But what else can he say? Despite the best efforts of the intelligentsia to convince us otherwise, this budget isn't rocket science and Geithner is no savior. We've been talking about these issues for months, and nothing changes. The White House and congressional Democrats simply sit the game out. They offer nothing. If they resist reform when under this type of a deadline, they will never address it when the heat subsides.
They tell us all we need to know about their priorities with their announcement that White House counsel Bob Bauer is resigning to work on Obama's re-election campaign.
Besides, they have no tricks in their brown bag other than the hair of the dog that is biting us. They are viscerally wedded to growing government; their devotion to spending permits no major modifications. They can only offer higher taxes, which, their ideology fails to inform them, would not appreciably increase revenues, much less help us retire the debt.
Republicans must realize that if any meaningful action is to occur, they will have to force it; Democrats will not participate voluntarily. The Democrats' political fortunes are tied to stonewalling real budgetary reform; whatever they agree to must allow them to preserve their message that they will continue to enable the dependency cycle.
But among serious people, this debate is over. The question isn't whether we're headed for financial doom; it isn't even whether we're headed there soon. The only question is just how soon and whether we can stop it.
Republicans must not succumb to the manufactured illusion that their political fortunes are tied to doing the wrong thing -- that they will be committing political suicide if they simply honor their 2010 mandate to put the nation's fiscal house in order. Pure lies. Absent a serendipitous and powerful economic rebound, the Democrats face bleak prospects for victory in 2012.
No one expects Democrats to solve the problem, but many -- albeit a decreasing number -- believe the GOP will. But if this budget ceiling battle isn't their last chance, their last chance is rapidly approaching. They'll not have another leverage point like this for a long time. If they don't exploit it, they may find themselves out in 2012, as well.