Who deserves a pat on the back for ending the shutdown?
No one, that's who.
This wasn't a victory for anyone in Minnesota. It's good that state employees will be going back to their jobs, but they missed out on three weeks of work. It's good that the state parks will soon reopen, but they had to close down during summer primetime - Fourth of July weekend.
We suppose if you spin it enough, you can say Wednesday was a good day for all of Minnesota, but that much spinning is likely to make you dizzy. Even the legislators and the governor aren't happy. They walked away from the budget battle like a football team walks away from a victory after losing their star quarterback.
The battle has been won, we suppose, but since our political leaders forced themselves into such a rush job in order to end the shutdown, the ugly war will resume.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats won this battle, neither side can hold their heads too high, in part because the budget borrows money from schools and from future payments on a legal settlement with tobacco companies through the middle of 2013. In the end, both sides made sacrifices and both sides compromised, although the credit meter should lean toward Dayton who gave up on his quest to raise taxes on the state's richest - a campaign stomping point of his - to get the shutdown shut down.
For better or worse, Wednesday will be a memorable day in Minnesota, but the future remains cloudy. Many legislators will end up paying for the shutdown in the next election. Voters, even those with short memories, will surely be influenced by what happened this year and will take it out on next year's incumbents, remembering how the 2011 Legislature battled for months over taxes and spending. Such battles are common and even expected by the voting public - as long as there's eventually some kind of resolution.
This year, there wasn't, not until it was too late.