It strikes me that many so-called Republican "conservative" politicians are simply taking stances less Liberal than the Democrats, and describing that position as "Conservative."
"The Democrats want to spend $200 billion on government welfare? I propose only spending $180 billion.
"See? I'm a Conservative."
One of the principles America was founded on was the concept of self-sufficiency and standing on your own two feet.
" . . . the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything that ever before existed in the world. . . . Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary* power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood. . . . "
[Edit: I forgot to cite this quote. It's from "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville.]
*tutelary - "having the position of guardian or protector of a person, place, or thing"