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Considering it was just a slightly souped up gamecube; if they can't get the most of gamecube technology in 11 years then no one in the tech/gaming industry will get the most out of anything.
All we have ever seen on any console was the maximum that devs were willing/financially able to put into it. Nobody has ever put forth the money to develop a game that pushes any console to its absolute limit. This includes the Wii as well.
The Wii's different than any other console in its gen, though, being ten times weaker than its brothers, and based extremely similar to the architecture of its predecessor.
The vast majority of Wii games were absolutely identical to Gamecube, PS2, and Xbox games. Most of that, sure, is just a lack of proper time and money spent on the project, as you said. But some devs actually tried to get, if not the most, something more out of the system, to varying results. Ultimately, though, besides some clever use of shaders and texture maps, their efforts only proved the Wii was running on "peaked" hardware before it even released.
There were dozens of current gen games that had to be extremely scaled/water down to become products on the Wii. Now, as you'll probably mention, (and I would absolutely agree with you) there were plenty of lazy/cheap devs, especially this gen that just didn't spend the time and money and effort that they should have on their Wii ports. But it doesn't matter how much time and money, and how many talented individuals that through at, say, the Wii versions of the CoD games just because of their popularity and more importantly feature parity and similarity with their 360/PS3 counterparts...you're not going to come out with a product that's noticeably better than we got. (the later CoD games, anyway, the CoD3 port is abysmal). There's only so far you can "push" hardware components from 2000 (that weren't even cutting edge at the time).
I'm not exactly sure what you would qualify as a WIi game pushing the hardware "to the max" (and, admittedly, that's kind of an ignorant and loaded phrase), but I guarantee you wouldn't get anything close to a 360/PS3 game, or anything noticeably more impressive, at least from a technical visual standpoint, than what we got.
Lower-end PC's get pushed to their limits and get horribly, horribly broken all the time by games today. Consoles, being built on streamlined PC hardware, are no different. There's only so far you can "push" a 600 MHZ processor; or 512 MB of RAM...or a graphics card that in some ways is more inefficient than even the original Xbox's.
They never made graphics the primary focus, so we still have never seen it fully maxed out. I'm not saying the Wii is a powerhouse. It isn't.
To max out a console's graphics it would take a tech demo with absolutely no gameplay or sound effects. Every single resource would have to go 100% into graphics without regard to sound, gameplay, frame rate, or anything else.
To max a console's graphics capability, it would require something that isn't even a game.
That does not mean games made for future generations of processors and consoles won't exceed the maximum of the previous gen. It simply means that we have never seen any single platform fully maxed out. The N64 exceeded the SNES's ability, but we never saw the max graphics on the SNES itself.