- (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
There are plenty of losers in the fight over the government shutdown, as well as a couple of winners.
Ted Cruz and the Tea Party
The government shutdown began as a result of an effort by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other Tea Party Republicans to defund the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." The freshman senator accused all the Republicans and fellow conservatives who thought his tactic was ill-conceived and ill-executed of not being true to their common cause. This attitude engendered acrimony among his colleagues and will certainly make it less likely that Republicans will follow the lead of Cruz et. al. in the future.
Washington Politicians (Especially Republicans)
Americans have a less favorable view of all Washington politicians as a result of the shutdown. President Barack Obama's approval ratings recently hit an all-time low. The approval ratings of Republicans in Congress fell lower than that of Obama and congressional Democrats.
National Park Service
The National Park Service became Obama's personal goon squad during the shutdown, doing their best to cause as much grief and annoyance as possible during the shutdown. They erected barricades and "closed" signs in front of open-air monuments and parks, evicted people from homes that were on national park land, closed roadways and scenic byways, and even tried to close access to private establishments, such as Mount Vernon.
Cruz has the honor of making both the winner and the loser list. While he lost the respect of his colleagues during the shutdown debacle, he increased his national profile and gained a following among a segment of conservatives who would rather see their politicians challenge Obama at every turn than make good public policy.
Governors have tended to do well in presidential races ever since reforms in the early 1970's opened the nomination process to a greater number of voters. The image of Washington politicians has taken an even greater hit as a result of the shutdown. This will likely help governors who want to run for the presidency in 2016, such as, on the Democratic side, New York's Andrew Cuomo and Maryland's Martin O'Malley, and on the Republican side, New Jersey's Chris Christie and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal.