Marco Rubio was on the right side of the debt ceiling debate this summer, and he’s on the right side of the impending debt ceiling debate now. It is unquestionably irresponsible of the president to continue to raise the debt ceiling without presenting a serious and plausible plan to reduce the debt and deficit — and the junior senator from Florida is unafraid to point that out.

In a sharply worded letter to the president today, Rubio said the president’s entire administration thus far has been a “profile in failed leadership.” The senator used the president’s own words against him, reminding him that, when Obama was himself a senator, he called a request for an increase “a sign of leadership failure.” He called on the president to craft a plan that would enable the government to stop spending more than it can even borrow, let alone pay.

Rubio wrote:

If we had done this in mid-2011 when we last debated the debt ceiling, we could have set America on a path to economic growth and prosperity. This would have led to more jobs and, in turn, to more duly employed taxpayers generating more growth-driven revenue to help us pay down our debt. Instead, you failed to lead, punted the tough decisions and, in doing so, our credit rating was downgraded for the first time in our history.

It’s a tragic reality, but, on your watch, more and more people have come to believe that America is becoming a deadbeat nation inevitably heading toward a European-style debt crisis. …

While you may choose to run your reelection campaign against a “Do-Nothing Congress,” your insistence on doing nothing to meaningfully tackle our debt poses a direct threat to America’s exceptional character and is leading us towards a diminished future.

It is tragic and it is the reality that plenty of Americans have resigned themselves to inaction on the debt — at least until November 2012, when we have a chance to choose a president, Senate and House that will actually tackle it. I appreciate Rubio’s tenacity, his willingness to open another round of debate, to attempt to draw a line in the sand at this debt ceiling increase. But this summer taught me not to expect too much. In all probability, the debt will go up to $16 trillion — just more for my generation to pay off.