The correlation is probably not a coincidence: the more House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) loses control of his caucus, the more he loses his cool.

Burned by the fact that their prescription for reducing the deficit and increasing the national borrowing limit either can’t pass in Congress or doesn’t cut spending enough to warrant, in their minds, a significant debt ceiling hike, House Republicans returned to the Capitol Tuesday to ratchet up their demands, and shirk responsibility for avoiding default.

“Where’s the President’s plan?” asked House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) at a press stakeout after a GOP caucus meeting. “When’s he going to lay his cards on the table? This debt limit increase is his problem.”

Just so we’re clear, in three weeks, the United States will exhaust its ability to pay its bills. The economy will deteriorate and millions of Americans will suffer. John Boehner knows all of this — he’s never even tried to deny the severity of the consequences — and has the ability to prevent it. Indeed, by most measures, he has a legal obligation to protect the full faith and credit of the United States.

But as of today, with the crisis quickly approaching, the Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful officeholders in our system of government, has decided this isn’t his “problem.”

Remember, Republicans still believe they have the high ground on patriotism.

Also note the trajectory of Boehner’s descent into madness. Here’s Boehner in November 2010:

“I’ve made it pretty clear to [my caucus] that as we get into next year, it’s pretty clear that Congress is going to have to deal with [the debt limit]. We’re going to have to deal with it as adults. Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.”

And here’s Boehner in December 2010:

“We’ll have to find a way to help educate members and help people understand the serious problem that would exist if we didn’t do it.”

Here’s Boehner in January 2011:

“[A debt-ceiling default] would be a financial disaster, not only for us, but for the worldwide economy. I don’t think it’s a question that’s even on the table.”

And in case this wasn’t enough, Greg Sargent reminds us that as recently as mid-May, Boehner conceded on national television that raising the debt limit is the “obligation” of both parties, it’s “necessary” for policy reasons, and failure to do so risks “the end of our economy.”

Yet, despite all of this, the Speaker now believes this crisis isn’t his “problem.”

He knows better. We know he knows better. And if the political establishment lets him get away with this garbage, it will only encourage more of this criminal stupidity until our economy crashes in 21 days.

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.