6 Government Shutdown Winners and Losers That Aren't Blindingly Obvious

Despite John Boehner's insistence that the shutdown wasn’t a “damn game,” some clearly emerged from the fiasco in better shape than others. Yes, the whole affair was good for Democrats, the Affordable Care Act, and President Obama; yes, it was bad for House Republicans, Tea Partiers, competent governance, the country’s well-being and sanity. But there were some less obvious winners and losers as well. Click on to find out what and who they are...

There Were Winners?

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Despite John Boehner's insistence that the shutdown wasn’t a “damn game,” some clearly emerged from the fiasco in better shape than others. Yes, the whole affair was good for Democrats, the Affordable Care Act, and President Obama; yes, it was bad for House Republicans, Tea Partiers, competent governance, the country’s well-being and sanity. But there were some less obvious winners and losers as well. Click on to find out what and who they are...

LOSER: Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment

“Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” The Gipper’s famous insistence on partisan unity has stuck with Republicans for decades, but that unity crumbled publicly during the government shutdown, as Rep. Peter King publicly blasted Ted Cruz by name multiple times for engineering the crisis. “You're either a fraud, or you're totally incompetent,” King said of the Texas Senator. “He can have his choice as to what he is.” This was only one of many public condemnations of the GOP, by the GOP, and was only made worse by Democrats’ almost complete solidarity during the crisis.

WINNER: Ted Cruz’s campaign chest

Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Say what you want about the junior Senator from Texas, but there’s no doubt that this episode was good for his bottom line. Cruz’s political action committee pulled in $797,000 from July 1st to September 30th, the period that encompassed his non-filibuster. That’s more than twice what the committee raked in during the previous three months. If you throw in Cruz’s other fundraising committees into the mix, he made a cool $1.19 million during the last quarter, so this was a profitable venture for Cruz.

LOSER: Ted Cruz’s chances at ever becoming president

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Make no mistake: Cruz’s role in the shutdown helped his image immensely with Republicans. Tea Partiers, in particular, now approve of him by a staggering 74-8 margin. The problem is that in order to become president — which Cruz most certainly wants to do — you need the support of more than the Tea Party. The general public now dislikes Cruz by a ratio of 2:1, which is a lot of ground to make up if he hopes to win a general election.

WINNER: Alcohol

As the shutdown loomed in late September, several reporters on Capitol Hill noted that the halls of Congress were smelling suspiciously more alcoholic than normal. Once the shutdown hit, several bars and pubs in the city attempted to ease the pain of furloughed workers by offering them discounted drinks, and the Drunk Dial Congress page became a viral hit. Liquor, it turned out, was the one thing that united members of congress, federal workers and pissed-off voters.

LOSER: The Republican rebranding effort

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

After Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama — which conservatives somehow didn’t see coming — the Republican Party launched the Growth and & Opportunity Project, an attempt to provide “a path forward for the Republican Party to ensure success in winning more elections.” The first suggestion in the report was for Republicans to prove that they cared about the middle-class, which the party attempted to do by shutting down the government and threatening to blow up the global economy. Now, the GOP has its lowest approval rating in the history of polling. Well-done, guys.

WINNER: Governors

Every politician who isn’t in D.C. can gleefully point to the shutdown as an example of how broken Washington is, and then point at their own state as an example of more responsible governance. While a lot of this boasting, particularly that of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, is rooted in nonsense, it makes for an easy talking point nonetheless, and given Congress’s abysmal public standing, it might be an effective one, too.