Similarly, I'm pretty sure that John Boehner didn't want to reveal or exacerbate splits between business leaders and Tea Party activists within the GOP when he decided to go the brinksmanship route on the debt ceiling increase. But there's a tendency to treat that as a loss for Republicans, even though we have no idea whether it will impact the final agreement.
|"Go ahead, blow it back to God."|
The key point here is that no one knows who is winning or losing this thing. Horse race descriptions, while useful in campaigns, just really don't apply here.