1) Congress has “pulled the grenade” — i.e. it has done what it has threatened to do and cannot do anything more severe. This action also affects them, so it is analogous to pulling the grenade and not actually throwing it but splattering bystanders with bits and pieces of your exploded body.
2) The “goal,” or I suppose the “sane” goal as there are some in Congress who claim to have desired the current outcome, is that the President would have “blinked” and avoided the pulling of the grenade. As that didn’t happen, the original goal, which I am still benignly referring to as “sane,” was not achieved.
3) This is the point of negotiations when you wait out the clock, and the weaker party is the one to break first. Unlike the previous government shutdown, the sitting President is not up for reelection and what’s being demanded of him is significant enough that he would gain nothing by surrendering it. Members of Congress are always up for reelection, and what they’re demanding is not static: Unlike Gingrich and Clinton’s face-off about the terms of a budget that was not yet in place, the Affordable Health Care Act has already started. The Shutdown did not prevent that, and more people enroll as each day passes, which makes the situation more difficult for them. So, the time advantage is not in Congress’s favor.
4) It is obvious now, as it was obvious before the Shutdown, that the GOP members of Congress are divided on this issue, whereas the Democrats are not. That is not good for the GOP.
5) Regardless of party affiliation, no one should negotiate with people who are willing to go nuclear to get what they want (these people probably watch a lot of movies with Clint Eastwood or some other suitably testosterone-rich star where that works out well but that’s not reality). You only encourage those actions and guarantee a repeat of what just happened. I presume that the President, as the father of young children, is aware of this, but if not I think the Dreamy Prime Minister from Love Actually says it best.