The political crisis is over, for now. The reviews are coming in and they are not very good. They are especially bad for Congressional Republicans. In the end they came away looking like losers, and that is never good.
Republicans lost so badly that many of their most reliable supporters could not defend them.
Rush Limbaugh, for one, said:
The Republicans have done everything they can to try to make everyone like them and what they've ended up doing is creating one of the greatest political disasters I've ever seen in my lifetime...I was pondering if I could ever remember...a time when a political party just made a decision not to exist, for all intents and purposes.
At the New York Times, Ross Douthat wrote:
However you slice and dice the history, the strategery, and the underlying issues, the decision to live with a government shutdown for an extended period of time — inflicting modest-but-real harm on the economy, needlessly disrupting the lives and paychecks of many thousands of hardworking people, and further tarnishing the Republican Party’s already not-exactly-shiny image — in pursuit of obviously, obviously unattainable goals was not a normal political blunder by a normally-functioning political party. It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives.
On the Wall Street Journal editorial page Dan Henninger declared:
One of the more compelling finds in the opinion-polling swamps is that most people would like to see the entire Congress replaced. A more modest proposal: Let's replace all the Republicans in Congress with their children or grandchildren. Bring in the 15-year-olds. How could it get worse?
From the House to the Senate, the Republicans look dazed and confused. Three weeks ago, Ted Cruz stood in the Senate chamber for nearly a day, looking like a hero. Today, with the GOP brand in a vertical dive, he looks like a Bozo balloon.
Across the pond Tim Stanley summed it up in the London Telegraph:
… the Republicans have definitely lost. Not only did they not get what they wanted – that "life or death" delay on Obamacare implementation – but they've given the impression of dragging partisanship to new lows. Obamacare had been passed already, the Supreme Court had okayed it and Obama had won an election on it, yet the GOP was still prepared to bring the country to the brink of ruin to cripple it. When Grover Norquist is saying that the Right went too far (he of the "drown government in the bath tub" fame) then the Right probably went a bit too far.
In one of the best analyses of the situation, Stanley distributed the blame:
First, the Republicans aren't the only ones who ought to hang their heads in shame. It was the Democrat-controlled Senate that first rejected the House's bill and so sparked the crisis. It was the President who refused to talk to anyone about it (and went campaigning instead). It was the federal government – even when in shutdown – that behaved like a spoiled child, covering war memorials in fences and trying to stop military priests from saying Mass.
He continued to explain that for President Obama, the victory was probably Pyrrhic:
… what has Obama really won? He keeps his precious healthcare reform and he gets government open again – but tomorrow morning he'll still have the same gridlocked political system that he had the night before. The shutdown is a rare example of him winning, but remember that this lame duck president has not only had a very simple (and, frankly, inoffensive) gun control bill killed in the Senate but was so spooked by bad poll numbers that he tried to dump responsibility for military action in Syria onto the Congress – before quietly dropping the idea altogether. Any thought that the shutdown payoff will be that he can sail an immigration reform package comfortably through Congress is pure fantasy. This is a broken presidency living out its last few years either holding off Republican attacks or lazily cruising the country on some pointless, endless, fatuous campaign trail. Obama's administration is politically bankrupt.