is a major American political ideology. In contemporary American politics, it is often associated with the Republican Party. Core conservative principles include a trust in God and country, and many U.S. conservatives support a fiscal policy rooted in small government, laissez faire capitalism, and supply-side economics. In foreign policy, American conservatives usually advocate some moderate aspects of "American exceptionalism", a belief that the U.S. is unique among nations and that its standing and actions do and should guide the course of world history.
The above description links two things that are currently incompatible in practice, the Republican Party as a vehicle to elect Conservative politicians with Conservativism consisting of "a fiscal policy rooted in small government, laissez faire capitalism, and supply-side economics. The reality is that any conservatives entering politics may believe sincerely in small government but how can one reasonably expect anyone to work to make one's job less essential? How to be in government in order to make government smaller? Isn't this what is expected of a Conservative Republicans?
Democratic politicians believe in big government. They enter politics with the goal of enlarging the role of government. The longer they stay in government, the larger role they play in government, the more successful they are at achieving their political ideology. This will not be true for Conservative Republicans. The longer Republicans stay in politics, the less conservative they become in terms of small government. Once they lose the Conservative political ideal of small government, they really are no longer Conservatives. They may remain social conservatives or religious conservatives, but even social conservatives prefer the government not to dictate social conducts and even religious conservatives prefer government apart from their church. Thus a Republican politician that is not a Conservative will at best become ineffective as a Conservative, or will betray the Conservative cause.
This is playing itself out in US politics. The Republican Party, as directed by long time DC insiders, long term Republican politicians, is growing away from from Conservative voters political ideation. Witness the low turn out for McCain before Palin and the current Tea Parties. I believe most Republican politicians may earnestly believe they are doing the best they can, and that having been in government longer, they may even know better than the Conservatives that voted them into office. Some I believe already know they have strayed far from Conservatism and just don't care. Some of these latter, like Arlen Spectre, renounce their Republican status and run as a Democrat. Some of these latter continue to masquerade as Republicans and help direct and run the Republican Party. Because of their self-serving dishonesty, these are the most despicable of politicians, Republican or Democrats. Regardless, the longer a Republican stay in the same political office, the less Conservative they become.
As is, the only way I can see to minimize the natural political corruption of Republican politicians is term limits. Republican politicians or the Party should adopt and declare voluntary and self imposed term limits. Waiting for a law to impose term limits is very unlikely to happen. Term limits hurts the Democrats and is counter to their political goals and ideation. Term limits allows Republicans to adhere to their political goals and ideation. I actually believe that when a politician declares he will limit his political career, to achieve a declared goal in a set time, or step away and let another try, will help his electoral chances.