Opinion writer

* And lo, did a great leader walk out of the Midwest to lead his people to the promised land:

Paul Ryan became the 54th speaker of the U.S. House on Thursday in a day of high political theater, a young new leader for a fractured Congress, charged with healing Republican divides and quieting the chaos of Capitol Hill.

“Let’s prove ourselves worthy,” Ryan urged from the House dais where he was sworn into the job, second in line to the presidency, after an extraordinary month of unrest for Congress.

“Let’s be frank: The House is broken,” Ryan declared. “We are not settling scores. We are wiping the slate clean.”

Yeah, everything’s going to be different now. Right.

* And guess what: It’s not over yet! Ed Kilgore explains how conservatives in the House might still have the chance to make trouble by threatening a government shutdown.

* Boy, you just can’t buy this kind of glowing media coverage:

Jeb Bush laughed off the notion that his campaign is “terminal” on Thursday, a day after the former Florida governor struggled to get airtime on stage at the third Republican primary debate and walked into his Florida rival’s trap.

Bush went after Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in Boulder for practicing what he called a “French work week” in the Senate and missing votes during his presidential campaign. Rubio pounced, remarking that his campaign is “not going to be about attacking anyone else on the stage.”

“There are those that say that that decision, that exchange, is terminal for your campaign,” Fox News’ Jenna Lee remarked, asking Bush why those people are wrong.

Bush chuckled.

As Mitt Romney would say, “Ha! Terrific!”

* When John Harwood said that Marco Rubio’s tax plan helps the wealthiest more than the middle class, Rubio was all, “Nuh-uh!” Sahil Kapur fact-checks it and finds that Harwood was right and Rubio was wrong.

* Brian Beutler has a good overview of the Rubio/Harwood flap, what it says about Republicans’ true attitude towards the GOP primary audience, and why it highlights a serious problem that Democrats and Hillary Clinton need to start thinking about. — gs

* At the debate, Rubio said the GOP establishment is always telling him to wait his turn. Kevin Drum looks at the record:

Poor Marco. Speaker of the Florida House at age 35. U.S. Senator at age 39. Lionized presidential candidate at age 44. He’s really had a rough time with the GOP establishment.

Resentment is a feeling, Kevin. It has nothing to do with facts and numbers. By the way, this gives me an excuse to reiterate that this is what makes Rubio so dangerous: he’s damn good at playing to the base’s anger and resentment while also projecting hope and optimism. — gs

* Steve Benen says that the debate showed that Marco Rubio is a lot better when he’s repeating something scripted that he’s practiced than when he’s reacting to something he didn’t expect.

* Rebecca Leber gives an excellent preview of what might be accomplished at the upcoming Paris conference on climate change, and what the challenges are.

* Thomas Schaller takes a somewhat depressing look at the way the American political system inherently tilts toward Republicans.

* In an interview with Politico, Harry Reid jumps on board the bash-Rubio train, calling on him to resign if he hates being a Senator so much.

* At The Week, I examined all the populist posturing the Republican candidates did at last night’s debate.

* And Ben Carson says he can be a successful president despite a complete lack of relevant experience because “amateurs built the Ark and it was the professionals that built the Titanic.”

By that logic, Carson should have started performing brain surgeries before he ever bothered going to medical school.