With their eyes on 2016 GOP presidential nomination, Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul are staking out carefully crafted positions on the looming government shutdown in an effort to defund Obamacare.
From the outset it appears that Rand Paul is more strategic and better prepared in his approach towards the much reviled healthcare law within the Tea Party and Republican electorate.
While acknowledging that overturning Obama's career defining achievement is next to impossible, so long as Democrats control the Senate and the White House, Senator Paul appeared optimistic today that the law will be revised to remove some of the "bad" parts, including the individual mandate and the IRS tax penalties for refusing to obey government edicts.
On the other side, Paul's tea-party colleagues Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have made common cause with GOP establishment pick, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, to shut down the federal government in an effort to defund Obamacare.
Although Rubio ratcheted down the rhetoric a few notches by issuing a press release this past weekend in favor of continued government funding, he comes across as confused and vacillating, lacking in leadership qualities that demand firmness and vision.
Whichever way the political wind is blowing, there Rubio seems to tip-toe. One day Rubio is cheer-leading Obama's efforts to bomb Syria. The next, he is condemning him when he sees the firestorm of public outcry in opposition to another Trillion dollar war.
Even the far-left, which harbors an atavistic hatred for Paul, has begun to notice who is winning the battle for leadership within the Republican Party. And it definitely isn't Rubio.
Even the establishment henchman and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has taken notice. McConnell is making sure he gets plenty of face time rubbing shoulders with Paul every week to soothe the anxieties of Tea-Party.
“I think it’s a dumb idea to shut down the government...I am in favor of the House, which Republicans control, using their leverage and every possible means to make the bill less bad," said Paul, in response to CNN's John King's question on federal government shutdown.
In sharp contrast, by using harsh, belligerent rhetoric against President Obama, Senator Rubio is increasingly painting himself as a mean-spirited person, who is obsessed with juvenile "he said, she said" back and forth, but accomplishes little in the realm of fruitful action towards safeguarding GOP voters' interests.
Regardless of how this week's events transpire, the high stakes game between Rand Paul and Marco Rubio will continue deep into the 2016 GOP Presidential primaries. However, at least for now, its advantage Paul.