Is this divide that will determine whether Ryan or Rubio is better positioned for a 2016 Presidential Race?
Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Paul Ryan ultimately is a policy wonk, who understood that getting tax cuts for the majority of the American people could be a huge victory. Marco Rubio seems more politically attuned to the conservative base. I think that’s the divide,” says John Feehery, Republican consultant who has advised top House Republicans for most of the past 15 years.
While both Ryan and Rubio kept a low profile during the debate over the fiscal cliff, they garnered wide attention for their contrasting approaches to the first major vote of the next election cycle.
While Ryan risks raising hackles among the hard-core conservatives who have run more moderate Republicans out of office in recent years, Rubio risks alienating the majority of voters who see the Republican Party as too extreme,
After anchoring a losing Republican presidential ticket widely perceived as hostile to middle-class concerns, Ryan heeded polls showing the public ready to blame the GOP if the deal fell through. The powerful budget committee chairman, loyal to House Speaker John Boehner, is mostly playing the inside game.
Is Ryan, who accepted tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans to avert a potential economic disaster, betting that the path to power runs through compromise and governing?
And is Rubio, who defeated a sitting governor on the back of the tea party movement, playing the outside game by investing more in cultivating his national profile than in courting leadership on Capitol Hill?
A lot depends on what happens next.
If the still unfolding “Fiscal Cliff” turns out to be the first step toward spending cuts, entitlement reform, and deficit reduction, Ryan will have an easier time explaining his support for a tax hike to partisan audiences in Iowa and New Hampshire.
If Congress fails to come up with comprehensive tax and budget reform and the economy continues to sputter, Rubio will face less public pressure to defend his vote to go over the fiscal cliff.