Conventional wisdom has it that President Obama was a winner in the budget showdown, John Boehner was a loser, everyone hates Ted Cruz, blah blah blah. But that stuff will all blow over within days. Here's a top ten list of the real winners:
Wall Street: They didn't panic because they figured Congress would do the right thing at the last second, just like always. They were right.
Kathleen Sebelius: If not for the shutdown, the media would have focused its attention 24/7 on the disastrous rollout of Obamacare. By now, Sebelius would be in about the same mental shape as the House stenographer if Republicans hadn't helpfully covered for her.
Pandas: For two weeks, anyway, they got to grow up without millions of prying eyes following their every move and cooing about how cute they are.
Netflix: Furloughed federal workers had plenty of free time on their hands, and a lot of them turned to Netflix to fill all those empty hours.
Robert Costa: He was everyone's go-to reporter for the inside scoop on what Republicans were thinking at each step along the way. A new job and a big raise can't be too far off.
Iran: Benjamin Netanyahu wants everyone to be outraged over Iran's peace overtures, but no one is listening. For the moment, anyway, Obamacare is the only existential threat that American conservatives have time for.
China: They want to see a "de-Americanized world." After watching the know-nothing takeover of the American government by the tea party, horrified leaders across the globe are inclined to think that's not such a bad idea.
Random House: Following Ted Cruz's epic filibuster, Green Eggs and Ham is all set to become the Christmas present of choice for millions of devoted tea partiers this holiday season.
The World War II Memorial: I've been there, and it's really not a very good memorial. But now it's the infamous site of the Barrycade! Attendance should skyrocket.
Democrats: They actually stuck together! Can you believe it? Republican overreach was so egregious that it accomplished in two weeks what no one in history had managed to accomplish in over two centuries. Will Rogers is spinning in his grave.