TODAY IN ONE PARAGRAPH: After shutting down the government, burning bridges on Wall Street over the debt ceiling, and taking a huge hit in public polling, all in exchange for a minuscule, noncontroversial tweak to Obamacare, Republicans are trying to figure out what went wrong and how they can make it right quickly before Washington wages its next round of budget battle. But while Democrats are enjoying the show from the outside, they too are faced with, though not necessarily facing up to, an uncomfortable reality: They managed to ward off this Republican attempt at changing policy, but they won nothing for themselves. And while they toast themselves, the sequester, whose spending cuts the Right relishes and the Left detests, is going forward unabated. Elsewhere, President Obama's new Homeland Security pick revealed the president's shifting priorities, and the nation's top wildlife photographers put their best on display.
CAN THE GOP STOP DESTROYING ITSELF? That remains a big question in Washington two days after the shutdown's eleventh-hour resolution. Insiders confess the party needs to engage itself in some serious soul-searching to have any chance of winning elections, but there's no clear sign that the shutdown showdown that turned into a bloodbath for the Republican brand--and particularly the tea party--will result in any more substantive change than last year's election. Both parties are already at work trying to avoid a repeat budget crisis, but it remains unclear how committed the factious GOP is to staving off another PR disaster. (Karen Tumulty, WaPo)
AND GOP DONORS ARE MAD AS HELL--AGAIN: After flushing hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2012 election, conservative benefactors are still irate at Republican lawmakers who are picking bad fights and losing. Many checkbooks are staying closed, which could further jeopardize the the GOP's chances in several 2014 midterm elections. (Haberman/Palmer, Politico)
REPUBLICANS WINNING WHERE IT COUNTS: The shutdown was a disaster, but there is a serious silver lining for the GOP: "When it comes to policy, it is still the Republicans—that is, the tea party, the GOP's new beating heart—who are still largely setting the agenda. That's not about to change. They lost on Obamacare, true enough, and except for a hard-core sub-minority of the tea-party faction, it's unlikely Republicans will be stupid enough to try to wage that futile fight again. But even with this political setback, the tea partiers have made the sequester and debt-ceiling fights the new normal in Washington, as we will find out again in just a few months when the next deadline is reached." (Michael Hirsh, NJ)
JEH JOHNSON PICK FOR DHS UNDERSCORES ADMIN'S CHANGING PRIORITIES: The pick suggests Obama is looking to scale back this commitment to immigration enforcement and deportation and up the agency's focus on preventing terrorism attacks. Johnson, a millionaire military lawyer with a career focused on national security, boasts a profile that differs greatly from that of his border-state predecessor, Janet Napolitano. (Alicia Caldwell, AP)
FORMER SPEAKER TOM FOLEY DIES AT 84: The Democrat spent 30 years in Congress before becoming in 1994 the first speaker since before the Civil War to be voted out of office. Foley followed his lawmaker job with a four-year stint as ambassador to Japan. (Adam Clymer, NYT)
THE WEEKEND IN ONE PARAGRAPH: The House and Senate are out of session. Mitch McConnell will appear on CBS's Face the Nation for his first sit-down since the shutdown, while John McCain heads to CNN's State of the Union for an airing of grievances. Jack Lew, Charles Schumer, and Tom Coburn are on NBC's Meet the Press, and Marco Rubio, Dick Durbin and Roy Blunt will chat on Fox New Sunday. Nancy Pelosi and Jeb Bush will both stop by ABC's This Week.
NATIONAL ZOO: It was closed for 17 days. What exactly went on behind the closed gates during that time? Lions mated, a century-old giant tortoise took its last breaths, and everyone's favorite panda cub put on some serious pounds. (Ruane/Hedgpeth, WaPo)
SAUDI ARABIA: The kingdom rejected a seat on the U.N. Security Council, telegraphing anger at the international community for its inability to solve Syria or other Middle East problems. (Angus McDowall, Reuters)
WILL HE, INDEED, BE BACK? Arnold Schwarzenegger is lobbying hard to change the Constitution so he can run for president in 2016. (Emily Smith, Page Six)
THE TRUTH BEHIND NFL BETTING: Bookies know a lot more than you. Here's some help to make Sundays more profitable. (Ferdman/Yanofsky, Quartz)
RAND PAUL COMES CLEAN: 'MISINFORMATION WORKS': Rand Paul, like his father, has made somewhat of a habit of spewing half-truths and outright lies, disregarding fact-checkers as little more than ideological foes. But the once-and-future savior of the conservative base could still be a serious 2016 contender if he recalibrates his rhetoric just a bit and "could change the course of the GOP, just like Goldwater" in the process. (Jill Lawrence, NJ)
THE FEDS ARE FAILING AT OBAMACARE--BUT NOT THE STATES: The exchanges being run by HHS continue to flounder, but many of the state-run marketplaces are faring a lot better. Obamacare was conceived to be something managed on the state level, and, for many of the 14 states and D.C., it "seems to be working more or less like it's supposed to work." (Jonathan Cohn, TNR)
LAST NIGHT'S LATE-NIGHT FUNNIES IN UNDER 3 MINUTES: Letterman explores what Congress really learned from the shutdown (hint: not much), and that possessed House stenographer might be the tea party's new hottest candidate. (Reena Flores,NJ)
PHOTOS OF ANIMALS IN THE WILD DON'T GET BETTER THAN THIS: Seriously. Thanks to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, put on by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide, here are a collection of brilliant photos featuring a polar bear ominously lurking beneath frigid waters, a flying snow monkey, and a jaguar's attempt at courtship gone horribly wrong. (The Atlantic)