Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appeared on CNN this morning, pushing the “Cut, Cap and Balance” approach to debt reduction, the most right-wing approach possible. White House budget director Jack Lew had already explained that the plan would require brutal reductions to Medicare and Social Security, deeper than even Paul Ryan’s radical budget plan.

Graham, whom the media establishment likes to pretend is a moderate, said he doesn’t care.

Graham, in turn, said that the real threat to the nation is the burden of unsustainable debt.

“What is calamitous is the path we’re on as a nation,” he said. “We’re becoming Greece.”

New rule: every time a confused Republican lawmakers compare the United States’ fiscal conditions to that of Greece, an angel loses its wings.

Look, the very idea is just crazy. The U.S. has extremely low interest rates and foreign investor are happy to loan us money; Greece has extremely high interest rates and no one is eager to loan the country money. The U.S. has our own currency; Greece has the Euro. We have a great credit rating (for now); Greece has an awful credit rating. We have a manageable debt; Greece has a debt crisis. We’re a large country with an enormous economy; Greece is a small country with a small economy. We have one of the world’s most stable systems of government (at least until six months ago); Greece’s government structure is a little shaky.

For an elected American senator — and media darling — to tell a national television audience that the United States is “becoming Greece” is a clear signal: Lindsey Graham is not to be taken seriously on these issues.

If Graham sincerely believes his own rhetoric, he has no idea what he’s talking about. If Graham is just playing some kind of cynical game, he’s a hack.

And just as an aside, it’s awfully amusing to hear Republicans whine incessantly for weeks about “scare tactics,” only to run to the cameras to cry that the United States is turning into Greece. If GOP officials want to engage in demagoguery, they shouldn’t complain about demagoguery. And if they are going to go down this road, Republicans should at least try not to lie so shamelessly.

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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.