According to RealClearPolitics, the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) is opposed by 50.6 percent of the U.S. population and approved of by only 40.3%. And yet, according to Gallup, the Republicans, the party that unanimously opposed ObamaCare in Congress, is at an all-time low in approval at an abysmal 28%.

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

And all this while the Democrats are at a pathetic 43% themselves (no one much likes politicians these days) and Obama is at his all-time low of 37%, but still 9% better than the Republicans, even though the president is, of course, the very instigator of the dreaded ObamaCare.

How’d this happen?

Well, they don’t call ‘em ‘The Stupid Party’ for nothing.

Ironically, however, the person I think most responsible for this (let’s hope temporary) debacle is anything but stupid — Princeton graduate Ted Cruz.

I was quite intrigued with the Texas senator, with whom I agree on many matters, when I first heard about him. A feisty conservative with a Cuban background and a fair amount of smarts — what could be bad?

Well, the human ego, I’m afraid. It seems to get to all of us. Mr. Cruz took his justifiable disdain for ObamaCare and ran with it to such a degree that it became less about the legislation and far more about him, as he, in envious imitation of Rand Paul perhaps, took to the Senate floor and stayed and stayed and stayed until the entire Congress collapsed.

Cruz never had a real strategy for defunding ObamaCare, his avowed intention in this extravaganza. That was painfully obvious on several occasions, including his appearance on the opening of Megyn Kelly’s new show Monday. He was still dodging about how he intended to defund the new law against a Democratic-controled Senate that wasn’t about to budge on the issue, even less against a president for whom Affordable Care is, Obama thinks anyway, the one jewel in a very tarnished crown.

No way this defunding would occur, yet Cruz went on and on, dragging us all along with him. He pressed a lot of people’s anger buttons, so that many on talk radio and in Congress felt they had to go along with his Alamo Complex lest they be accused of being wimps or, worse, RINOs. But to what end?

Yet more ironic is that the Republicans had a winning hand against ObamaCare. Indeed they still do. The legislation has created such an inept bureaucracy, it’s about to implode by itself.

Nevertheless Cruz and Company played it exactly the wrong way. Like people who had never heard of Machiavelli or Sun Tzu, they fought the war they were destined to lose when a war they could win was just on the horizon.