One can only dream of a Republican Party led by grown-ups. Instead, we have this.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) challenged President Obama on Thursday to meet with Senate Republicans to hear firsthand about the political reality of passing tax increases through Congress.

A day after Obama challenged Republicans to give up special tax breaks for corporate jets and major oil companies, McConnell issued a challenge of his own on the Senate floor.

“I’d like to invite the president to come to the Capitol today to meet with Senate Republicans. Any time this afternoon if he’s available, to come on up to the Capitol,” McConnell said. “That way he can hear directly from Senate Republicans … why what he’s proposing will not pass.”

McConnell says once Obama learns from GOP lawmakers that ending special tax breaks for oil companies and wealthy families has no chance of passing the Senate, “we can start talking about — maybe, finally — start talking about what’s actually possible.”

Let me summarize the message McConnell announced this morning: “If the president has some free time in a few hours, he should stop by and listen to us tell him we want to lower the deficit, but only in ways we see fit.”

Soon after, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the president need not hear Republicans “restate their maximalist position,” adding, “We know that position. That’s not a conversation worth having.”

Of course not. Everyone knows what everyone thinks and everyone’s position at this point. Obama doesn’t need to listen to Republicans demand 100% of what they want, anymore than McConnell needs to listen to Democrats tell him he can’t get 100% of what he wants.

This entire process made a right turn at farcical quite a while ago. Mitch McConnell isn’t just threatening to crash the economy, he’s also threatening to make mockery of the institution he claims to serve and turn the American political process into a reality-show circus.

Not to be outdone, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (R-Texas) said President Obama has “diminished” his office by urging lawmakers to do their duty. If anyone explain what on earth Cornyn was blabbering about, I’m all ears.

And then there’s Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, who told Fox News this morning that the president goes golfing too much.

These aren’t random House backbenchers — McConnell, Cornyn, and Thune are three of the top four highest-ranking Republican members of the Senate. And they all appear to be rambling incoherently.

I was about to type that there are no adults left in the Republicans’ room, but that’s not entirely true. There are still a couple left, but they’re stuck in primary fights, so they have to go along with the madness to save their careers.

It’s a pathetic display.

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.