HOLOCAUST-DEBT PARALLEL…. In general, the rhetoric from prospective Republican presidential candidates starts off as mildly offensive, and grows increasingly ridiculous as the process unfolds.

If this is what we’re hearing from Michele Bachmann in April, I can only imagine what we’ll hear in December.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on Saturday described the loss of “economic liberty” that young Americans face today as a “flash point of history” in which the younger generation will ask what their elders did to stop it.

In a speech to New Hampshire Republicans, Bachmann recounted learning about a horrific time in history as a child — the Holocaust — and wondering if her mother did anything to stop it. She said she was shocked to hear that many Americans weren’t aware that millions of Jews had died until after World War II ended.

Bachmann said the next generation will ask similar questions about what their elders did to prevent them from facing a huge tax burden.

“I tell you this story because I think in our day and time, there is no analogy to that horrific action,” she said, referring to the Holocaust. “But only to say, we are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away. It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to.”

I don’t imagine the right-wing Minnesotan will understand this, but when one says “there is no analogy,” and then makes the analogy anyway, the first half doesn’t automatically negate the second half.

I’m tempted to respond to the comments with some kind of substantive analysis, but honestly, I’m not even sure what she was trying to say. Bachmann thinks, at some point, taxes will go up to pay for the debt her own party was largely responsible for, and that this future tax burden will be “a similar death” to the Nazi Holocaust?

Bachmann’s ideas are frequently hopelessly insane, but these are the kind of remarks that make me wonder if she’s some sort of performance artist, and the rest of us just aren’t in on the joke.

If the congressman was sincere, and her comments yesterday weren’t intended as a plot to make conservatives look ridiculous, Bachmann’s presence as an elected lawmaker in the United States Congress is a national embarrassment.

Postscript: There was a related piece on this on Politico, which ran this headline: “Bachmann compares debt crisis to Holocaust.” For the record, there is no debt crisis, and when the media pretends there is, it only contributes to national confusion and a counter-productive debate.

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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.