Tim Geithner knew what he had to do today and he did it. He bent over, held onto his … principles, and let the apologies flow even as he was being battered with criticisms about his past decisions. As New York Fed chairman, he could “absolutely” have been better about overseeing the banks whose unencumbered risk has led to our current economic woes, he said. The collapse of Lehman was inevitable, but, he added, “tragic.” His tax mishap? “A mistake.” A “careless” mistake, an “avoidable” mistake, but an “unintentional,” “honest” mistake. “I should have been more careful,” he said, raising his puppy-dog eyes to meet each member of the House Financial Services Committee as they gazed down at him sternly. It was a fine performance, and though it may not have been good enough for Kentucky Representative Jim Bunning, who accused Geithner of being “involved in just about every flawed bailout” (which is true) and “stretching the law” in order to sell Bear Stearns to JPMorgan (which is debatable), we think it will be good enough for America. After all, we are a big-hearted nation, and we’ve come to understand that sometimes people make mistakes: Remember how we forgave Hugh Grant for getting a blow job from a prostitute and Halle Berry for saying someone had a Jewish nose? After that stuff, this is nothing. So: Congrats, Treasury Secretary Geithner! See you at your confirmation tomorrow!