In my talks with Cruz allies over the past couple of days, a clear theme emerged: Republicans were losing because those RINOs in the Senate wouldn’t man up and fight. To pin this defeat on others, Cruz will have to do everything he can to heighten this distinction.
In all likelihood, there’s no reason to panic if Cruz decided to keep tilting at windmills. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. wouldn’t risk missing a payment until sometime between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31 if the debt ceiling isn’t lifted, and Cruz couldn’t possibly stall for that long. So any delaying tactic would be a make-believe effort to force default in the same way that Cruz’s 21-hour talkathon before the shutdown was a make-believe filibuster. Afterward, he could declare another make-believe victory, while the rest of us got on with our lives.