Mike Lee steps out of Ted Cruz's shadow

And in an interview with POLITICO, Lee said Republicans shouldn’t tie Obamacare-defunding provisions to the next spending bill to keep agencies running past Jan. 15, a significant concession that could make it easier for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner to unify their party.

“We’re in a totally different position than where we were before because it’s now been funded past the Jan. 1 start date,” Lee said, referring to the implementation of major portions of the health law in the new year. “Different circumstances require different strategies for our party.”

Asked whether it made sense to insist on a defunding of the health care law in the next fiscal fight, Lee said matter of factly: “No. I would love to have that, I’m just saying in the position that we’re in, I don’t think that’s a strategy that is going to work.” …

“We tried to bridge that gap over the years with a lot of tactics and personalities and some spin of course, but it doesn’t work,” Lee said. “I think more to reunify the movement, the best way to do that is to find new and innovative affirmative ideas. … It’s not enough to be against things that are bad, but we also have to be in favor of things that are good.”