Winners? There's only one winner in all of this: Ted Cruz.
Well consider this: there will most likely be a crowded field of contenders for the 2016 Republican nomination. Senator Cruz's actions have brought him great acclaim among the wackadoodle faction of the GOP, which will no doubt help in his quest to become the first Canadian president* of the United States. Senator Cruz knew that there was no chance of "ending" the Affordable Care Act, but he also realized that this was the perfect chance to set himself up as a hero to the mindless flock that believe everything that Sara Palin and her ilk spout. Say what you want about Senator Cruz, but he's definitely not short in the strategy department. Too bad his strategy actually cost harm...to our economy...to our reputation...and to fellow citizens (such as my conservative Republican brother Chris, who is also employed by the federal government).
The rest of us are losers in this whole sad mess. And it will be repeated because the stuff that created the discord has not gone away. At best, it may go into remission.
Lastly, make no mistake about it, Democrats did not win in all of this mess. At best, they "succeeded" in not looking as dysfunctional as their Republican counterparts. That's like being crowned Least Ugly at your Senior Prom.
Sadly, more to come...
Post Script -
Best line from a blog about the shut-down? That's from WNEP's Andy Palumbo, who noted:
"The USA has become a big Scranton."
How very sad...and true.
(*) I find it nothing short of hilarious that those crying loudest about our supposed Kenyan president (actually born in the United States), are actually some of the most vocal supporters of a man who actually, really, truly was born in a foreign country...and who had dual citizenship. Then again Tea Baggers have no sense for the ironic.