Politically speaking, conservatives didn't have much to be thankful for this November. After President Obama's re-election cakewalk, 2013 looks like a rebuilding year, a time for "soul-searching" by GOP leaders and the conservative intelligentsia alike.

Last week, believe it or not, The New York Times' erstwhile "National Greatness Conservative," David Brooks, made an important contribution to that project. Brooks's Nov. 19 column, "The Conservative Future," identifies a number of youngish right-leaning thinkers who can help the GOP evolve.

And what's notable about his list, writes Gene Healy, is that not one of Brooks' rising stars is a dedicated follower of "National Greatness Conservatism."