Suzanne Fields
The pagan god Janus has two faces, and that's a good thing. He can look to the future and reflect on the past, all at the same time. As ancient gods go, Janus is good at transitions. January, named for Janus, is not only a dreary month to get past as quickly as possible, but it's a time for useful reflection and resolve.

Now that we're no longer teetering on the fiscal cliff, President Obama and his administration are busy with anticipation of parades, balls and searches for dance partners at the inauguration of Obama II, and the Republicans can use the down time to face forward in search of a role, to consider the crucial question of, "Where do we go from here?" What is the future of conservatism, and how do we get there from here?

On the bright side, there are several new stars in the conservative firmament. Some of the names are already familiar: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the newly (de)minted Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and a promising rank of governors -- Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Scott Walker in Wisconsin. Depending on whether conservatives have forgiven him for his indiscriminate bear hugs (think of the president), Gov. Chris Christie is still available in New Jersey.

None suffer the one-note business biography of Mitt Romney, or the reluctance of the summer soldiers who declined to run last time. They left the Republican primary field to leftovers from the taxi squad. Creative thinking, not ideology, must be the menu specials over the next four years.

Politics, like the Grandfather clock, marks time with a pendulum, swinging from right to left and back again, and it's a good thing. Singles and the young voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama in November, but there's a cure for the callow judgment of youth. The young will grow older, marry, beget children and inevitably trade attitude for considered judgment. Obama deepened the divisions among us with his full-throated attacks on the "rich," reprising rhetoric of his community-organizing days, making villains of those whose sin was working too hard and accumulating too much.

We've mortgaged our children's futures to China, and maybe the children who won't be children forever will decide once they've grown into maturity that they must do something about the debts incurred. The emotional appeals to soak the rich that worked this time will ring hollow in their ears when the young become not so young, as they learn the hard way that runaway entitlements perpetuate runaway debt that one day, one way or the other, must be repaid.


Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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