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A deep strain of paranoia

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a freshman Republican from Pennsylvania, spoke at Tea Party fundraiser over the weekend, and shared some thoughts on why he hopes President Obama doesn't get a second term.

The most notable comments come about four minutes into the clip, when the congressman imagines Obama's intentions if he's re-elected.

"When he left the microphone on in Russia, we all heard what he said. Left unrestrained, without the inhibitions of the next election, he'd have 'flexibility,' he said, 'flexibility' to do what he wants to do. Whether it's trade away the secrets of our national intelligence, to, what he could do to the United States Supreme Court in the next four years."

The truth about the hot mic in Russia is far more mundane. Obama, in Seoul for a nuclear security summit, told Russian President Dmitri Medvedev he's willing to work on missile defense, but the U.S. will need "flexibility" outside of an election season. Obama confirmed what we already knew -- political environments sometimes restrict foreign policy talks, and diplomatic efforts on missile defense are going to have to wait.

But what's amazing about Fitzpatrick's perspective is that he thinks it's possible that Obama may simply "trade away the secrets of our national intelligence" in a second term. In other words, in the mind of this congressman, the president, once he can't seek re-election, may start engaging in treason.

He didn't appear to be kidding.

My interest in this goes beyond just "wacky politician says something dumb." Rather, what this reminds me of is that there's a deep strain of paranoia that seems entirely too common among congressional Republicans lately. Allen West thinks he's surrounded by secret communists; Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) question the president's birth certificate; all kinds of Republicans are convinced Obama is waging a "war" against women, the Supreme Court, and the Catholic Church; and Fitzpatrick among others interpret Obama's comments to Medvedev as hints about traitorous intentions.

This much paranoia just isn't healthy.