Daniel McCarthy examines the self-delusion of the Republican base:

[A]nyone who is psychologically satisfied by actions that in fact cost taxpayers additional money, and that are counterproductive in the public arena, really an opponent of big government? A feeling of courageous satisfaction here is perverse: it subverts the principle it’s supposed to support.

Imagine what the Tea Party would accomplish if this incident became paradigmatic: government would grow, anti-government sentiment would be discredited, and the people responsible for both would continue to applaud themselves as the only true champions of limited-government principle.

The self-defeating emotionalism of Ted Cruz’s admirers won’t allow them to think through this problem. Instead they present themselves with a false dilemma between Cruz’s counterproductive incompetence and RINO liberalism. That there could be a more intelligent strategy for limited government than merely doing what feels good never occurs to them—it’s too painful to contemplate.

Larison chimes in:

Because small-government conservatism is a harder sell than many of the alternatives, it is especially important for its advocates to make good judgments about what is possible and to make sound decisions that prove that they are capable of running a government of reduced and limited powers. Neither of these has been on display in the last few weeks, everyone can see it, and it would be senseless for anyone to offer up spin to the contrary.