There's a moment in an election campaign every campaign manager dreads: when people are laughing at your candidate.
Those of us of a certain vintage remember the last time Fianna Fáil was laughed at. It was during the 1990 Presidential Election when Brian Lenihan stared into the camera on the 'Six One News' and pleaded directly with the Irish people to believe him. And across the pubs of Ireland they laughed at him, and that was that.
Recently, the laughing started up again as the shenanigans in Fianna Fáil started literally hours after they had re-entered government after a decade. Within hours, disappointed office seekers with puffed-up chests were expressing their bitter sense of betrayal, not for themselves of course, but the people who sent them from the county, of course. It wasn't for the salary, of course, although no one offered to do the job of minister just for the honour of it.
Fianna Fáil was suddenly riven with manoeuvring and fellas spreading rumours and stories about drink driving and forgetting their hats in pubs and vindicating their Good Names and we all smiled and thought: "Jaysus lads, we missed you."
The problem for the party, however, is that there's an awkward juxtaposition. Fine Gael has just led the country through the scary part of an international crisis, and their ministers looked like they knew what they were doing.
They sounded in command of their briefs and talking about the R figure and WHO guidelines. Beside them, the new Fianna Fáil entrants were all fighting to fit into a clown car that was falling apart as their trousers fell down and they threw custard pies at each other.
Last weekend's poll showing Fianna Fáil at nearly a quarter of the support of Fine Gael sort of confirmed a lot. Fianna Fáil still has the support of about 10pc of people in the country, which is something. I'm a former Progressive Democrat: we'd have given our left goolie for 10pc in the polls.
But it raises a bigger question.
What is Fianna Fáil for? If it didn't exist, what would you be creating it for? More to the point: is the party capable of asking itself that question?
When you write a newspaper column you get a lot of people contacting you on social media and by email and I get a fair few every time I write about the party, from party members.
Here's what's interesting: I've spoken to Fianna Fáilers who are intellectually sharp and thoughtful about the future direction of the party and society. Just don't ask them to do it in public, because it would be portrayed within the party as disloyal and gets you hunted down by the party's Social Media Stasi.
Think about that for a minute: a political party, an organisation theoretically about expounding a vision of society distinct from other parties, where the dominant ethos is to avoid debating in public what the party should be for. That just existing is enough.
You can't blame them: for years it was enough. Fianna Fáil was the party of delivery in government, but even that had at its heart the seed of destruction.
In the 2007 election, Fianna Fáil came first in every single demographic group, which meant that from rich to poor, it was the party with the most support.
Which is great as long as you never have to make choices and can just keep borrowing and spending and the economy keeps growing, and even then it was a close-run thing. Remember when Charlie McCreevey was called a Thatcherite for trying to cut the rate public spending was rising at? Not spending itself, but the rate it was rising at! That was heartless neo-liberalism, apparently.
Then the money ran out, and with it the party's reputation for economic management and delivery, and that was that. By 2011 would-be Fianna Fáil cabinet ministers were hiding in toilets to avoid being appointed to the cabinet, that's how shambolic it had become.
You'd think that would have been when the Soldiers of Destiny would have reinvented themselves, and in a way they did. They came out in 2013 with the most radical proposals for political reform ever proposed by a major Irish political party. Fianna Fáil proposed (get this) that no TD should be a cabinet minister at the same time. That they should resign their seat in the Dáil upon appointment to the cabinet.
A proposal they rapidly ditched when they thought they might actually enter government in 2020. There's the real Fianna Fáil. That's the big idea. Just be in government. Half of them could not even tell you why they want to be in government.
Don't believe me? Ask yourself this: what Fianna Fáil policy objectives did Fine Gael stop it from putting into the Programme for Government? Name it. Is there anything of significance? What was the big ideological fight within the party over the Programme for Government?
There was none. The big row is over who got what seat. The party would have been truer to itself if it'd insisted in the negotiations that every constituency should have a cabinet minister, because that's all that seemed to really matter.
Fianna Fáil is for Fianna Fáil, and not in some sort of corrupt evil way. It's always been very open about it. It's like a franchise for people who want to be government ministers.
Just don't ask them why.