Self-serving fallout from government shutdown surfaces

     Rick Hohensee of Washington holds a 'Fire Congress' sign near the House steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

    Rick Hohensee of Washington holds a 'Fire Congress' sign near the House steps on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

    The 16-day federal shutdown for now is over, and elected officials and strategists assessing the effect on political capital are finding it hard to see much damage.

    Republican strategist Charlie Gerow says the shutdown debate will strengthen GOP candidates because it clarified something.

    “One is the incredible increase in the national debt, and two – the disaster of Obamacare,” points out Gerow.

    Maybe.

    But after the shutdown-inducing fight, Republicans seem no closer to changing the Affordable Care Act or reducing the national debt.

    The interests that have been served in the short-term appear far more parochial – the whims of each candidate’s district, and the groups that help the G-O-P raise money.

    Chris Borick is a pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. He says voter surveys show the past few weeks of squabbling have damaged the Republican Party’s brand with moderates, but it’s not clear if that even matters.

    “While it’s an important group electorally, in terms of raising funds, it’s a little different ball game,” Borick said.

    The more conservative groups run the game when it comes to raising money, he added.

    That perspective has been elevated by the latest debate.

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