Literally. No hyperbole. Seriously, literally.
Consider that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave a stump speech last Thursday where he suggested that Donald Trump (R-Trump Towers) had wet his pants during the last debate.
Donald Trump responded later that day by ridiculing how much make-up Mr. Rubio wore and how much he was sweating.
Just yesterday on NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested to host Chuck Todd that maybe the reason Donald Trump isn't releasing his tax returns is possibly because he's trying to hide mob ties.
Marco Rubio then went on CBS's Face the Nation and blamed the press for Donald Trump's success. No, not Republican Party's voters for casting their ballots for him, and not the Republican Party for promoting the virtue of ignorance in charges of Kenyan birther Nazi traitor Socialist un-American against the president, anything to weaken him. And no, not the fault of the candidates themselves for not even trying to criticize Donald Trump as he built up his support before it's now almost too late. No, it's "The Press's Fault." So much for the Party of Personal Responsibility.
And on the stump campaigning, there was Donald Trump the other day, derisively referring to his opponent for president, Senator Marco Rubio, as "Little Rubio." All that was missing was the "Nyah, nyah, nyah."
And when appearing on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) -- a man who campaigned with pride for his straight talk -- was left dangling, clueless as he tried without floundering success to defend his endorsement of Donald Trump, who the governor had continually trashed throughout his campaign on just about every issue. It got to the point where the best he could do was just totally give up trying to defend issues and just say that Donald Trump's great selling point was that he was at least better than the other guys and had a better chance of being elected. Some ringing endorsement, indeed.
Again, to repeat, this is the Republican race to nominate their party leader and candidate to be President of the United States of America. And all this is just within the past four days. Forget the past month. Forget the past four months. Four days.
And I suspect that serious Republicans find it pathetic, as well. Heart-sickening, in fact. Their party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower is down to pee jokes, mob charges, schoolyard insult name-calling, blaming others, and "Well, he's at least more electable than the other guys."
I find nothing amusing about this. One of these men could become President of the United States. I don't think it will remotely happen, but it absolutely could. Who knows what unexpected event could occur between now and November? But even if they don't get elected -- even if they're crushed in a landslide so huge that Democrats win control of the Senate and House -- the Republican Party has degraded the entire process of electing the American President.
This is galling damage, damage so great that will take years to recover from, and only with the most diligent, thoughtful, even-handed effort -- something that is not currently available in today's GOP toolkit.
I am certain that we will start hearing Republican analysts and Republican voters do "damage control," trying their best to make any of these three yowlers seem like Men of Substance because they are from the Will of the People. But that's just desperation, trying to put a fresh coat of paint and a Sheraton Hotel sign on an outhouse, profound wishful thinking that the sociopath you woke up from your drunken night next to is actually your soulmate -- because to face reality would be soul crushing. This is not the "Will of the People," because you don't end up with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio -- let alone Dr. Ben Carson, because your people have a "will." You get there because your people don't have a backbone. Or a clue.
And if any Republican is offended reading this, just remember -- your party is the one who ended up with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, pee joke, mob charges, schoolyard insult namecalling, blaming others, an inability to defend those you're trying to endorse...and less.
And as I've repeatedly said, the Republican Party only has itself to blame.
And unfortunately, we all are the recipients of the deadly second-hand smoke.