Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty probably doesn’t even realize it when he slips into self-parody.

“Obama’s economic team doesn’t have a plan, so their spokespeople attack ours. The idea that they don’t believe in the American people enough to say that we can grow the economy at 5% GDP really says everything. You have to wonder if in fact Obama’s grand plan is that we don’t grow at all — and if so — he and the central planners are doing a great job of that.”

That last line is dumb to the point of incoherence. President Obama doesn’t want the economy to grow? Why would that be, exactly?

But it’s the meat of the argument here that’s truly entertaining: if you question Pawlenty’s plan for 5% GDP growth, then you obviously “don’t believe in the American people enough.”

Oh, Tim, even you couldn’t believe this.

Pawlenty’s plan was panned as a pathetic joke because he thinks he can achieve 5% growth by cutting taxes on the wealthy by $7.8 trillion. Even Republican economists think Pawlenty’s approach is ridiculous — though I suppose he’d respond that they “don’t believe in the American people enough,” either.

Pawlenty never achieved 5% growth in Minnesota during his two terms as governor. No modern president has seen 5% growth at the national level, either. If the economy started growing that fast, the Fed would raise interest rates and force the economy to slow down anyway.

Is it more likely that skepticism towards Pawlenty’s fantastical agenda is evidence of insufficient patriotism, or that his clownish, child-like rhetoric just doesn’t make any sense?

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.