There's no covering up the fact that the tea party already has lost. When solid conservatives such as Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., say the shutdown is suicidal -- he called the shutdown crowd "lemmings with suicide vests" -- it's over.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., warned that the shutdown would lead GOP acolytes into a "box canyon." Republicans know what happened and who led them into a trap.
Savvy Republicans know that the best way to defeat the Affordable Care Act is to leave it alone and let it fall from its own weight.
Smart partisans know when to pick their battles.