Conservatism may mean small government to some, but clearly not to others.
Conservatism is in different versions:
1) Don’t change anything! No new healthcare law, but keep Social programs in place. I’m comfortable, so no change. (Republican party)
2) Government should be small! No social programs. No security super state. (Ron Paul and most libertarians)
3. Government should stick to to two functions: Defense, and law enforcement, perhaps these should be quite large. (I think the Tea Party and maybe Glenn Beck might be here)
4. Process is what is important, not the result necessarily. Actions should be prudent and fact based, and respect tradition. The power of government to fix society is limited. (Andrew Sullivan, who like to put Obama in the prudent category.)
5. Hyper-nationalism is the thing. Kick out immigrants. Thumb your nose at other nations or unfamiliar cultures. (Tom Tancredo and others)
6. Protect my privileges, that I’m afraid I may lose. (I think Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, parts of the Tea Party and Beck represent this point of view)
I’d put myself somewhere between 2 and 4, and afraid of 3, 5, and 6.
Call me disaffected from most of the current conservative movement.