Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has a different approach to national security and a different persona. But he, too, has shown a political flair, an ability to take on his own party (for example, on immigration) without being disagreeable, and an adeptness at seizing the media spotlight.
He, too, joined the filibuster, quoting rappers and The Godfather.
The New Right, you see, is culturally clued in and entirely comfortable using old and new media. When Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, read Tweets encouraging Paul, you realized this is not your father's GOP.
There is a reason Rubio and Paul, different in many respects, are rising above the crowd these days and getting heaps of media attention. They are both excellent politicians with a good read on the national mood.
They both cut across partisan lines, each in his own way, and seem unlike other run-of-the-mill politicians. They remind us that politics is in large part about performance and persuasion.
Both of these men have proven skilled practitioners of 21st century politics.
However one feels about them as future candidates for higher office - and I'd submit we should stop evaluating officeholders on that basis for now - they provide guidance to the party on how to innovate and refresh a movement that has grown stale and ineffective.
The entire GOP got a shot in the arm, and as he was in the sequester, the president was outfoxed on substance and style.
One senator - that is all it takes.
Rubin is a blogger for The Washington Post.