May I say a few nice words about the debt ceiling crisis? Isn’t our fight over the debt ceiling, nasty though it is, an indication that the United States isn’t going to be another Greece?

Well, of course, this depends on how the long battle, of which this crisis is but a beginning skirmish, ends. But I think, as a result of the crisis, more and more people are coming to see clearly what the issues are. The key one is summed up in a Michael Ramirez cartoon posted this morning by the indispensable Lucianne Goldberg.

It features an airplane–“America”–with its nose down because of “spending.” “Mr. President, change course, we’re going to crash,” says one of the passengers. “Let’s compromise. You collect more money, and I will reduce our speed,” says the president. More and more Americans are coming to see what the underlying issues are, which is why the Obama administration is so determined not to have another debt ceiling crisis before the 2012 election.

As you watch the events unfolding today on the Hill, James Capretta and Yuval Levin offer an important insight as to what is behind our  national debt:

From beginning to end, the debt crisis talks have come down to a struggle between advocates of tax increases and champions of domestic discretionary spending cuts. This important dispute has been at the heart of our politics for decades, and without question our out-of-control discretionary budget has a lot to do with the size of today’s deficit and debt. But it has little to do with tomorrow’s deficits and debt?-?that is, with the unprecedented oncoming explosion of federal spending and borrowing that terrifies our creditors and gravely threatens our future prosperity. Democrats were able to keep that approaching disaster entirely off the table in the debt ceiling fight. In the next round, Republicans must make sure to put it front and center.

Simply put, our coming debt crisis is a health care cost crisis….

Health care probably won’t come up much today, but it is the underlying issue that must be addressed. This fight is the prelude to that fight. Yes, what we’re seeing is ugly, could end in disaster, and the debt ceiling probably wasn’t the right place to start. But it had to start sometime. I think that what we are witnessing shows that the oldest democracy in the world has a shot at getting her financial house in order before it is too late. Needless to say, this wil be scant comfort if the bozos on Capitol Hill put us in default.

Fox News reporter James Rosen said last night said that this crisis shows we are a country unable to manage our finances. If we were any other country, Rosen said, the IMF would step in and begin issuing directives. I disagree: I belong to the democracy is messy school of thought.

Fasten your seatbelts.

There is going to be a lot of turbulence today on Capitol Hill.