Rubio and Ryan
You may have noticed that Marco Rubio voted against the cliff deal, while Paul Ryan voted for it. Now that sets up an interesting little potential set-to in 2016, no?
Rubio seems to have made the calculation that the supposedly "new" GOP is going to be awfully similar to the extant one and decided that a vote accommodating the schemes of the Kenyan is one he'd rather not have to explain away in those candidate forums come 2015. But it was a serious chickenshit vote. Look at the number of extremely conservative legislators who took their leader McConnell's advice and voted aye. If they could do it, he could. This is 2016's first RIV (Romneyesque Invertebrate Vote).
Ryan has made a different bet. I think in some part he just wanted to stand with Boehner on this one. Maybe he's also thinking, is this vote really, really going to be a litmus test come 2015-16? We can't possibly know, of course, but I admit that I like Ryan's wager. At some point, you have to have enough confidence in yourself as a pol to explain away a few votes.
It might surprise you if I say that I always admired Rudy Giuliani in this regard. He made it a habit of saying, "Look, I did what I did. If you disagree that much, there are other people to go vote for." Of course he never made it to the White House and never will. I think there's a chance, in fact there's every chance, that it's Rubio's vote that is going to look stupid and callow, especially to a general election audience. I can hear our Hillary now...