I’ve long been fascinated by Rep. Paul Broun (R) of Georgia, in part because I’m not sure if he’s as genuinely unhinged as he appears to be, or whether he’s a liberal performance artist intent on making conservatives look foolish.

Take, for example, his latest proposal.

Today, I introduced a unique bill that goes in a completely different direction than everything else we’ve been hearing out of Washington. It would force politicians to start practicing what they’ve been preaching by lowering the debt ceiling from $14.3 trillion back down to $13 trillion. Admittedly, this is not your run-of-the-mill kind of law, but it would make it imperative for Congress to think outside of the box and come up with ways to pay off a portion of our debt while drastically cutting back spending.

As John Cole noted, “We now have a new frontrunner for the dumbest person in Washington.”

I mean, really. We need to raise the debt ceiling to cover debts the nation has already incurred, and the Genius from Georgia thinks he’s being creative by presenting a plan to lower the debt ceiling.

What would happen if policymakers followed Broun’s advice? In the short term, the nation would default and the global economy would suffer another catastrophe. After that, the government would have to shrink to paying for (1) the Pentagon, (2) interest on the debt, (3) maybe one of the entitlement programs, and (4) literally nothing else.

And in case anyone’s wondering, no, he’s not kidding.

I don’t expect much from the guy, but this has to go into the Paul Broun Greatest Hits collection. This is 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!”

But there’s something about this new quote that’s special. The other items in the collection came from comments Broun made in speeches or in media interviews. The notion of lowering the debt ceiling was in a piece written and published by National Review.

Remember when National Review was a proud magazine, committed to exploring the major issues and ideas of the day? Now it’s been reduced to publishing Paul Broun’s clownish tirades about subjects he doesn’t understand.

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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.