Government shutdown post-mortem: How the leading 2016 presidential candidates fared

It’s not a secret that many of the key Republican players in the government shutdown are aspiring 2016 presidential candidates. But did their role in the whole ordeal help or hinder their chances at winning the GOP nomination for President in 2016?

Some of the players were obvious winners (see: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan) while others may have seen their stars diminish over the past two weeks. And with nearly half of all Republicans disapproving of how the party was behaving during the shutdown, many of the candidates discussed below will have some work to do if they are going to stay credible candidates moving forward.

Here’s a look at where the key players for 2016 stand (in alphabetical order):

1. Chris Christie

Chris Christie

The New Jersey governor, who is up for reelection in less than a month, came out a big winner at the end of the shutdown. Granted, he was largely on the periphery throughout the entire ordeal by nature of not working in Washington. Yet his separation from the nation’s capital didn’t stop him from blasting his fellow Republicans over the shutdown.

“You get hired to do a job. Do your job!” he said during an editorial board meeting with The Philadelphia Inquirer last week. “There are too many people down here who spend all their time pontificating rather than working. And that applies to both parties. I don’t have patience for that.”

As a result, his actions will not only boost his margin of victory next month, but his standing within the party headed into 2016.

2. Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Cruz has some fences to mend if he wants to remain a credible 2016 presidential candidate. By framing himself as the face of the government shutdown, he temporarily raised his status within the party – epitomized by his resounding win in the 2013 Values Voter Summit straw poll last Saturday. Democrats will make sure the American public remembers that as soon as he makes his bid official in 2015, however.

3. Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan

Ryan was one of the few Washington Republicans that came out unscathed post-shutdown, and there are two key reasons for that. First, the Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential nominee stayed largely out of the limelight as other potential presidential candidates put themselves front-and-center in the debate. And when it came time to vote on the Senate deal Wednesday night, Ryan broke with party leadership and voted against the plan – a move designed more to solidify his standing as a top 2016 presidential candidate.

Moving forward, the key indicator for Ryan will be whether he brings himself back to the middle in light of Democrat Rob Zerban’s announcement that he will challenge Ryan in 2014. Zerban is the son of the Sikh temple president who was killed, along with five others, in a shooting rampage at their Milwaukee-area temple last year. Ryan’s role as the co-leader of the Budget Conference Committee developed out of the Senate plan will also have an impact on his future political aspirations.

4. Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio

Mike Lee Rand Paul Marco Rubio

The three Tea Party senators are grouped together because the shutdown had roughly the same impact on each of them. All three freshman senators supported Cruz’s 21-hour marathon speech last month to delay the vote on the continuing resolution that would have prevented the shutdown, and all three of them voted against both cloture and the official vote on the Senate’s plan Wednesday.

As a result, their standing both among the GOP base and within the 2016 primary race changed little. Like Cruz, they will likely be attacked by Democrats when the time comes for their so-called desire to keep the government shutdown past October 16. By remaining resolute in their decision to stop Obamacare from officially going into effect on January 1, however, they remain well-liked by the base, which is what they needed to do should they decide to run for president over re-election in three years.

Comments

Polititainment

Billy Joel: Obama smoking story 'untrue'

After a report emerged from a source for The Hill newspaper that Joel on a trip to Washington, D.C., claimed that he recently smoked a cigarette with President Obama, the musician is now denying the story.

Pharrell: Brown's actions 'bully-ish'

Musician Pharrell Williams said in a recent Ebony magazine interview that President Obama "should have gone down" to Ferguson to address the situation.

Billy Joel smoked with Obama

According to one of The Hill's sources, Obama invited Billy Joel to have a cigarette with him when the musician made a recent trip to the White House.

Beckham's catch = Obama's executive act

You know it is.

'SNL' remakes Schoolhouse Rock
“Saturday Night Live” hit today’s political process right on the nose during the show’s cold open. Spoofing Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill,” Kenan Thompson as the bill tried to explain how he becomes a law. But before he can make his way  to President Obama’s desk to be officially signed into law, Obama beats him […]

White House

Poll: Americans split on Obama’s immigration order
Americans are sharply split on their reaction to President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration that will essentially give amnesty to about five million undocumented immigrants,according to a new poll. The latest Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday found that 45 percent of voters support the president’s move, while 48 percent opposes it. Support for […]
Eric Holder stresses that federal investigations in Ferguson are not over

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement Monday night assuring rioters that the Justice Department still has two investigations to complete in Ferguson.

Obama appeals for calm after Ferguson decision

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama appealed for calm and understanding in Ferguson on Monday after a grand jury decided not to indict in the death of Michael Brown, pleading with both residents and police officers to show restraint.

Obama defends his flip-flop on immigration executive action
President Obama may have denounced the very executive action on immigration he ended up taking  more than 20 times in his presidency, but that’s not stopping him from ardently defending his actions. Obama appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and host George Stephanopoulos grilled the president about his the contradictions in his words and actions. “You […]
Obama: Voters want ‘new car smell’ in 2016, Hillary would be ‘great president’
President Obama still has two years left in office, but with the GOP overhaul in the midterms and his waning popularity, most people are already looking to 2016. Including, it seems, Obama himself. He said the best part of running for president after a two-term president is that “you can stake out your own positions” […]

Congress

Pelosi and Obama versus Schumer and America

This is like one of those times a member of a professional wrestling posse turns heel on national television and sets off the drama.

Rand blames 'politicians,' drug war in Ferguson

Sen. Rand Paul’s Time op-ed on Ferguson Tuesday blamed politicians for creating “a culture of violence” through the War on Drugs, and urged Ferguson protesters to “channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”

Why are House Members exempt from ethics training?
Two U.S. representatives are questioning a curious practice on the Hill that exempts House Members from ethics training. But it doesn’t look like they are getting much support from their colleagues that enjoy this perk. Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and Scott Rigell (R-Va.), are urging congressional leaders to end the House exemption on the annual ethics […]
Paul calls for formal declaration of war on ISIS

Sen. Rand Paul wants Congress to formally declare war against ISIS.

The fallout from Boehner not owning a dog

President Obama's offer to smooth over an immigration reform compromise with Speaker John Boehner has turned out to be a case of barking up the nonexistent tree.