Economist Tyler Cowen (on whose most recent book, "Average Is Over," I wrote a Washington Examiner column) goes out on a limb every once in a while by writing blogposts quoting his outrageous evil twin Tyrone. Tyrone insists the Republicans won the showdown over the government shutdown and debt ceiling by seeming to act insanely while they were only acting irresponsibly. Needless to say, this is not an argument any Republican spokesman would make explicitly, but there is something to say for it.

Key quote: "Look where we stand. In real terms government spending has been falling. Sequestration appears to be permanent, or it will be negotiated away by Republicans in return for preferred changes in tax and spending policy. Leading Democratic intellectuals are talking about future fiscal bargains with no new taxes." That last is a reference to this Wonkblog post by Ezra Klein.

You should definitely read the whole thing. The key point, I think, is that how you score these episodes depends on whether you're measuring immediate (and quite possibly evanescant) political effects of whether you're focusing on the effects on public policy.