Huckabee's argument was that his party needs to focus on winning elections by not taking on fights which will only cost them votes. The government shutdown will not earn the GOP any votes they are not already getting, but has the potential to cost them plenty of those which they have been working to attract. That's why in the coming days, pollsters will hit the phone banks for Republicans looking to assess the damage of the shutdown.
With that perspective in mind, here are potentially the 5 'biggest losers' in the Stateline from the government shutdown.
#5: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL 16). Kinzinger is going to find himself in a very peculiar place as the political pressure builds to end the shutdown. He has worked very hard to distance himself from it, but will find himself having to own it now, for his party-line votes assured that it would happen. Kinzinger holds a safe seat, so the political cost to him won't be too great. Shutting down the government over funding a law no matter how unpopular it may be, however, is going to be a difficult position to defend with all but the most conservative voters in his district.
#4: Stateliners in general: Government shutdowns in the past haven't been all that impactful economically. This one is different, however, in that it comes at a particularly perilous time for an American economy which is still in economic recovery mode. That's especially true for the Stateline, which has been hit unduly hard by the 'Great Recession' and a painfully slow recovery. High unemployment lingers, housing values remain depressed, and growth is stagnant. It stands to reason that any economic pain caused by ongoing political chaos in Washington will hit this region especially hard.
#3: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1): There's little doubt the former Vice-Presidential candidate is eyeing a run for President. When asked about a possible shutdown a couple of weeks ago, Ryan insisted House Republicans would not do it. Yet when push came to shove on the issue this week, the leader of House Republicans was not Paul Ryan. It was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) urging them to do it. When a Senator invades your chamber to lead your caucus, it doesn't do much to make you look like presidential material. House Republicans may also be whispering about why Ryan didn't do more to help them avoid this political mess.
#2: Stateline Federal Employees: A dysfunctional Congress is not their fault, but it will be their burden. Congress will continue to get paid -- many federal employees will not.. There are not a large number of them in the Stateline and the lasting impact will hopefully not be that great, but in the short term, a shutdown is very painful for them.
#1. Former Rep. Bobby Schilling, Congressional Candidate (R-IL 17): Schilling's campaign put out a news release Monday trying to blame his opponent, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL 17) for pushing the nation towards a government shutdown. It stated, "she's joining her party leadership, engaging in the 'partisan gridlock' she claims to oppose, and is trying to shut the government down." That's a really hard sell when virtually every conservative commentator with a microphone is giving GOP lawmakers credit for standing firm on funding 'Obamacare' and forcing the shutdown. Schilling must understand that the shutdown will hurt his chances to reclaim his seat. Just like the last government shutdown in 1995 which hurt Republicans in the 1996 mid-term elections, what happens in 2013 will have an impact in November of 2014.