There is little doubt that Democrats are the net winners of this standoff (at least in the short term). There is a real danger, however, of getting caught in the gravitational hole the Republicans have opened in the government. This is the week, where we on the left need to define victory, and move on.
Victory over for Democrats is not the same thing as failure for Republicans. If we appear to be standing over the death spasms of the Republican Party, then the electorate will label us with the same self serving tag they have placed on the GOP. So what does a victory look like?
For me, a victory must accomplish a few things.
1. Open the Government
2. Raise the Debt Ceiling
3. Set a Wedge between the Tea Party and the GOP
4. Use the Republican timidity to accomplish long term deals
Now that third part is where many will disagree with me here. The Republicans need some hollow concession, so they can force a vote onto the House floor. It needs to be little more than a political statement, which will permit 150 Republicans to vote to move on.
The net effect of some face saving deal, will also force Tea Party representatives to vote no. They will scream and yell, but the GOP will move on. GOP senators will be reluctant to have their name mentioned in the same sentence as Ted Cruz again.
After the dust settles, many Republicans will be lining up to separate themselves from the extreme right. There are no illusions on the side of smart money. There is much damage to be repaired, and they know it. The window for them to do this is short, and we can't afford to let it pass.
Starting soon, the Republicans will be in the midst of primary season. That leaves about two months to push through a reasonable agenda. Probably not the level of immigration reform, but some kind of infrastructure bill may be possible.
One the most difficult things about politics is knowing when you've won. If you figure it out too late, you can lose any momentum you might have built. We have won this. It's time to get something for it.