But the Merriam-Webster dictionary also describes a deadbeat as a "loafer," a person that never accomplishes anything. It is self-evident that when it comes to even trying to bring federal spending under control, Washington has been sluggardly and the president has been absent.
Even the president's own report on fiscal responsibility (Simpson-Bowles) was relegated to a White House shelf, where it's no doubt gathering dust.
The president tried to make his point using a restaurant analogy:
"You don't go out to dinner and eat all you want and then leave without paying the check. And if you do, you're breaking the law. And Congress should think about it the same way that the American people do."
Expanding on the same poor analogy, if you can't afford the bill, why do you keep eating out in fancy restaurants?
But the president might just get away with it. The House Republican leadership doesn't appear able to generate convincing counter-arguments these days. You'll know the president is winning if you see Republicans trying to explain why the country should not pay its bills.
If the GOP wants to play the president's game, the answer is, "if we're not a deadbeat nation, why do we act like one?"
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.