It’s the fight the media is waiting and hoping for.

What better sport than to start an intra-party Republican presidential nomination fight almost 4 years before the next presidential election and 3 years before the primaries.

But it’s inevitable, so if not now, when to start the discussion?

Via National Journal, The Emerging Rubio-Ryan Republican Divide:

Lumped together as two of the youngest and brightest Republican stars, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio parted ways on the fiscal cliff with votes that reflect divergent strategies for building their party and political futures.

Ryan, who accepted tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans in order to avert a potential economic disaster, is betting that the path to power runs through compromise and governing. 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.

Rubio, who defeated a sitting governor on the back of the tea party movement, is largely playing the outside game. He rarely bucks the GOP’s conservative base – consider his recent votes against an overstuffed Hurricane Sandy aid bill and a United Nations treaty protecting people with disabilities — though an opportunity looms in the anticipated debate over immigration reform. Rubio appears more invested more in cultivating his national profile than in courting leadership on Capitol Hill.

Read the whole article before you vote.  There are twists to this simplification.

It’s probably not fair for me to poison the vote, but you might as well know that Jennifer “Mitt Romney is dreamy and everyone else is evil and stupid” Rubin already is throwing herself in with Ryan:

If you had to vote RIGHT NOW for a Republican presidential nominee, and the only choices were Rubio and Ryan, for whom would you vote?

(poll open until 7 p.m. Eastern today)