Republican Rivalry Simmers as Paths and Styles Diverge

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from The New York Times,

Cruz & Paul

Senator Ted Cruz calls his colleague Rand Paul a “good friend.” The two men are the stars of the Tea Party movement, propelled to Washington by activist fervor and allied in their effort to restrain the reach of the federal government.

But when Mr. Cruz went to New York City to meet with donors this summer, he privately offered a different view of Mr. Paul: The Kentucky senator can never be elected president, he told them, because he can never fully detach himself from the strident libertarianism of his father, former Representative Ron Paul of Texas.

Word of Mr. Cruz’s remarks reached Mr. Paul’s inner circle, touching off anger and resentment.

And the incident further inflamed a rivalry that has been quietly building as the Republican Party tries to grapple with the force and power of its Tea Party wing. Both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Paul harbor presidential ambitions and view themselves as representing a new, more energized movement of Republican activists. But they are pursuing distinctly different paths as they try to rise, diverging not just in style but in their approach to intraparty politics.

The divergent strategies undertaken by Mr. Cruz and Mr. Paul not only put them on a collision course should they both pursue presidential candidacies. They also could help determine whether the Tea Party — right now a muscular and rebellious force within the Republican Party — remains at war with the establishment or is eventually more smoothly integrated into the party apparatus.

Transcending the two worlds can be tricky: While Mr. Paul voted with Mr. Cruz on the effort to defund the health care law — pre-empting future primary attacks from the right — he also said publicly over the summer that he thought shutting the government down was “a dumb idea.” Privately, he complained during the shutdown that the effort was futile and was damaging the party.

Still, he is clearly the beneficiary of the comparison with Mr. Cruz: Establishment Republicans are lining up to heap praise on Mr. Paul, using words like “grown” and “matured” to describe him and the role he played during the shutdown.

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